Diane DeWeese rethadi@scrtc.com

P.O. Box 159014, Nashville, TN. 37215 -- Phone: (615) 661-4332 -- Fax: (615) 661-5457

Also: Visit the Jordanaires Official Web Site

2000-2001 was the 50th Anniversary of the
Jordanaires in Commercial Recording.

For most of these fifty years, The Jordanaires have been known worldwide as one of the most versatile quartets in music. Together longer than any vocal group active today, these four voices (augmented occasionally with female voices) perform a variety of musical styles: Country, Pop, Rock, Rockabilly, Gospel and Spiritual. They are heard on movie soundtracks, radio and television commercials, and millions of recordings sold each year.

Deriving their name from religious music, especially from Spirituals concerning the land of Jordan, they gained national recognition in 1956 by winning the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scout Show. Their background harmony style became an integral part of hit recordings by Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Ricky (Rick) Nelson, and countless other great stars. The unmistakable Jordanaires' sound remains in demand today for recording sessions and personal appearances around the world.

The group provided vocal and instrumental music for Elvis on his first RCA recording sessions, and continued with, virtually, every recording he made through 1970. They were featured on 28 movie soundtracks, appearing on-screen in several. Their schedule of studio work in Nashville prevented the group from continuing their work with Elvis, after he resumed concert tours in the early '70's.

In addition to their unique vocal sound, the group was the catalyst for several industry milestones. They were the driving force behind the successful establishment of the AFTRA/SAG (American Federation of Television & Radio Artists/Screen Actors Guild) Office in Nashville. They originated the "numbers system"; perhaps, the single-most important thing to happen concerning the Nashville Sound. The hieroglyphic-like "musical shorthand", wherein, musical chords are assigned numbers, revolutionized recording, and is still being used worldwide.


-Grammy Award
-Special awards from RCA for contributions Elvis Presley's Recordings
-Nashville Music Association Masters Award
-National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences award for having sung on more, top-ten recordings than any other group.
-Members of world famous Grand Ole Opry for 13 years.
-Recognized for eight years, by readers of England's Record Mirror and New Musical Express magazines as one of the world's top ten vocal groups.
-Most recent estimate of recordings sales, with the Jordanaires' Background Vocals, is 2.6 Billion.
-inducted, in 1998, into the Gospel Music Hall Of Fame.
-inducted, in 1999, into the NACMAI Hall Of Fame (North America Country Music Associations International).
-inducted, in 2000, into the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame.

Nominated 2000-2001 for a
Grammy on a Collaborative Album with
The Light Crust Doughboys and
James Blackwood in the "Gospel Music Field"

Nominated 2000-2001 for the
CMA, Country Music Hall of Fame


Elvis Presley, Marty Robbins, Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, K. D. Lang, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ricky Nelson, Conway Twitty, Chicago, Neil Young, Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Rogers, Don McLean, Ringo Starr, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ronnie Milsap, The Judds, Julie Andrews, Johnny Cash, Connie Frances, Roy Orbison, Pat Boone, Carol Channing, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Billy Ray Cyrus, Vince Gill, and over 2,000 other beginners, hopefuls and stars.

The Jordanaires and Sharon Haynes in their "Original Tribute to Patsy Cline" had appeared regularly at the Gold Coast Hotel in Vas Vegas.


Courtesy: Sandra Brennan

Formed: 1948 in Springfield, MO
Group Members: Hoyt Hawkins, Hugh Jarrett, Neal Matthews, Gordon Stoker, Culley Holt, Bob Hubbard, Bill Matthews, Monty Matthews, Ray Walker
Labels: Capitol (6), RCA Victor (3), K-Tel (2), Columbia (2)

For over 40 years, the Jordanaires remained one of the premier backup vocal groups in country music, working with such greats as Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline, George Jones, and, of course, Elvis Presley. The quartet began in Springfield, Missouri during the late '40s, singing barbershop and spirituals and featuring original members Bob Hubbard, Bill Matthews, Monty Matthews and Culley Holt. They debuted on the Grand Ole Opry in 1949. The group changed members during the early '50s with Gordon Stoker and Hoyt Hawkins replacing Hubbard, who was drafted, and Bill Matthews, who became seriously ill. In 1953, Monty Matthews had to leave the group for personal reasons and was replaced by Neal Matthews. By 1954, the Jordanaires were singing behind artists such as Elton Britt, Red Foley, and Jimmy Wakely. That year they appeared on Eddy Arnold's television show, but didn't get their big break until Elvis Presley, a longtime fan, invited the group to back him after receiving a major recording contract from RCA Victor. When Elvis became a star, he honored his promise to keep them as his backup singers, and they worked with him until 1970, appearing in most of his musical films and on his gospel recordings. In 1954, Culley Holt became ill and was replaced by Hugh Jarrett; he left in 1958 and was replaced by Ray Walker. When not backing Elvis, the Jordanaires were busy making their own mark in country music. Neal Matthews was a talented arranger and was responsible for Jim Reeves' "Four Walls" (1957). In 1959, the Jordanaires began working with Patsy Cline, and also devised the Nashville number system of chords that is still widely used in recording studios and performances. The quartet also recorded their own gospel and country albums. It was the Jordanaires who provided the main impetus for the formation of the American Federation of Television/Radio Artists-Screen Actors' Guild in Nashville. They also established Nashville's commercial jingle market, which helped singers like Janie Fricke and Judy Rodman get their start.

More on the Jordanaires

The Jordanaires quartet was formed in 1948 in Springfield, MO by two young evangelist brothers, Bill and Monty Matthews. The membership of the quartet would change throughout the years. They sang barbershop and gospel music, and debuted on the Grand Ole Opry in 1949.

In October 1954, Elvis met the Jordanaires at Memphis' Ellis Auditorium, where they were performing with Eddy Arnold. Elvis, only a few months into his own career, expressed his admiration for their work and told them that he hoped someday they could back him on his records. He didn't forget. In 1956, just as Elvis crossed the threshold of stardom, the Jordanaires started backing him in recordings and on stage. At that time the Jordanaires were: Hoyt Hawkins (baritone), Gordon Stoker (first tenor), Neal Matthews (second tenor & no relation to the original Matthews), and Hugh Jarrett (bass). In 1958 Ray Walker replaced Hugh Jarrett.

The Jordanaires' working relationship with Elvis continued until 1969. When Elvis decided to return to concert touring after his Hollywood years, they declined to join him as they were very involved recording in Nashville. So much so that they worked two to four sessions per day, six days a week for over twenty-three years. They have worked with thousands of recording artists in a broad spectrum of country, rock 'n' roll, gospel and pop music.

Hoyt Hawkins died October 23, 1982 and Duane West assumed his spot. Duane left the group a couple of years ago and now Louis Nunley sings baritone. Neal Matthews died on April 21, 2000 and now Curtis Young sings second tenor.

The Jordanaires have received numerous awards and accolades, including a special award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for having sung on more top-ten recordings than any other group. It is estimated that over 2.6 BILLION records have been sold with their background vocals. They have amassed a large discography of their own work as well. The Jordanaires are members of the Gospel Music Association's Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Earlier this month they were inducted into the Country Music Association's Country Music Hall of Fame.

--Courtesy: www.elvis.com

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