Eugene Monroe Bartlett

Eugene Monroe Bartlett (1884 – 1941)
Inducted in 2000

Born December 24, 1884 in Waynesville, Missouri, E. M. Bartlett became one of the founding fathers of Southern Gospel Music.

As a young man, he secured work with the Central Music Company headquartered in Hartford, Arkansas. When that company relocated to Little Rock, Bartlett partnered with J. A. McClung and David Moore in the founding of the Hartford Music Company in 1918. Over the next few years, Bartlett and the Hartford Company became extremely influential in the growing world of Southern Gospel, founding the Hartford Musical Institute, publishing the monthly journal, The Herald of Song, and sponsoring several traveling quartets. Among those influenced directly by Bartlett’s work was legendary songwriter Albert E. Brumley.

Bartlett was himself an important composer of gospel songs. Among his best-known contributions were “Victory in Jesus,” “Everybody Will Be Happy Over There,” and “Just a Little While to Stay Here.”

James Roy “Pop” Lewis

James Roy “Pop” Lewis (1905 – 2004)
Inducted in 2000

The patriarch of the famous “First Family of Bluegrass Gospel Music,” Pop Lewis led the Lewis Family from relative obscurity in their north Georgia hometown groups in Southern Gospel.

Beginning in the early 1950s, Pop began promoting his talented sons and daughters traveling and singing with them at gospel and bluegrass concerts across the nation. Versatile stage performers, the Lewises chose to sing and play an all-gospel repertoire of songs. Their sincere presentation and down-home humor won them legions of fans. Under Pop’s leadership, the family achieved success and established and identity that would endure into the next century.

Among his many accomplishments was oversight of the Family’s incredible run on Augusta television station WJBF, where the “Lewis Family Television Show” ran for 38 years and was ultimately syndicated in 25 separate markets.

Doy Willis Ott

Doy Willis Ott (1919 – 1986)
Inducted in 2000

Influenced in his youth by the Virgil Stamps Quartet broadcasts on Dallas radio KRLD, Doy Ott fell in love with the sound and message of Southern Gospel and transferred that love into an influential career as a musician, singer, and vocal arranger.

By the late 1930s, he was playing piano for Southern Gospel groups, ultimately serving as an accompanist for the Stamps-Baxter Melody Boys, the Hartford Quartet, the Rangers, and the Homeland Harmony.

In 1951, he took a job with the relatively new Statesmen Quartet, filling in for pianist and manager Hovie Lister who was serving a stint in the military. When Lister returned the following year, Ott stayed becoming the group’s baritone singer upon the departure of Bervin Kendrick.

A Statesman for the next 25 years, Doy Ott became one of the best-known figures in Southern Gospel. His smooth voice and talented arrangements helped propel the group into what many consider to be the best overall quartet combination in Southern Gospel history.

Anthony Johnson Showalter

Anthony Johnson Showalter (1858 – 1924)
Inducted in 2000

One of the true pioneers of Southern Gospel, A. J. Showalter built a shape-note music empire during the late 19th century and thereby came to influence an entire generation that followed in his wake.

A product of the Ruebush-Kieffer School of Music in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, he became a singing school teacher by the age of 14 and began publishing songbooks and music theory literature in his early 20s. In 1884, he formed the Showalter Music Company of Dalton, Georgia, and proceeded to build it into one of the largest shape-note companies in the nation by the turn of the century. Through his Southern Normal Musical Institute and a monthly journal entitled The Music Teacher, he became a primary influence on the first generation of southern Gospel singers, songwriters, and publishers.

Showalter was also a talented composer. He co-wrote “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” one of the most popular gospel songs of the 20th century.

Earl Henderson Weatherford

Earl Henderson Weatherford (1922 – 1992)
Inducted in 2000

One of the truly influential quartet men in Southern gospel history, Earl Weatherford not only created one of the industry’s best-known groups, but also played a tremendous role in shaping the careers of several of the most outstanding performers to emerge in the second half of the 20th century.

Forming his first group in southern California in the mid-1940's, Weatherford worked tirelessly to create the smooth sound that ultimately came to define the quartet that Cathedrals of Tomorrow in Akron, Ohio, the Weatherfords perfected a sound that most in the industry envied but few could emulate. Partnered with his wife, Lily Fern, and joined by Glen Payne, Armond Morales, and Henry Slaughter, Earl built what was widely regarded as one of the finest quartets in Southern Gospel history.

Over a lifetime of song and service, Earl Weatherford achieved the respect of his peers as well as the admiration of his fans.

Lily Fern Goble-Weatherford

Lily Fern Goble-Weatherford 1928 – )
Inducted in 2000

Born November 25, 1928 in Bethany, Oklahoma, Lily Fern Goble became one of the most recognized singers in all of southern gospel.

By the late 1940's, her talent had convinced her husband, Earl Weatherford, to reconsider his personal preference for an all-male quartet. Replacing his tenor singer with his wife’s alto proved to be the defining mark of Earl’s own distinguished career, as well as that of the entire Weatherford Quartet.

With a beautiful alto voice and singing ability rarely matched in the industry, Lily Fern helped break the tradition of all-male quartets by adding to the close blend and harmony of what came to be regarded as one of the all-around best groups in Southern Gospel history.

Even after the loss of her husband in 1992, Lily Fern continued to grace the Southern Gospel stage with her remarkable voice and genuine presentation. Through it all, she remained a true ambassador of the good news of Jesus Christ in song.

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