2003 Hall of Fame Inductees
Martin Alfred Cook
Martin Alfred Cook (1936 – 02/23/22)
Inducted in 2003
Martin Cook is a Gospel Music legend in the truest sense of the word.
As a chemistry teacher at Swain County High School in Bryson City, North Carolina, Cook founded the Inspirations Quartet in 1964 by taking four of his students on the road to sing in the big leagues of professional Gospel Music. As the Inspirations manager, Cook built the quartet into a gospel music dynasty-one of the most successful, popular and respected gospel singing groups of all-time.
The Inspirations are one of Southern Gospel’s most awarded groups and have tallied a long list of hit songs. Largely a result of Cook’s efforts, the Inspirations developed the nation’s largest and one of its longest running gospel singing festivals-the Singing In The Smokies. Cook also serves as the Inspirations emcee and pianist.
His piano-playing style is one of the industry’s most recognized and distinctive. Cook was the Kingsmen Quartet’s original pianist and served two tenures with this renowned group. He also played piano for the Silvertones.
Through various roles, Cook is a man of tremendous foresight who has helped shape the path and growth of Southern Gospel Music in times of charting the future, stability in times of change and vision during crucial times.
Dwight Moody Brock
Dwight Moody Brock (1907 – 1988)
Inducted in 2003
Dwight Brock is a godfather of Southern Gospel pianists.
He was the original pianist for the Frank Stamps Quartet, a composer for the Stamps-Baxter Music Company and eventually its President. He also worked with the Athens Music Company, helping promote gospel music’s great cause.
Brock is credited with setting a precedent that would forever change Southern Gospel Music. He was hired as pianist for the Stamps Quartet in 1927, becoming the industry’s first sole piano accompanist. The “five-man quartet” became a standard gospel music performing ensemble. Brock is also generally considered the industry’s first rhythm pianist.
He accompanied the Stamps All-Star Quartet when it became the first gospel group to be recorded by a major record label, RCA Victor. The Stamps recorded “Give the World a Smile,” a best-seller which became a classic song, symbolic of the gospel quartet phenomena.
Brock also played piano for the Vaughan Radio Quartet and was manager and pianist for the Brock-Denson Quartet.
Brock was inducted into the Southern Gospel Piano Roll of Honor in 1996. Brock’s sister, Lena, married G.T. “Dad” Speer, who were matriarch and patriarch, respectively, of gospel music’s legendary Speer Family.
Howard Goodman (1921 – 2002)
Inducted in 2003
Born in the poverty-stricken coal mining hills of north Alabama, Howard Goodman refused to let such a humble beginning hinder his passion for gospel music. After working as an evangelist during the 1930’s and into the 1940’s, Goodman formed his family singing group, putting together versions of the Goodmans featuring various combinations of his brothers and sisters, Sam, Charles (Rusty), Bobby, Ruth, Eloise, Stella and Gussie Mae.
Howard married Vestal Freeman, an aspiring Opera singer and sister of noted gospel tenor vocalist Cat Freeman, in 1949. Eventually, the Goodman Family became known as the Happy Goodman Family. A new cast, consisting of Howard, Vestal, Sam and Rusty, along with various other family members providing instrumentation, captured the eyes and hearts of Southern Gospel Music fans in the l960’s, ’70’s and into the ’80’s with a hard driving, high energy sound.
The Happy Goodmans recorded numerous hit songs and received three Gospel Music Association Dove Awards and two Grammy Awards.
Possessing one of Southern Gospel’s most soulful lead voices and distinctive piano-playing styles that featured him throwing his hands up and down on the ivories as his large frame crouched over a keyboard, Howard Goodman provided a foundation for the famous Happy Goodmans sound.
John Alexander McClung
John Alexander McClung (1891 – 1942)
Inducted in 2003
John Alexander (J.A.) McClung was instrumental in broadening the scope of Southern Gospel Music as a widely-acclaimed music instructor, songwriter and singer.
After graduating from Hartford, Arkansas Music Institute, McClung traveled all over the United States teaching singing schools. McClung became a co-owner and eventually owner of the Hartford Music Company and Institute.
He also sang in various Hartford Quartets. The most well-known included McClung, Austin Arnold, Clyde Garner, Al Halp with Doy Ott as pianist. They toured extensively and performed for many radio audiences. McClung’s wife, Minnie, whom he met while she was an employee at the Hartford Music Institute sang in a ladies quartet and also was an instructor there.
McClung composed over 300 songs, most notably “Standing Outside”, “Death Will Never Knock On Heaven’s Door” and his last and most famous, “Just A Rose Will Do,” which became a gospel music standard.