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The Imperials

The Imperials have been making music since 1964 and have in that time undergone many personnel and stylistic changes before returning to the close harmonies and straight Southern gospel songs that originally made them popular. As of the mid-'90s, Armond Morales is the only charter member of the Imperials; he and Jake Hess founded the quintet. Over the years, 18 different singers have come and gone, including such legends as Russ Taff, Paul Smith, and Gary McSpadden. Other CCM pop performers such as Jonathan Pierce also got their start with the Imperials.

Over the years, the Imperials have released over 40 albums and had 14 number one songs. They have also won four Grammy Awards and 13 Dove Awards, making the Imperials, despite (or because of) their many style changes, one of the most popular Christian bands ever. But in 1987, they stirred up controversy and lost many of their oldest fans when they exchanged Southern gospel and middle-of-the-road contemporary to adopt a harder rock/techno-pop sound with the album This Year's Model. The subsequent albums Stir It Up and Love's Still Changing Hearts continued in the same vein. Morales now considers those albums part of an identity crisis for the band, a loss of touch with their original direction and purpose of singing joyful music and ministering to the church. The Imperials reverted to that mission when Morales brought two ordained ministers, Steve Ferguson and Jeff Walker, on board. Neither had experience in mainstream Christian music and were more interested in spreading the word than selling albums. This proved the very tonic the group needed.

To this end, the Imperials have scaled down their act, opting for simple accompaniment and more intimate church performances in lieu of stadium and large concert gigs. Subsequent albums such as 'Til He Comes have lost the hard edge of earlier albums, and their old fans are slowly starting to return. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

I LOVE THIS MUSIC, It is so comforting. May God bless the artis and this station for providing.
bmartinez700
Fair play
iisepulveda
Soo very blessed by their music. Many thanks for availing.
Wow. I grew up on this music and it still sounds fresh and revitalizes my soul. I also like Tobymac and Audio Adrenaline. God works in mysterious ways, but never takes a day off.
fotoguy76
I got my first taste of the Imperials in 1976 - just prior to Russ Taff joining the group. I was a new Christian then and they were another fresh direction for me - especially after listening to 2nd Chapter of Acts and Phil Keaggy at that point in my young life. Russ, I think, took the group to its apex, and Paul Smith more or less followed both in succession and style after that. After Paul moved on, so did I. I guess that makes me one of the oldsters that was turned off by the commercializ a t i o
babarkey
I miss the Imperials. I miss the message in the songs they sang. I miss the incredible harmony. Since their album New Dimensions no group has come close to the Imperials. I keep hoping a new group will emerge to carry on their legacy. It is 2013, and I'm still looking... and hoping.
rsototerron
I love The Imperials specially the Love's still changing hearts album
neeceygirl
Praise the lord! I have goosebumps.. .
onegoldengir l
This Years Model and Free the Fire were amazing! Need to find the first one on CD somewhere! I have the other one - love it!
Free the Fire was my favorite album. Hard to find CD, but if I can find it and at a reasonable price I would probably buy it.
I haven't been saved yet but when I do, I will not credit this babershop quartet plus one hedge clipper, because I'm bald as a kumkwart.
Jake Hess and the Emperials in the 80's. Tenor Sherell Neilson, Baritone Gary Mcspaden, Lead jake Hess, Bass Armorral Morralas Piano Henery Sluagter. They were the best ever. Sorry about the spelling. ANYONE REMEMBER THESE GUYS?
hammonda105
I want some live Baylor University tracks too....
hammonda105
Russ Taff may be the best singer in any industry ever. No mention of him. Or the fabulous 70s when they did all the best stuff. And can I get a shout out for Billy Preston or what?
hammonda105
I was raised on The Imperials. Nothing like them ever. None of the similar artist on here are ANYTHING like them. They are not secular christian nor completely southern gospel quartet style. To bad you have to listen through all the crap to get to the real good stuff. Same with Andre Crouch and the Disciples. gotta listen through a bunch of modern wanna be soul and R&B gospel to hear the real deal. No matter ill keep thumbs it up and down till I get what i want.. SAIL ON!!
I saw the Imperials in concert in the winter of 1981 and they where electrifying , especially those high heeled black patent leather shoes...lol. Russ Taff ushered in their best years in my opinion. How many more years would Taff been an Imperial if contract principle didn’t trump shared profit's from Taff's contribution ?
amanda_wayne 8
I went to hundreds of Imperials concerts from 1980 1992, I personally saw thousands come to Christ during the years that they now refer to as their Identity Crisis, I often wonder how those people feel when they hear that they were brought into the kingdom under a mistaken path that the Imperials were taking at the time? I knew these guys during the This Years Model, Free The Fire years. Jimmy Lee and Ron Hemby were, in my opinion, 2 of the best vocalist that The Imperials ever had. After the
thank you imperals this song is a powerhouse it causes all the chains to fall when the enemy comes in like a flood. just praise him through it all even when you dont feel it. and stand and watch the salvation of your Lord.
I knew the old-school band back in the 80's, before, with and after David Robertson. I love his solo music too (Destiny)! Sooth's the soul!
I GROW UP WITH THE IMPERIALS - THEY ARE A PART OF MY MUSIC LIFE EVEN TO THIS DAY - THE SONGS ARE FOR THE AGES
I was save in the late 70th love them old christian classic..
This is the first Christian group I really loved, even our baby boy liked them.
genev7
I just love Oh Buddah song -- very appropriate for today.
scrider7
I too was introduced to The Imperials in the 80's, Still love them. They have a way of making you feel the songs they are performing. In some way the music touches me, each time.
Some of the best around! Check out the "Classic Imperials" NEW album titled "Still Standing." The Imperials are still making great music!
I was introduced to The Imperials in the early 80's. Russ Taff and Paul Smith were the ones who got me "teething" on Christian music. I absoltley love the Imperials of the 80's and 90's. While Mr. Morales considers that time period an "identity crisis" for the group, I respectfully disagree. I still hold the group of that time period in high esteem and consider them a music staple I migrate towards to this day. The songs "Sail on," "Praise the Lord." and the "Lord of the Harvest" still move
mzrtlvr
Does anyone have the lyics to "The First Day in heaven"?
frffl07
I guess I'm the opposite of the "old fans." "This year's model" is still one of my favorite albums of all time. Still wish Jimmie Lee would have stayed and that the group would have continued in that direction.
Sucks
I really like these guys!
charley.shir l e y
Sail Away, Priority and One More Song For You are my favorites. They really get to my heart.
office0190
I would love to see the album "Sail Away" added to the list
I would love to see the albums "Priority" and "One More Song For You" added to the list. Those were the height of The Imperials' works -- with a timeless sound and broad appeal.
I'm glad they have returned to southern gospel....I was very disappointed when they steered the other way...good to have you back to southern gospel

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