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The Statler Brothers

Named after a brand of tissues, the four members of the Statler Brothers did not in fact share a fraternal bond; what they did share, however, was the distinction of being one of the most successful vocal harmony groups in the history of country music. Formed in the group's home base of Staunton, VA, in 1955, the Statlers were originally a church trio comprised of bass vocalist Harold Reid (born August 21, 1939), baritone Phil Balsley (August 8, 1939), and tenor Lew DeWitt (March 12, 1938). In 1960, Reid's younger brother Don (born June 5, 1945) signed on to take the lead vocal reins, and the quartet performed gospel music under the name the Kingsmen.

After arranging a meeting with the promotional department for a local Johnny Cash concert, the Kingsmen were asked to open the performance. Cash was so impressed that he invited the group to join the tour, and after changing their name to the Statler Brothers, they remained on the road with Cash from 1963 to 1971. The Statlers signed to Columbia Records in 1964 and a year later scored a huge country and pop hit with DeWitt's "Flowers on the Wall," which also lent its name to their 1966 debut album. 1967's The Statler Brothers Sing the Big Hits held true to its title's promise, generating a pair of Top Ten singles in "Ruthless" and "You Can't Have Your Kate and Edith, Too."

In 1969, the quartet moved to Mercury Records, where they remained for over two decades; their first single for the label, 1970's "Bed of Rose's," was a Top Ten hit. In the same year, they held their first Fourth of July picnic; for decades, the celebration remained an annual holiday staple, drawing tens of thousands of fans each summer. Throughout the first half of the 1970s, the Statlers remained fixtures on the Top 40 charts thanks to a string of nostalgic singles like 1972's "Do You Remember These" and "The Class of '57," 1973's "Carry Me Back," and 1974's "Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott." Their LPs of the period were often concept records: 1972's The Statler Brothers Sing Country Symphonies in E Major was whimsically formatted like an orchestral performance (complete with side-break "intermission"), while 1975's joint release Holy Bible/Old Testament and Holy Bible/New Testament fulfilled a long-standing dream to record a gospel project. 1973's Alive at the Johnny Mack Brown High School, on the other hand, was a tongue-in-cheek effort recorded under the group's comic alias Lester "Roadhog" Moran & the Cadillac Cowboys.

The sentimental "I'll Go to My Grave Loving You" was a Top Five hit in 1975 and was included on the Statlers' first best-of compilation, released later in the same year. After a series of Top Ten hits that included 1977's "The Movies" (another recurring Statler theme) and "I Was There," they earned their first chart-topper in 1978 with "Do You Know You Are My Sunshine," from the album Entertainers...on & off the Record. In 1980 the Statler Brothers celebrated their first decade on Mercury with 10th Anniversary, which featured the smash "Charlotte's Web," taken from the film Smokey and the Bandit, Pt. 2, in which the group also co-starred.

After 1982's The Legend Goes On, DeWitt was forced to leave the group as a result of Crohn's disease; the illness ultimately killed him on August 15, 1990. The remaining Statlers tapped Jimmy Fortune as his successor, and immediately Fortune earned the group its second number one with his "Elizabeth" (an homage to actress Elizabeth Taylor), from the album Today. Their next two LPs, 1984's Atlanta Blue and 1985's Pardners in Rhyme, were credited to simply the Statlers; each record generated a number one hit -- "My Only Love" and "Too Much on My Heart," respectively -- again composed by Fortune. They returned as the Statler Brothers for the 1986 inspirational release Radio Gospel Favorites, followed later in the year by Four for the Show. 1987's Maple Street Memories produced the Top Ten single "Forever"; 1989's "More Than a Name on the Wall," which peaked at number six, was their last significant hit. They continued releasing albums, however, and in addition to remaining a popular touring act in the 1990s, the Statler Brothers also hosted a long-running variety show on TNN.

In 2002, the Statler Brothers announced their retirement from the road. On October 26, they played their last concert at the 10,000-seat Salem Civic Center in Salem, VA, not far from Staunton, where they'd started and where they continued to maintain their headquarters. Although no longer touring, the group remained active, releasing a new gospel album, Amen, on Crossroads Records and following it in 2003 with a CD/DVD of their final show. In 2006, Mercury Records released Favorites, a 12-song compilation handpicked by the band's remaining members. The album features only the group's original works recorded after the departure of DeWitt, ranging from the years 1983-1993. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Wish that country music was still like this. At least you could understand the words and it was decent for your children to listen to
Favorite Statler song
Imissmy39woo d i e

For me, I Statler Bros stand alone as the best vocal harmony group, with the BEST base vocalist.
Also, SB "stories" are often close to realities for many of us!

Note: to P- 1. I'd like to see more Definitive Collection selections. The best SB recordings are there! With this particular group /// more is better.
Others /// not necessarily!

PS: I never thumb down any Oak Ridge Boys music.

Question: rumor. Is RPT coming soon for PandoraOne?
cheryl19672
I grew up on the statler brothers I love them!!! and my mom did too...she passed in 1985 but she got me started on country music and specifically the statler brothers
Doesn't get much better than the Statler Brothers. Over 52 years of great music. Thanks, Pandora.
How to be a country star... You've got to learn to sing like Waylon
The Statler Brothers is a great band there voice is so great. I heard of there music before but I really would like to here more and more of it so I can get to know them I heard of them in the 90's but anyways I like this song sounds interesting wow really awsom song.
ifrank9999
Great group.
Ive Bern to two of their concerts in the 80's
They've been my favorite since I wa a kid. Still love their sound
The ultimate F-off song
The Statler Brothers, what a great group of people. Awesome sound, great vocals.
My mother-in-la w refused to be away from home over night for anything but when we ashed her if she would come to St. Louis and see the Statler Brothers at the old Fox Theater she never hesitated. She said if she had said no her husband would have gone without her. It was one of the greatest things we ever did with them, we all loved it so much.
stoltzfuscm
The Statler Brothers are great!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! DO YOU REMEMBER THESE great performers?
Awesome group of all
fancherl
Kiss ur left hand 2. Say ur crushes name 3. Close ur hand 4. Say a school day 5. Open ur hand 6. Post this on 15 songs and ur crush will ask u out
Glory!
The Statler Brothers had such a GREAT sound. I really miss them.
gifford021
play maple street memories
I grew up in Staunton and remember them well.
The Statler Brothers what a great singing group. They are just awsom.
First saw them opening for Johnny Cash in Charleston WV, they were so very young but professional even then. This was in the mid '60's. Since then attended their concerts in Richmond VA and Austin TX. Far and above all others.
d3rssh2
My Daddy's funeral songs request was of just 2 songs, Just a Closer walk with Thee and I'll go to my grave Loving You. We lost him 9/28/2012. He was the biggest fan of the 'Brothers' and his children are as well. God blessed us with their beautiful harmony.
They were and are still the best group
i'm atlanta blue countin flowers on the wall
love them !!elizabeth was one of my favorite songs
jaskbridgeh2 o 3
The Statlers were down to earth, witty and original. I was introduced to them when my dad bought an album in 1976( Harold, Phil, Don,and Lew) Nobody has had as much influence on my life than they have. A totally class act. Thank you Pandora.
joev007c
pandora has allowed to listen to the music I grew up with. What more could one ask for?. Joe Venable/Dove r ; De
bobjacobs90
The best group in my lifetime or the last 50 years and what an addtion Jimmy Fortune was. A class act, all of them.
I love them!
What a sound from the most recorded group in music today. Love those guys.
class of 57 was my favorite song when i was growing up
Love My Statlers.saw them in concert in Vegas.what a show.I heard they got their name off a book of matches at the STATLER hOTEL/ which story is true? kleenex or hotel?
kgallanger05
My brother and I learned to sing harmony by listening to The Statler Brothers. Those are some good memories!
jamcjams2
The Statlers have the best harmony yet. I like country and Gospel. I don't consider their music worldly or sinful.....G o d had a sense of humor. He made zebras did HE not.
I went to their concert in the 80's in Louisville, Ky. and I'd have to say that was one of the best I ever went to. They truly took to heart their fans! Their finale with the crowds clapping, wanting them back on stage didn't stop after 1 return, or 2, but they returned a total of 5 times, yes ...5!!!!. No other I've been too has ever done that!!! I was so lucky to be a part of that before they retired early to their families, but now I understand, they showed best, but now it's family. Luv
I was once privelaged to set on the front row at one of their concerts, and to my way of thinking there will never be another Statler's or even close.
I grew up listening to their Holy Bible albums when mom played them. She, and I, now both enjoy the Statler Bro's.
my parents raised me on old country mom loved the stats & dad liked his roy clark & i couldnt be more thankful
Wow it is strange to read the wonderful comments. I grew up in the small town of Staunton VA where the stat's live. It is funny how you kind of take things for granted. Example- Don's son Langdon and I are the same age and we played on the same Baseball team and Don helped coach. These guys were home and they were regular people. I also lived 2 blocks from the park where the performed every year on the 4th of July. Times goes by and you don't miss things until they are gone.
hnycttjoel
The statler brothers have been my favorit since the 1970ds
God bless them.. Joel Honeycutt
None like them !!!
timeless hits that we enjoy for easy listening... . t h a n k s to the bio!
Amen!
Cool stuff
One of my all time favorites. "Counting Flowers on the Wall" was the first 45 I ever bought.
Hi dicknsandy6, sorry that you were getting music you didn't want. perhaps there is another way that you can define what you want so that you get what you want. You can also define by type of songs instead of just artist. While categories such as classical or religious are to broad, you can refine your definition to narrower classificati o n s .
alicenwdrlnd 0 7
love the 'stats'
dicknsandy6
I chose a few artist I wanted to listen too and I heard a couple of their songs and then it goes to worldly music which I do not want to hear and never chose. If you cant play the music I chose, I do not want to listen to your station.
keneth kuhn,one of my favorites
dg48hughes
Definitely my favorite group!
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