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The Jordanaires
The Jordanaires with Elvis Presley, 1957
The Jordanaires with Elvis Presley, 1957
Background information
OriginSpringfield, Missouri, United States
GenresGospel, country, rock and roll, folk
Years active1948 (1948)–2013 (2013)
Past members
  • Ray Walker
  • Curtis Young
  • Gordon Stoker
  • Bill Matthews
  • Bob Hubbard
  • Warren (Monty) Matthews
  • Culley Holt
  • Hoyt Hawkins
  • Neal Matthews Jr.
  • Don Bruce
  • Hugh Jarrett
  • Duane West
  • Louis Nunley

The Jordanaires were an American vocal quartet that formed as a gospel group in 1948. Over the years, they recorded both sacred and secular music for recording companies such as Capitol Records, RCA Victor, Columbia Records, Decca Records, Vocalion Records, Stop Records, and many other smaller independent labels.[citation needed]

In the mid-1950s, with a lineup of Gordon Stoker (first tenor), Neal Matthews (second tenor and lead vocals), Hoyt Hawkins (baritone and lead vocals), and Hugh Jarrett (bass vocals), they also began lending their vocal talents to other artists as background singers in recording sessions. They are widely known for having provided background vocals for Elvis Presley in live appearances, recordings, and feature films from 1956 to 1970. Jarrett was replaced by then-teacher Ray Walker in 1958. The group worked in the recording studio, on stage, and on television with many country, gospel, and rock and roll artists.

They also provided background vocals using the names the Gordonaires (a play on the name of the group's first tenor Gordon Stoker), the Merry Melody Singers, and the Almanac Singers, sometimes using different personnel.

Group history

Early years

In 1948, Monty and Bill Matthews left. Hawkins switched to baritone, and new lead Neal Matthews was recruited. Don Bruce came in as a new first tenor, but he was drafted the next year. The group narrowed to a quartet, with Gordon Stoker taking over as first tenor. They became members of the Grand Ole Opry in 1949.[1][2] They recorded for Capitol Records in the early 1950s, and began providing vocal accompaniment behind solo singers in Nashville, Tennessee.[2]

The quartet became well known in the Southern gospel genre, and what made them stand out from other quartets of that time was how they would bring spirituals (such as "Dry Bones") to a predominantly white audience. While continuing to turn out gospel albums of their own, the group became better known for the signature background harmonies they provided on dozens of secular records.[3]

Sister Rosetta Tharpe toured with the vocal group the Jordanaires in the late forties and early fifties, one of the first multiracial gospel pairings.

Patsy Cline

The group appeared on all of Patsy Cline's Decca sessions from her first in November 1960 to her last in February 1963, during which time they backed her on songs such as:


After Elvis and Cline

The group changed again in 1982, when Hoyt Hawkins died. His replacement was Duane West, formerly of Sonny James' backup group, the Southern Gentlemen. In 1990, the group provided backing vocals for Presley's former Sun Records labelmate Johnny Cash on his Mercury Records album Boom Chicka Boom. The group also recorded with the Swedish group Vikingarna.[5]


Hugh Jarrett died at 78 on May 31, 2008, from injuries sustained in an auto accident in March.[6]

Gordon Stoker died at 88 at his Brentwood, Tennessee, home on March 27, 2013, after a long illness. His son Alan confirmed that The Jordanaires were formally dissolved, per his father's wishes.[7]

Unreleased recordings featuring the Jordanaires continue to be released. In 2023, Dolly Parton's Rockstar[8] album was released, which features a previously recorded version of "I Dreamed About Elvis" featuring the quartet. Parton performed this song in concert as early as 2007.


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Classic lineup

Other members

Session appearances

The Jordanaires performed with many modern recording artists, as well as recent sessions with country musicians.

See also


  1. ^ "Opry Timeline – 1940s". Archived from the original on March 17, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "The Jordanaires". AllMusic. 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  3. ^ "Jordanaires Biography". Archived from the original on July 31, 2004. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  4. ^ Cox, William L. "Patsy Cline's Recording Sessions - The Decca Years". Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  5. ^ Linda Hjertén (22 January 2004). "Vikingarna tar farväl av fansen". (in Swedish). Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Hugh Jarrett". Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Cooper, Peter (March 27, 2013). "Jordanaires leader Gordon Stoker dies". The Tennessean. Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  8. ^ Young, Alex (May 9, 2023). "The Tracklist for Dolly Parton's Rock Album is a Sight to Behold". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved October 19, 2023.
  9. ^ "Jordanaires' Hoyt Hawkins Dies at Home". The Tennessean. 24 October 1982. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
  10. ^ Lewry, Peter; Goodall, Nigel (1991). Cliff Richard The Complete Recording Sessions 1958-1990. London: Blandford. pp. 62–63. ISBN 0-7137-2242-8.
  11. ^ "Hard Line - The Blasters - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  12. ^ The Jordanaires at AllMusic. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  13. ^ "Complete list of Grammy nominees; ceremony set for Feb. 23". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Corporation. January 8, 2003. Archived from the original on December 7, 2012. Retrieved September 22, 2012.
  14. ^ Official records, National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, 2000–2006.
  15. ^ "20th Century Gospel: From Hymns to Blackwood Brothers Tribute to Christian Country - Various Artists - Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 February 2019.