Harold Lane Passes Away

Long-time Speer Family lead singer Harold Lane passed away yesterday, at age 82.

He was born in 1929 in West Virginia and was an early member of the Gospel Harmony Boys, joining in the early 1950s. (He was also a high school band director at the time.) After several years with the Gospel Harmony Boys, he left to join the Homeland Harmony Quartet, but returned to the Gospel Harmony Boys after several months.

He joined the Speer Family in 1967 and stayed with them for more than twenty years. He was also a songwriter; his two best-remembered songs are “Touring That City” and “Standing on the Solid Rock.”


For more about —and other Southern Gospel news and commentary—follow our RSS feed or sign up for our email updates!

26 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Our loss, but heaven’s gain! Welcome home Harold!

  2. Harold contributed greatly to the Speers’ success. He was a good performer, but his songs and arrangements as well as his musicality helped them a lot. If I remember right, I read that he helped Dottie Rambo. I think he wrote charts for her songs. What I do remember is that Dottie said that he quietly corrected her grammar. He didn’t tell her or embarrass her, he just did it.

    • Q-M, fascinating! I knew the Speer Family quietly corrected grammar on some of Dottie’s songs – I didn’t know it was Harold in particular.

      • I can’t recall where I heard that, it was either a printed or recorded interview with Dottie. She was grateful and thought he was classy about it.

      • Ah; thanks!

      • I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to call Harold the “Mosie Lister” of the Speers. Although he contributed performance-wise to the group, his other contributions are far more great and often unrealized by the average fan.

  3. “H” was my songwriting teacher the first year I attended Stamps-Baxter in 1998. What a great, quiet, unassuming, talented, Godly man! Having been on the faculty since 2004 (about the time he quit teaching), his imprint is still seen and felt at the school to this date.
    Last year, a small group of faculty and staff went over to his nursing home and sang to him many of the songs he’d written over the years. We’re not sure, but we think he remembered many of them, even trying to “direct” us on a couple songs with arms and hands that didn’t move very well. It was a very special time and a blessing to all of us able to go. I think this morning we’d definitely find him touring that city he wrote about so many times!

  4. What sweet memories from the Speers days with Harold. They were at the top of the totem pole with the songs he wrote. I want to visit with him someday in Heaven!

  5. It grieves me to hear of the passing of one of my heroes. I will always remember him as a modest man, a wonderful singer, and a GREAT songwriter. He’s now in the picture of health and in the prime of life…and adding enormously to the Heavenly Choir. I’ll see you again, Harold Lane; thank God for the Blessed Hope!!

  6. Not only was he one of my favorite singers, he was also one of my favorite trombone players. Kind of partial to trombone players

  7. I knew not that he wrote Standing no the Solid Rock. That song is simply superb, awesome, great. Indeed he’ll make a good addition to the heavenly choir.

  8. Harold Lane is my Great Uncle and has touched the lives of many throughout this world and will be missed Dearly. However,I cannot be selfish and wish him back,I can only know Heavens has Welcomed him home and has a proud new piece of GODS choir. GOD BLESS

    • John,

      It is good to hear from you, and we’re all sorry to hear of your family’s loss. Had he been ill, or was this sudden?

      Daniel

    • I’m from West Virginia and saw the Gospel Harmony boys on local t.v. there. I have a couple of their early albums. Loved them.

  9. At some point these earthly bodies regress to the point that there is nothing left to salvage. That’s when a loving God reaches down and rescues us from the curse and welcomes us into His divine presence. Harold made the trip and is now in perfect health forever.

    He was a dear friend whose vast talents I greatly admired. We Couriers shared many concerts with both the Gospel Harmony Boys and the Speer Family. “H” left a lasting impression on me and I miss him already. See ya later, friend.

    • That is so beautifully worded! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  10. Harold now touring that city that he wrote about so long ago. I met him several years ago at the convention in Louisville and had the opporunity to thank him for writing songs that touched deep into the heart of my soul. He was a inspiration to me and he stood on the Solid Rock for a lifetime. Our loss hear is Heaven’s gain

  11. I have been reading the wonderful comments about my Dad and had to write something myself. Those who knew him in the gospel music field know what great talent he had and how he welcomed being an instrument of God’s word and will. He was always happy to stand in the background and loved to talk about music. If you got to know him better, you found out that he had a great sense of humor…and appreciated a dry wit. 🙂 He always had a smile for people and loved being with fellow believers.

    What you may not know is that he was the same person at home. He was the best man I’ve ever known and led by example. He never preached, never raised his voice (never had to), and never expected me or my brother and sister to do anything he wasn’t already doing. His humor…remember I said dry wit…was unique. On a bowling league we called ourselves The Bowling Lanes. During a trip when approaching a one-lane bridge he said, “OK, only one Lane allowed, I guess you all have to get out.” He used to give a thumbs up when he would see my sister of I get a strike (bowling). When I got a spare, he gave me a sideways thumbs up because a true thumbs up required a strike.

    Family was everything to him and every one of us know we were well loved. While he was in the nursing home, before leaving I would always tell him to take care of my number one man and that I loved him. (When my husband was with me I’d tell my husband…sorry, but you are number 2.) Sometimes he would say, “Love you too honey” and sometimes he would say “I know that.”

    To answer Daniel J. Mount’s question, Dad’s death followed over a 3 year struggle. He was a favorite at the nursing home and could often be heard humming or singing to himself.

    In all the time I’ve known him, and even in the last few years, he has always had a calm exterior that came from a deep and abiding faith in the Lord. We are now rejoicing because his days of suffering are gone and he has gone home! Yes, he will be missed, but only for a short time, because one day we will see him again…touring that city!

    Thank you to everyone who commented, and if it is permissible, I’d like to request any who wish to, to visit http://www.mountolivet.com and share a story you have about Dad. We will treasure each and every one of them.

    God Bless!

    • Judy,

      Thank you so much for stopping by! It is always a delight to hear that someone is off stage what he also was on stage. Regrettably, I’m new enough to the genre that I never got to see him perform in person (though I do have many Speer Family albums with him on them). But I do encourage everyone who has to stop by the site you mentioned.

    • Judy thanks for sharing your memories. I enjoyed reading them.

  12. Harold Lane fit my idea of what makes up a true Legend. His gifts and abilities were indispensable, yet often unnoticed. Not until they’re not there, are they truly appreciated.

    I was privileged to have had the opportunity to learn to appreciate, not only his songwriting ability, but his ability to harmonize and “fit” into the blend…perfectly. My favorite Speer Family recordings…the ones I listened to when I was learning to play the piano…are the ones that included Harold Lane’s recognizable voice. Getting to know him was a blessing and honor that I don’t take for granted. Musically, I aspire to be as talented…personally, I aspire to be as genuinely funny, yet sincerely kind.

    Harold Lane is a Legend who will be missed on this side of eternity. His gifts and abilities will now be used to enhance Heaven’s choir, and I’m looking forward to hearing his contributions!

    • Great memorial, Gerald!

    • Thank you for sharing that tribute! It is a testimony of a life well lived when both someone’s family and his peers speak as highly of him as has happened in this post.

  13. I’m from Parkersburg, West Virginia, and Harold and the Gospel Harmony Boys were a big part of our lives when we were growing up. Every Sunday as soon as we got home from church, I had to watch the “Gospel Harmony Hour” on WSAZ. Whenever Harold, Homer, Gray, Asa and Dick came anywhere close to Parkersburg to sing, my dad took us to hear them. We had gotten two of their early albums and I just about wore them out playing them over and over. When Harold joined the Speer Family, they gave a concert one year in Parkersburg. I remember they did a song called “Palms of Victory” that brought the whole audience out of their seats. Ms. Judy if you’re reading this, I pray that the Lord’s peace will shower you and your family during this time of the loss of your daddy. He touched so many lives. God bless you all

    • Nice memories,,,below is a link to Harold Lane singing “Palms of Victory.”
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucuRE0_j5As

      • Thank you, Dean for sharing that. I bookmarked it, so I can go back to it. That is Harold at his finest.