Gerald Williams’ Melody Boys Quartet to retire

Gerald Williams’ Melody Boys Quartet just announced that they will retire on December 31, 2012. A press release sent to states:

The Melody Boys Quartet (TMBQ), one of America’s longest operating male quartets in gospel music, makes their official retirement announcement, effective New Year’s Eve, 2012.

Says Gerald Williams, who began his position as bass singer for TMBQ in 1949 at the age of 16, “We know there is a time and a season for all things. This is the right time. 63 years is a good season.”

TMBQ’s heritage goes all the way back to the late 1930s when they performed three live radio programs daily as well as a healthy concert schedule. They were gospel music pioneers when they were the first gospel music group in Arkansas to move into the, then young, television market.

They were among the groups that performed at the first National Quartet Convention in 1957. At the death of owner, manager and bass vocalist, Herschel Foshee in 1949, pianist and song writer, ‘Smilin’ Joe Roper reorganized the group as The Melody Boys Quartet and introduced a new, young bass singer to the nation. Gerald Williams, a Southern Gospel Music Hall of Famer and Grand Ole’ Gospel Living Legend now enters his 63rd year as a professional vocalist.

Generation after generation of fans that love quartet music have labeled TMBQ’s sound as a touch of the past and a taste of the future. Quality sound and ministry integrity, tastefully mixed with family entertainment, is TMBQ’s trademark.

Beginning in March, TMBQ will embark on their ‘Exit 63’ Tour, which will run through the end of 2012. Mike Franklin, first tenor with TMBQ for over 19 years says, “We are still booking dates for this, our final year. If you’ve ever considered having The Melody Boys Quartet at your gospel sing or your church, now is the time to schedule.”

To book TMBQ for their ‘Exit 63’ Tour, contact Gayla at 214-957-3669 or email or visit

Williams has always run his group with class, and giving the fans a full year to say goodbye is just the latest case in point. Perhaps they have never been the most popular group in the genre, but they have always fielded a high-quality group and filled their own niche.

There is presently no word on whether there will be a farewell CD recording.

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

18 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. Sad to hear Mr. Gerald will not be traveling anmore, but he can certainly look back on a great career. He is SO respected, and one of the most genuine people you’ll ever meet. He has kept the faith these last few years in particular – through numerous personnel changes, and the struggle to be noticed in a too-crowded quartet field.

    Thanks for the music Gerald Williams, and all the past Melody Boys!

  2. I just spent the last week on a cruise ship with Gerald and the guys. MBQ is a class act in every respect, and of course this reflects their management, especially Gerald. He is a great friend who I trust and love dearly. A man of unquestionable morals, and a great bass singer, among the best of the best! I am sad to learn of this change, but I wish Gerald, Mike, Dean and Chris all the best in the world. They are my friends, my colleages and my heros. You will be missed!!!!

    • They sure will be, but at least we have one more year to enjoy them! 🙂

  3. When it comes to pure bass singing,Gerald Williams will be difficult to beat. he is still as smooth and dead on pitch as he has ever been. he is pure class and will be deeply missed by me. Sadly enough, they just don’t make them like Gerald, Ed, Rex, George, and Brock any more. All of these men were and still are the flame bearer’s for our industry! Thank you Gerald for all of the wonderful years of music you provided!

    • Gerald is indeed one of the best, and he will be sorely missed by all who appreciate quality classic-style Southern Gospel bass singing.

      Thankfully, there are some good-looking young talents on the way up. (See, I found a way to work “good-looking” in! 😆 )

  4. Glad I’ll get to see him one more time out here in CA. One of the few bass singers who just sang on a plain old SM58. No fancy mics. No hugs subs shaking the floors. Just pure singing. Got my fingers crossed that when the quartet retires, he’ll still sing with another group that needs a great bass!

    • At 75 or 76, I expect he is retiring the group because he is himself ready to retire—or because he wants to leave when his voice is still at its peak (which, amazingly, appears to still be the case in his mid-70s!)

      • I’m thinking he’s around 79. He started at 16 and has been singing 63 years.

      • The press release above said he started with TMBQ in 1949 at age 16.

  5. Wow, that’s hard to believe (although it shouldn’t be). I wish them all the best.

  6. I wish them all the best that retirement has to offer! They will be missed so much! Best wishes.

  7. Best wishes to MBQ as the embark on their farewell tour. We saw them at the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion a few years ago A quality group and a fan favorite.

  8. Gerald has always maintained such class. Not too many people have weathered 63 years in the business, let alone with the same group. His class and dedication will certantly be missed in the industry! Anyone who hadnt had the privilege of seeing the MBQ..go see the this year, buy their music! Its not often we loose an institution in Sg music!

  9. Btw..thought I would add…How classy it is for a group to announce their retirement a year in advance..instead of quitting and letting everyone know a month later! Once again, professionalism is highly exhibited with the MBQ!

    • Previous being the one made earlier, not the one that is nested earlier. 😀

  10. That is the way the Cathedrals did it as well. They gave the fans a chance to see and hear them again, say goodbye etc. and this also gave the younger guys time to line up something else for themselves.

  11. Warm memories flood my heart at mention of the Melody Boys. I got to hear them sing the last time Joe Roper made an appearance with them. Any time you heard the Melody Boys you heard four guys that sung on pitch, had perfect rhythm and wonderful warmth in their presentation. No gimmmicks, just good sound singing. They will be missed.

  12. I first saw Gerald and the Meldy Boys when I was 7 yrs old Gerald was 19 I thought it was the most beautiful music I had ever heard. At that age I was very shy but I just had to go up and tell them how much I loved their singing. I gues I picked Gerald to talk to because he was the closest to my age. He was so nice to me He talked to me just like I was an adult. Needless to say I became a fan of Geralds that night. I rember when his group would sing at Dollar General stores. I would go and take my little girl so she grew up thinking they were part of the family thats the way they always treated people with respect and love. Gerald CAN’T BE replaced He is the best Love you old friend.