SGMA announces Hall of Fame Inductees

Earlier this week, in a story I unfortunately missed the day it broke, the Southern Gospel Music Association announced the 2009 inductees to the Southern Gospel Hall of Fame:

  • Neil Enloe (Couriers)
  • Ed Hill (Prophets, Stamps, Singing Americans, Masters V, Statesmen)
  • Harold Lane (Speer Family)
  • Don Light
  • Bill Lyles (Blackwood Brothers)
  • Elizabeth “Lady” Mull
  • Billy Todd (Florida Boys, Dixie Echoes)
  • Charlie Waller

A big congratulations to all the nominees, esepcially Neil Enloe (since there is a chance he might actually notice this)! Every nomination is well-deserved.

I do wonder why, from year to year, most of the nominees tend to be retired, semi-retired, or passed away. I do understand that the Hall of Fame is less than two decades old and there is a lot of catching up to do, but I am a big fan of honoring the living while they’re still with us and active in the genre whenever possible.

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16 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. “If it weren’t for those before us, we wouldn’t have these now!”

  2. Oh, no question. I definitely want to honor those who’ve gone before. But I don’t want to always or even mostly wait till they’ve finished going before to honor them!

  3. I agree with that. It would be nice to see the looks on their faces.

  4. Overall, a very deserving class! My congratulations to the class of 2009.
    However, when will Sam Goodman get this same honor? It is a shame that he is the only member of the four “original” Happy Goodmans not to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. But let me say again, I am not saying those in this years class are not deserving, not in the least. I am the first to give honor where honor is due, and they deserve to be honored, but so does Sam Goodman.


  5. Sam would be a good nominee.

  6. Hey Daniel,
    Hope you are doing well. You may have missed it or you just didn’t have the space to post it. Ed Hill also sang with the Statesmen and the Master Five. I would also like to asked if all of you that have post the comments are you SGMA members ? If not you should be so you can do your part to get who you feel should be in the Hall Of Fame. Its just twenty dollars a year. That way you can vote ! If you are a member GREAT ! Try to get others to join because we need all the members we can get. I just wanted to Invite you to join what I feel is something that is good for Southern Gospel Music and very important !


  7. McCray, good catch!

    I was just working from memory on the groups in the post. My goal wasn’t exactly to capture every occurrence, but more to point out the groups each person was best remembered for. But I was happy to go back and add that in!

  8. Its just a thought Daniel that if you are still active in SG music there are the Singing News fan awards…but other Hall of Fames like in sports and such are usually people that are dead or retired. (and I do notice that of this years list several are still pretty actively singing and involved with SGM)
    Just curious though, what is Charlie Waller’s “claim to fame”?

  9. He promotes the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion and heads up the SGMA, which is the organization that hands out the awards.

  10. Harold Lane was also with the Gospel Harmony Boys.

  11. Better one, Daniel!
    Charlie’s claim to fame is that he heads up the Hall of Fame.
    Always wanted to be a songwriter when I grew up.

  12. For those who would like to know Charlie’s claim to fame is many things. One is that not only does he head up the Hall of Fame he saved the Hall of Fame. You know it takes money to run it and trust me if you think that Dollywood save it you are wrong. Two he has gave groups that were starting a stage to sing on like the Dove Brothers, Booth Brothers and others. So he wouldn’t tell you what he has done but I will because I am very bless that Charlie passed our way. There are many other things that he has done for Southern Gospel Music and I would love to tell you but I don’t have the time.

  13. Hidee,
    I would like to agree with what McCray said about Charlie Waller. Charlie is truly one of the greatest promoters of our times! He has been producing the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion since 1988. (I have attended every year since 1989.) He has done more to preserve traditional, quality Quartet Music than anyone! He gave men such as London Paris, Lew Garrison, Ace Richmond, Fred Daniels, Eddie Wallace, etc an opportunity to sing and perform when the rest of the “Gospel World” had forgotten them. He was the first to reunite the original Cathedrals and many, many other Quartets. I would have never had the opportunity to meet and hear most of my “Quartet Heroes” if it were not for Waller and his GOGR! Many of the “fundamentals” of his annual GOGR are now used in concert promotions all over the country. Along with all of this, he documented it all on film each year. Yes, I was at the GOGR when Bill Gaither literally walked around all weekend with a legal pad and took notes, and this “predated” Gaither’s first “Homecoming”. Gaither led a choir at the end of the Saturday night concert that featured most of the legends of the Gospel World, and it was “Charlie’s crowd” at GOGR! Waller likes to “have fun” with everyone he likes; however, he and Gaither are friends and visit often.

    When Waller “took over” the Hall of Fame it was in a desperate condition, and he has worked hard to bring it to the wonderful “showplace” that it is today. Charlie took his name “out of the running” for this honor for several years. The Board finally insisted this year.

    As McCray stated, Charlie had an integral role in the beginnings of some of today’s most popular groups like the Dove Brothers and the Booth Brothers. He has been the “idea man” behind many of the most successful events at the NQC – the dunking booth is just one example. This is already too lengthy; however, I simply wanted to give some of you a “taste” of why Charlie so richly deserves this honor! Congratulations Charlie!

  14. Thanks to you both for pointing out some of these facts that I really wasn’t aware of. (I did know that he MC’d the GOGR, but not what all that took in.) I remember that Hovie’s last recording was done as a result of a group Charlie Waller put together.

  15. Daniel-

    As you mentioned, I indeed “actually notice(d)” your March 21 posting of the October 7 inductees to the SGMA Hall of Fame. And as you may or may not know I’m very uneasy when put in these kind of circumstances.

    I was raised in an era of the church when I heard repeatedly preached, “All the glory belongs to Jesus.” I still believe that to be so and it makes me uncomfortable to think I might be receiving some of the glory that belongs to Him. But I am also honored and humbled to think that I would have the approval of my peers in an ministry/industry that has been very good to me and given me a platform to bring “all the glory (belongs) to Jesus”.

    I’m further shocked to be named among the other inductees whose lives, careers and talents I’ve greatly admired for many years. I presume to speak for all the inductees when I say that when the rewards are given out in Heaven, the real glory belongs to the One who’ll be handing them out.

  16. Thank you for your thoughts – your attitude is a large part of the reason I respect you so much.