Gospel Music Hall of Fame Names New Class

Top (l-r): Hoss Allen, Johnny Cash; Bottom (l-r): DeGarmo & Key, Golden Gate Quartet

The GMA Foundation (GMAF) announced today that it will induct Johnny Cash, DeGarmo & Key, Golden Gate Quartet, and Bill “Hoss” Allen into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame on January 24, 2011.

“The impact this group of individuals has made on gospel music is immeasurable. It’s an honor to recognize these inductees for their contributions.” said Ed Harper, Chairman, GMA Foundation.

“I’m very excited about this year’s slate of inductees. All come from different cultures and backgrounds but have helped elevate gospel music to a much higher plateau throughout our universe which is in need of good news more than ever,” added Tom Long, Chairman, GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame Committee.

Eddie DeGarmo and Dana Key landed their first record deal at age 16 and over the next 17 years, recorded 15 albums of faith-filled, blues-influenced rock music. They earned seven GRAMMY and 17 Dove Award nominations. The duo created some of the first in-roads into the world of Christian music videos and was the first contemporary Christian artist to be aired on MTV.

The most popular of the Jubilee quartets, the Golden Gate Quartet was made up of Willie Johnson (baritone and narrator), Henry Owens (first tenor) William Langford (second tenor), and Orlandus Wilson (bass). They offered sophisticated harmonies, laced with a heavy dose of jazz.

In the mid 1950s, Hoss Allen established himself as a deejay for WLAC’s 50,000 watt radio station, a powerful entity that had broadcast capabilities stretching from Michigan to Mobile, Ala. Allen soon gained a reputation for playing the newest releases and is even credited for helping jumpstart the careers of James Brown and Jimi Hendrix through his airplay. Around 1975, Allen reformatted his program as “Early Morning Gospel Time With the Hossman,” providing a solid platform for this kind of music which had previously not existed.

Famed country music singer Johnny Cash was a lifelong Christian who recorded numerous Gospel albums and often incorporated Gospel music into his TV shows and concerts.

The GMA Foundation (GMAF) will induct the honorees into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame on Monday, January 24, 2011, at Trinity Music City Auditorium in Hendersonville, TN at 6:00 PM. Admission is free to the public.

The GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame, established in 1971, has inducted more than 150 members since its inception. Previous inductees include Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, Mahalia Jackson, Amy Grant, the Statler Brothers, the Winans, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Sandi Patty, Tennessee Ernie Ford, The Oak Ridge Boys, Bill and Gloria Gaither, Billy Graham, the Jordanaires, and many more.

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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