Former Oak Ridge Boys Singer Gary McSpadden Dead at 77
Gary McSpadden, a Gospel Music Association Hall of Famer and former member of the Oak Ridge Boys, is dead at the age of 77. Music Row reports that McSpadden died on Wednesday (April 15) after a battle with cancer.
McSpadden grew up in Lubbock, Texas, in a musical family. His father and mother, Boyd and Helen McSpadden, were songwriters, and Boyd was also the pastor of Faith Temple in Lubbock, where Gary began singing from an early age. By the time he was 18 he was filling in for Jake Hess in the Imperials, and after just a few months, he began working with the Oak Ridge Quartet, who changed their name to the Oak Ridge Boys in short order.
McSpadden recorded three albums as a member of the Oak Ridge Boys, beginning with He Whispers Sweet Peace to Me in 1962 for Skylite Records. The group moved to Warner Bros. for With Sounds of Nashville later in 1962, and followed up with Folk Minded Spirituals for Spiritual Minded Folk in 1963 before McSpadden left to join Hess in Jake Hess and the Imperials.
During his tenure with the Imperials, the group sang backup to Elvis Presley, and McSpadden went on to perform with other top gospel groups of that era including the Bill Gaither Trio and, later, the Gaither Vocal Band. He also recorded a long string of well-respected solo projects as a gospel singer, and he had an active career as a songwriter whose songs included "Jesus Lord to Me,” “Hallelujah Praise the Lamb” and “No Other Name but Jesus.”
McFadden was also a record producer for acts including the Cathedrals, Terri Gibbs, the Talleys, Lulu Roman and more, as well as a television producer for gospel shows including Jubilee. In his later years he and his wife, Carol, headed up the Faith and Wisdom Church in Branson, Mo.
Carol turned to Facebook to share the news of his death following a battle with pancreatic cancer, writing, "This has been a quick and difficult journey we have been on. We knew this week that God had a plan and his healing would be here on earth or in heaven. As of 8:40 AM Pastor passed peacefully surrounded by his family into the arms of God."
The family are working on plans for a celebration of life for McFadden "at a later date" due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.
The Oak Ride Boys turned to social media to remember McFadden, who was inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame as a member of the group in 2000.
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