A talented musician, Hilton was the original pianist for the Blackwood Brothers Quartet from 1940-1950. Hilton used those God-given gifts throughout his life and more than 65 years of active ministry. He was an ordained minister in the Assemblies of God and served as pastor of churches in Iowa and Missouri, as well as assignments as District Leader, and 13 years of ministry to seniors at a church in Joliet, IL. In his later years he was still active playing and singing in concerts and ministering in retirement homes. Hilton was seen by many on his own television programs - "Young at Heart" and "Inspiration Time".
Hilton and his wife, Marie had two children, Barbara and Larry.
Roy Blackwood December,
24 1900 - March 21, 1971
Roy Blackwood was an ordained minister in the Church of God in the 20's and early 30's. He was the oldest member of the original Blackwood Brothers Quartet and sang the tenor part. In the late 40's Roy retired from the quartet and after the group moved to Memphis in 1950 he worked in the Blackwood Brothers Record Shop. He and his wife Susie had two sons, R. W. and Cecil
Lena was the only girl in the Blackwood family. She was active in church ministry all of her life and was known as a poweful prayer warrior and woman of the Word. She married Ed Cain and they had two daughters, Martha (Eufaula to her friends) and Madeline.
Doyle Blackwood was the bass singer in the original Blackwood Brothers Quartet and accompanied the group on guitar. Doyle retired from the quartet in the late 40's and managed the Blackwood Brothers Record Shop in Memphis. He sang in The Memphians Quartet with his son, Terry and Verle Pilant, Chalmers Walker and Jack Marshall. He and his wife Lavez also had one daughter, Kaye.
James was the youngest of the brothers. He sang in the quartet from it’s beginning in 1934 until he joined the Masters V in 1981. He won 9 Grammy Awards and 7 Dove Awards as Best Male Vocalist. James was called "Mr. Gospel Music," a title given to him by the many people who loved him. His voice was regarded as one of the best ever in gospel music. He was a co-founder of the Gospel Music Association and the National Quartet Convention. He was an original member of the Masters V Quartet and was the leader of the James Blackwood Quartet. He and his wife Miriam had two sons, James, Jr. (Jimmy) and Billy.
R. W. Blackwood was the baritone in the original Blackwood Brothers Quartet. He was the oldest son of Roy and Susie Blackwood and nephew of James and Doyle. R. W. is remembered for his beautiful, rich baritone voice. He thrilled audiences with his showmanship as well as his extraordinary vocal ability. He was the pilot for the group when they traveled by plane in the early 50’s. He and his wife Elaine had two sons, Ron and Winston.
Cecil Blackwood joined the quartet after his brother R. W. was killed in the airplane crash in 1954. Cecil sang baritone in the quarter for 46 years. He was a crowd favorite and was known for his impeccable clothing style. He received a fan award from the Singing News as favorite baritone and won 8 Grammy Awards. He was a co-founder of the Gospel Music Association and the National Quartet Convention. He and his wife Doris had one son, Mark and two daughters, Regina and Barbara.
Bill Lyles was the bass singer in the Blackwood Brothers Quartet from the late 40’s until his death in 1954. He was the co-pilot for the group’s airplane in the early 50’s. He is still regarded as one of the smoothest bass singers in gospel music. He endeared himself to everyone who knew him. He and his wife Ruth had three sons, Bill, Jr., Gary, and Curtis.
J. D. Sumner joined the Blackwood Brothers in 1954 and sang bass in the quartet until 1965. He was known as the world’s lowest bass singer and also was a prolific songwriter. J.D. was responsible for creating the first customized bus for travel. He was also one of the founding members of the Gospel Music Association and the National Quartet Convention. He later sang with the Stamps Quartet, the backup group for Elvis Presley. He was one of the original Masters V Quartet. He and his wife Mary had two daughters, Frances and Shirley.
London Parris started singing in the Rebels Quartet and joined the Blackwood Brothers in the late 60’s. He possessed a large, booming bass voice and a dynamic personality that always made him a crowd favorite. In 1971 he started his own group, London Parris and the Apostles. He and wife Yvonne had two sons, Christopher and David and one daughter, Kathy.
Wally Varner, famous pianist for the Blackwood Brothers during the 1950's & 1960's.
He was known as one of the greatest pianists in gospel music and was also a song writer and arranger. He was one of the greatest showmen ever in gospel music. He and his wife Ginny had one daughter, Deborah.
Pat Hoffmaster joined the Blackwood Brothers in 1973 and quickly became recognized as one of the greatest tenor singers ever in gospel music. His beautiful tenor voice thrilled audiences around the world. He and his wife JoAnn had a son, James Pat, and a daughter, Renee.
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