GORDON STOKER

Born Hugh Gordon Stoker, 3 August 1924, Gleason, Tennessee

Gordon Stoker has been a member of the Jordanaires since 1950. This renowned harmony-vocal quartet, formed in 1948, is best known for a lengthy working relationship with Elvis Presley. The group first accompanied the young Elvis in 1955 during a performance on the pivotal Louisiana Hayride. Lead vocalist Stoker was subsequently featured on Presley's first recordings for RCA Victor, notably "Heart- break Hotel", while the remaining trio - Neal Matthews (tenor), Hoyt Hawkins (baritone) and Hugh Jarrett (bass) - joined him on the session that produced "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel". (Stoker claims that he plays piano on "Hound Dog".) The Jordanaires also supported Presley on the Steve Allen and Milton Berle television shows, where their clean-cut, conservative appearance contrasted the impact of the singer's explosive personae. The quartet continued to accompany him throughout the 50s and 60s, although they were spectacularly absent from the comeback NBC-TV spectacular, "Elvis" (1968), where their role was taken by girl-group, the Blossoms. The Jordanaires did not feature on the fruitful sessions spawning "Suspicious Minds" and "In The Ghetto", nor the subsequent live appearances, but returned to the fold for recordings undertaken in Nashville during June and September 1970. These marked the end of the Jordanaires' relationship with Presley, but the group remained an integral part of Nashville's music industry. They also released several albums in their own right, many of which featured gospel material or songs that have been recorded by Elvis. For 47 years, 1953 through 2000, the group's membership was almost constant. Their joint tenures were interrupted in 1982, when Hoyt Hawkins passed away, with the baritone position then filled by Duane West, who died in 2002. In the bass position, Ray Walker filled Hugh Jarrett's place in 1958 and continues to this present day. The current line-up is: Gordon Stoker (first tenor), Ray Walker (bass), Louis Nunley (baritone), Curtis Young (second tenor).

Website: http://www.jordanaires.net CD recommendations: Simply the Best (Disky, 1995), Sing the King (Music Club, 1998).

 
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