Petition Background (Preamble):
“The Voice”, Vern Gosdin, was born August, 5, 1934 in Woodland, Alabama. He began singing in church where his mother played piano. As he grew up, Vern sang in a gospel quartet called The Gosdin Brothers. When he was in his late teens, his family moved to Birmingham, Alabama and began hosting The Gosdin Family Gospel Show on a local radio station.
In 1961, Vern and his brother, Rex, moved to California and began performing bluegrass music. They joined a group called The Golden State Boys who then had two top 40 country hits with “Hangin’ On” and “Til the End”. They frequently opened for the iconic pop group, The Byrds.
In the 1970’s, Vern moved to Georgia where he worked a day job but he never gave up his music. In 1976, he signed with Elektra Records. His first hit was a remake of “Hangin’ On”,which featured Emmylou Harris singing harmony vocals. His next single was “Yesterday’s Gone” in 1977 which also featured Emmylou Harris and became his first Top Ten Hit. Several more hits followed between 1977 and 1979 with the biggest of these being a remake of “Til the End” and a cover of The Associations’ hit record, “Never My Love”, which also featured harmony vocals from Janie Fricke.
In 1982, Vern had a Top Ten hit with “Today My World Slipped Away”. In 1983, Vern co-wrote “Tennessee Courage” with Max D. Barnes and Louis Brown. The song was also recorded by Keith Whitley.
In 1983 Vern teamed up with songwriter Max D. Barnes once again. They penned two Top 5 hits; “If You’re Gonna Do Me Wrong (Do It Right) and “Way Down Deep”. Vern released the album, “There Is a Season” in 1984. This release was chosen by the Los Angeles Times as Best Country Album of the Year. Also in 1984, Vern had his first #1 single, “I Can Tell By The Way You Dance (You’re Gonna Love Me Tonight)”. Vern traveled from coast to coast opening shows for George Jones. During this time, George’s manager, Gerald Murray, of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, maintained the same home office for both singers. Muscle Shoals became a pivot location for great writers and other entertainers, including Hank Williams, Jr.
In 1987, “Do You Believe Me Now” went to #4, then “Set ‘EmUp Joe” was released and went to #1. Vern and Max D. Barnes co-wrote “Chiseled in Stone” and it won the Country Music Association Award for Song of the Year. In 1989 Vern had another #1 hit with “I’m Still Crazy” and over the ensuing years,he had numerous Billboard Top 10 songs such as “Right in the Wrong Direction”, “That Just About Does It” and “Is It Raining at Your House”.
In 2007, Gerald Murray, wrote “True Life Stories About ‘The Voice'”. The book tells of the life and times the two had together and about some other people in Vern’s life. Murray was a part of Vern’s life for some 30 years and referred to him as a father, brother and friend.
In December 2008 Vern announced the release of “40 Years of The Voice”. This would be his final music project showcasing 40 years of his remarkable career. The compilation contained 101 pure country songs hand selected by Vern. 11 new songs recorded in 2008, 14 songs from his 1968 album, “Sounds of Goodbye”, recorded with his brother, Rex, and 77 of his favorite country and gospel classics.
When we lost Vern on April 28, 2009, we lost a legendary singer, a role model, a mentor and a dear friend.
Everyone please take a moment to sign this petition and help put Vern Gosdin where he belongs–in the Country Music Hall Of Fame.