The name “Blackwood Brothers” is a name that is synonymous with Gospel Music. Their music has been heard around the world on radio, recordings, television and in personal appearances. The Blackwood Brothers formed in 1934 in Choctaw County, Mississippi. The original members were brothers Doyle Blackwood, James Blackwood, Roy Blackwood and his son, R. W. Blackwood. In June 1954, the Blackwood Brothers Quartet appeared on the “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts” show on television. They won the competition with their stirring rendition of “The Man Upstairs.” Two weeks after the Arthur Godfrey appearance, two of the Blackwood Brothers, R. W. Blackwood and Bill Lyles, were both killed in a plane crash in Clanton, Alabama. The surviving Blackwoods regrouped adding R. W.’s younger brother, Cecil, to sing baritone and J. D. Sumner, singing bass. In 1956, James Blackwood, Cecil Blackwood and J. D. Sumner organized the first National Quartet Convention which still exists today and is held in Louisville, KY. The Blackwood Brothers introduced the first customized tour bus. A replica of their bus is on display in the Southern Gospel Music Hall Of Fame at Dollywood. Elvis Presley loved gospel music and attended many of the conventions the Blackwood Brothers held at the Ellis Auditorium in Memphis. Backstage, Elvis joined James Blackwood, Hovie Lister and J. D. Sumner for an impromtu rendition of “How Great Thou Art.”
The Blackwood Brothers were guests on The Barbara Mandrell Show, Hee-Haw, Tom Snyder, Porter Wagoner, Grand Old Opry andhad their own television show for many years. They sang with many great singers: Johnny Cash, Porter Wagoner, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Jim Nabors, The McGuire Sisters and many more. They also made guest appearances for the Billy Graham Crusades, Liberty Bowl, and the Presidential Prayer Breakfast.
The Blackwood Brothers have recorded over 200 albums and toured in 47 countries. They won eight Grammy Awards and 6 Dove Awards. They were inducted in the “Gospel Music Hall of Fame” in Nashville, TN in 1998.