What If: Happy Goodmans 1983 Edition

What If: Happy Goodmans 1983 Edition

If the 1982-1983 line-up of the Happy Goodmans had stayed together:
1. They might still be one of the most in-demand groups in the industry.
2. The Gaither Vocal Band might have retired by the early 1990s.
3. The Singing Americans might have never recorded “I Bowed On My Knees And Cried Holy.”
4. Howard & Vestal might have never returned from retirement.
5. The members who make up today’s Goodman Revival, minus Johnny Minick, plus Michael English, might currently be billed as the Happy Goodmans.

What else?

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /nfs/c10/h10/mnt/141983/domains/blog.musicscribe.com/html/wp-content/themes/multimag-theme/includes/single/post-tags-categories.php on line 7
Category History

David Bruce Murray

David Bruce Murray is a church music director in Ellenboro, NC. He is the author of Murray's Encyclopedia Of Southern Gospel Music and the owner of both SGHistory.com and MusicScribe.com. David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

MusicScribe Comments

We love comments


  1. Reply October 19, 20:56 #1 Tad Kirkland

    This was such a great group, I don’t understand why it didn’t last. I’m sure the Goodmans minus Vestal was a big loss, but this version of this group from the Chosen album produced some big hits in The Message Of His Coming, Somebody Prayed For Me and The Cloud He’s Coming Back On not to mention the rest of this phenomenal album. I remember those songs ruling the SG radio world when I was a kid. Did they just not give it enough time?
    It is interesting to think how history would have changed. I wonder if the Gaither world would have even entered SG in the 90s. Dare I mention a particular scandal may not have occurred in the early 90s?

  2. Reply October 19, 22:07 #2 James Hales

    I remember seeing this on PTL when I was a kid. This is some GREAT singing and musicianship! I have often wondered what the SG landscape would have looked like had this group continued on.

  3. Reply October 20, 08:55 #3 Kyle Boreing

    Michael English may never have had a solo career, at least not at the level he did. Mark Lowry may never have joined the GVB, the two may never have worked together, and we may never have gotten the original release of “Mary Did You Know.”

  4. Reply October 20, 10:56 #4 Phil Swartz

    First let me say that from over 2000 lp’s in my collection, this one ranks in the top 5. It has 10 great songs. Now as to the “What if” 1. no. That would put this group on the road together for 34 years. I don’t think Michael had the stability that would be needed for that long of a stint in a group. Tanya would want to be closer to family sooner. 2. This group staying together would have nothing to do with the retirement of the Gaither vocal Band. Bill Gaither has always surrounded himself with top notch singers and would have found someone with just as much showmanship and volume or whatever was needed to make a top notch quartet. 3. Well, that’s just mathematical. That is Michael’s song so of course SA would not have recorded it. 4. Gaither pulled them out of retirement so I don’t think the success of this group would have had anything to do with Howard and Vestal not coming out of retirement. 4. No, the term “Happy” Goodmans pertain to Howard and Vestal so it would have been called something else. In My Humble and Happy Opinion.

    • Reply October 20, 12:00 David Bruce Murray Author

      1. Well, the whole premise of this exercise is “what if they had stayed together,” so your “no” on number one is saying they’d never have stayed together. :)

      2. Actually, Bill has said in interviews that his plan was to retire the GVB after making the first _Homecoming_ recording in the early 1990s as a tribute to his heroes. It was to be his last hurrah, if you will. If Michael English hadn’t been there already to make the record what it was, _Homecoming_ might have never had the same level of success.

      3. Agreed. Sure, they might have recorded it at some point later, but the reason the Singing Americans recorded it when they did is because Michael had already recorded it one time before with the Happy Goodmans.

      4. See my reply on #2. If Michael wasn’t in the GVB, the _Homecoming_ phenomenon might not have happened. And if that had been the case, it’s unlikely that Howard & Vestal (or several other groups for that matter) would have renewed their careers.

      5. You make a good point, but only up to a certain point. Again, the premise is “what if” the group with Sam, Rusty, Michael & Tanya had stayed together, only changing members when Rusty and then Sam passed away. Remember, this same line-up was billed as the “Happy Goodman Family” on _Goodman Greats_, which is the album that came out before _Chosen_. They were also billed as the Happy Goodman Family when it was Sam, Rusty, Tanya & Johnny Cook in 1981 after Howard & Vestal left. Your point is valid in that the group name was shortened to “The Goodmans” for _Chosen_. Had the group stayed together, that might have been how they were billed.

Tell us what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.