The Originals: Touring That City

The Originals: Touring That City

It’s interesting to discover that the very first recording of a popular song is by a different artist than the one who made it popular. That isn’t the case with “Touring That City,” however. The Inspirations were the first to record the song, and their original recording quickly rose to the number one spot on the Singing News chart where it remained for five consecutive months.

The twist to the story of “Touring That City” is that another popular group had the opportunity to record it before the Inspirations. In fact, the song’s writer, Harold Lane, was a member of the Speer Family. They weren’t interested enough in the song to tell him to reserve it for their next recording session, so he was looking for another group to record it.

At that time, The Inspirations were making regular appearances on the Gospel Singing Jubilee with the Speer Family. When they approached Harold Lane to ask if he had any new songs they might be interested in performing, he showed them “Touring That City.” By the next taping of the show, The Inspirations had learned the song and sang it on the program. The Jubilee viewers loved it, so directly into the studio The Inspirations went to record “Touring That City” for release on their 1973 LP by the same title.

Here is a re-mastered version of that first recording:

The Speer Family soon realized they’d allowed a good one to slip away. They didn’t wait long to record their own version of “Touring That City.” After seeing the positive response to The Inspirations’ release of Lane’s song, they went into the studio and recorded it that same year. Their LP was also titled Touring That City and also hit shelves in 1973.

A number of groups have recorded “Touring That City” since 1973. Here is a list from our sister site,

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Category Audio, 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 and David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

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  1. Reply May 07, 20:15 #1 nber

    I believe one of the reasons The Speers passed on it at first was the because the melody was slightly different. The Inspirations simplified the melody, Harold Lane agreed their way was better and rewrote the music (or something like that). :) The full story is in the liner notes of The Masters of Gospel – The Speers.

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