2018 SGMA Hall Of Fame Nominations

2018 SGMA Hall Of Fame Nominations

Last week, I received my ballot to nominate individuals to be inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Association’s Hall Of Fame (SGMA HOF).  At the bottom of this article, I have posted the SGMA’s criteria for selecting a SGMA HOF inductee.

It is important not to confuse the SGMA’s HOF with the Gospel Music Association’s Hall Of Fame (GMA HOF). Established in 1971, the GMA HOF honors all styles of gospel music and permits groups to be inducted as well as individuals.

The SGMA HOF, obviously, is limited to those who have impacted the Southern Gospel music industry, whether it be as a singer, a songwriter, or some other capacity. Only individuals, not groups, may be inducted. Established in 1997, the SGMA HOF now resides in a physical museum at the Dollywood theme part in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

The SGMA limits the number of individuals who can be nominated to four:  two deceased and two living. I haven’t started narrowing down the deceased category yet, but I have given considerable thought to the living category.

I recently learned the GMA HOF will induct Karen Peck Gooch later this year along with black gospel’s The Staples Singers, CCM’s Carmen, and record producer Greg Nelson. GMA HOF voters took note of Gooch’s multiple Grammy Awards nominations, her steady stream of hit songs, and her supporting actress role in a major motion picture (2012’s Joyful Noise with Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah). SGMA HOF voters have not yet put Karen’s name forward, which means she will, oddly enough, reach the GMA HOF before she reaches the SGMA HOF.

I have I considered nominating Karen Peck Gooch this year. It’s rather embarrassing the GMA HOF voters got to her before the SGMA HOF voters.

The first person I seriously considered is Mark Trammell. He has longevity with multiple high-profile quartets, most recently as the owner of the group that bears his name.

I’ve also considered both William Lee Golden and Duane Allen. They have collectively taken Southern Gospel to a much larger audience. Golden is simply an American icon while Allen adds book author, songwriter, and producer credentials.

Aside from Bill Gaither himself, you won’t find ANY former Gaither Vocal Band members (Mark Lowry, Michael English, Guy Penrod, David Phelps, Jim Murray, etc.) in the SGMA Hall Of Fame. SGMA HOF voters probably don’t consider them “pure” Southern Gospel enough, even though their fame is undeniably greater than many who have already been inducted.

As you can see, I haven’t narrowed the Living category down to two yet, and I’m sure I’ll have just as difficult of a time determining who to nominate in the Deceased category.

I’m sorry to admit I failed to keep my SGMA membership active for several years. If you have allowed your SGMA membership to lapse as I did, or if you’ve never been a member, click HERE to join.

Keep in mind that ballots must be postmarked by March 16, plus the SGMA staff needs time to process your membership. If you want to get in on 2018 voting, you should act right now.

Meanwhile, please leave your thoughts as a comment under this article. I’m certainly open to suggestions on who I should consider.

Below is the SGMA criteria, as promised.


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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.

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  1. Reply February 19, 17:31 #1 Darrell

    “I have considered nominating Karen Peck Gooch this year. It’s rather embarrassing the GMA HOF voters got to her before the SGMA HOF voters.” Most noteworthy statement out of this whole article. Does that mean Karen has been overlooked in the recent past by Southern Gospel voters? Yes, in my mind. Let’s not forget that from 1986-1996 she won Favorite Soprano of the year. Then somebody by the name of Kim came along and that was that. So props to the GMA for recognizing Karen for her long and successful career. We’ll see how long it takes the SGMA to do the same.

  2. Reply February 19, 17:40 #2 JE Butler

    I think Mark Lowry would be an excellent nominee… Definitely think it is time for Mark Trammell!!! With the exception of Jake, are any Imperials in the HOF?

    • Reply February 19, 19:55 David Bruce Murray Author

      I believe Jake may be the only one.

      • Reply February 20, 09:00 Abk

        Henry Slaughter is in.

        • Reply February 20, 09:48 David Bruce Murray Author

          Thanks Abk!

          The former Imperials I’d say should be most considered are Jim Murray and Armond Morales. Of course, there are several including Murray who later pulled stints with the GVB, but most of those were relatively short stints.

          Murray had an impressive 20-year run with the Imperials followed by five more with the Gaither Vocal Band. He is the only person I know who was with one group when they transitioned from Southern Gospel to contemporary, and then joined another group as they were in the middle of a transition from contemporary to Southern Gospel.

  3. Reply February 19, 19:21 #3 QwertyJuan

    Tim Riley already inducted?? If not he should be nominated.

  4. Reply February 19, 20:07 #4 Tim Dazey

    Just can’t agree with your Oak Ridge Boys comment or your GVB comment. I agree The Oaks were/are popular but I think Southern Gospel has done more for them then they ever did for SG. As far as the GVB, they may be more contemporary but there’s no denying the quality of arrangements and harmony and popularity among SG fans. Mark Trammell would be an awesome choice for sure.

    • Reply February 19, 20:29 David Bruce Murray Author

      I guess I’ll just never understand the mindset that says a VERY popular Southern Gospel artist should be disqualified from a hall of “Fame” for singing Southern Gospel to a different audience as both Allen and Golden have done. I think that should add rather than subtract, since they are, by definition, more famous from the choices they made.

      As for the former GVB members, if there’s “no denying the…popularity among SG fans,” what specific objection do you have? Sure, they were somewhat more contemporary for much of the 1980s, but that all changed from the 1990s to present day. The Nelons were just as contemporary in the 1980s, but that didn’t keep Rex out.

  5. Reply February 19, 20:28 #5 Michael Booth

    Mark and Karen would be fantastic choices. Might want to start considering Gerald already too.

  6. Reply February 19, 22:09 #6 Michael Booth

    Randy Shelnut is another fantastic choice. So many deserving.

    • Reply February 19, 22:48 David Bruce Murray Author

      Randy went in last year.

      • Reply February 20, 06:24 Michael Booth


        • Reply February 20, 09:51 David Bruce Murray Author

          Yes, on the ballot the SGMA mailed out, they unfortunately failed to add the 2017 inductees to their list of individuals already inducted.

          I’m afraid some members may waste their vote.

          Public Service Announcement: Randy Shelnut, Troy Burns, Tony Greene, and LaBreeska Hemphill are ALREADY IN. Don’t vote for them!

  7. Reply February 19, 23:00 #7 JSR

    I think Ernie Haase is worthy of consideration. He had a solid run with the legendary Cathedrals, pulled together two legends in the Old Friends Quartet, and has been at the top of the SG world with EHSS for well over a decade. I’m sure there are many who would love to have had his success in SG.

    • Reply February 20, 09:54 David Bruce Murray Author

      That’s an excellent recommendation. Ernie hasn’t been doing it quite as long as some, but he’s been consistently high profile in the Cathedral Quartet, Old Friends, and Signature Sound as well as time he spent after the Cats as a soloist.

      In fact, one of the criteria suggests that an individual’s significance and influence should be considered above longevity in the industry.

  8. Reply February 19, 23:50 #8 Dean Adkins

    Deceased: John Matthews
    Living: Roy McNeal

  9. Reply February 20, 01:32 #9 Chris Bryant

    As a current member of Mississippi’s oldest continuously traveling Quartet “The Bibletones” I would love to see our former owner and lead singer “Howard Rutland”, considered for this great honor. Howard took over the Bibletones in the early 80’s and owned the group for the next 30+ years! His commitment and dedication to Southern Gospel Music is very deserving of such a prestigious honor. Howard suffered a stroke in mid 2017 and has been on the road to recovery. Through many prayers and procedures he is making great progress!

  10. Reply February 20, 12:07 #10 Logan Pettis

    The Perrys or at the very least Libbi and Tracy!!

    • Reply February 20, 12:36 David Bruce Murray Author

      The SGMA does not induct groups. Tracy and/or Libbi could be inducted, for example, but not the entire group.

  11. Reply February 20, 14:42 #11 Kathy Hooper

    Tracy Stuffle
    Mark Trammel
    Two wonderful examples for all of us who put or is still putting their all in to see another won to Jesus, that is what it’s all about to me at least.

  12. Reply February 20, 14:53 #12 Zack Grant

    Not only is the induction of Karen Peck Gooch to the SGMA Hall of Fame more than deserving, it also makes a lot of sense in light of the fact that the Gospel Music Association is recognizing her for her contributions as well. I also believe both Mark Trammell and Mark Lowry are excellent choices. These men have left indelible marks on the industry with no signs of slowing down. Mark Trammell has maintained a level of excellence not matched by many throughout his years with the Cathedrals, Gold City, and the MTQ. For Mark Lowry, his 15+ years singing baritone with the Gaither Vocal Band, combined with his innate ability to use humor as a way of showing Jesus to people around the world has truly set him apart. I would also say that his song, “Mary Did You Know” has become an anthem of Christmas music across all genres, especially in southern gospel.

  13. Reply February 20, 19:02 #13 Maryted Campbell

    The late Tracy Stuffle.
    He never waivered from his roots and love of SGM and his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
    The Perrys were steadfast during Tracy’s illness and subsequent death.
    Two days after Tracy’s death they were back on the road ,continuing the legacy.

  14. Reply February 20, 23:08 #14 Cindy Ball

    Tracy and/ or Libbi Stuffle

  15. Reply February 20, 23:50 #15 Linda Small

    Libby Perry Stuffle for her many years of singing and sharing the message of the gospel through those Southern Gospel songs.

  16. Reply February 21, 04:24 #16 Jeremy Brown

    Tracy and Libbi and Hovie Walker

  17. Reply February 21, 07:17 #17 Keisha Hill

    Tracy Stuffle / Libbi Perry Stuffle

  18. Reply February 21, 07:35 #18 Andrea Williams

    I CHOSE Tracy Stuffle!! Or LIBBI Perry Stuffle!! I have known these 2 special people since the 1980’s! They have been my friends and stuck beside me when no-one else would! I know there are alot of southern Gospel groups that are all over the world but THE ONLY GROUP that I have ever known is The Perrys!! PLEASE consider Voting for Tracy Stuffle and LIBBI Perry Stuffle. They truly live what they sing! Whoever is voting please consider this Special REQUEST!! Thank you so much!

  19. Reply February 21, 07:44 #19 Brittany

    Tracy Stuffle for his timeless bass voice and incredible MC abilities. Most underrated bass singer.

  20. Reply February 21, 08:40 #20 Andrea Williams

    I Chose Tracy Stuffle!!! And LIBBI Perry Stuffle! Tracy and LIBBI are true example of mine! They have been my friends since the 1980’s! Tracy had a light that shines like no other! And LIBBI still shines that light today in my life and many others! If i could ask for anything right now would be for Tracy Stuffle to win this deserving award!! PLEASE consider whoever is voting and judges! This is my first time voting and im.not sure how this works! They are the Only gospel group I know!!! Thank you for giving everyone a chance to vote or request!!!!

  21. Reply February 21, 13:06 #21 David Bruce Murray Author

    In the deceased category, I am considering the following:
    Don Butler
    Conrad Cook
    Marvin P Dalton
    John W. Peterson
    Tracy Stuffle
    Norman Wilson

    Of these, Dalton is currently at the top of my list. When you think of “fame,” you may not think of Dalton’s name immediately, but you probably will acknowledge that two of the most popular Southern Gospel songs ever written are “Oh What A Savior” and “Looking For A City.”

    • Reply February 21, 13:40 Andrea Williams

      TRACY STUFFLE Please. I’m new to this and would love to see this. He was a very special friend of mine. Thanks

  22. Reply February 22, 12:45 #22 Brad

    There are many current artists that are worthy and I feel will be inducted in the next 10 years or so. People like Mark Trammell, Karen Peck, Kelly Nelon Clark, Ivan Parker, Brian Free, Ernie Haase, Gerald Wolfe, Libbi Stuffle, Clayton Inman, etc. It seems to me that the Hall of Fame tends to wait for these active artists to reach a certain age rather than putting them in now even though they are certainly worthy now. The exception would be for those who passed away at a young age (Anthony Burger, Roger Bennett, Tony Greene) and therefore I feel that Tracy Stuffle would be a great choice. Norman Wilson would also be a great choice.

    Regarding the Imperials and GVB discussion, it seems that Gary McSpadden would be a worthy choice as a founding member of both groups. He was also a member of the Oak Ridge Quartet if I am not mistaken, so he has quite a resume over the past 50+ years.

    • Reply February 22, 13:58 David Bruce Murray Author

      I wish the SGMA would just induct four per year with no stipulation that two must be living and two must be deceased. They are getting behind on the living category, which means some very deserving individuals won’t have a chance to be inducted until they pass away.

      • Reply February 23, 23:42 Dean Adkins

        That same logic applies to the deceased as well.

  23. Reply April 10, 13:39 #23 Eldon Wright

    Can someone, anyone, tell me why the man who has influenced SGM more over the last 60 years than ANYONE has been totally ignored? He is one of two living members of the Oak Ridge Boys under the leadership of Smitty Gatlin and neither of them have been inducted. That is not just a shame, it is downright wrong. Without exception, every quartet for the last 60+ years has copied the style and arrangements of
    Tommy Fairchild. He is a TWO time member of the GMA Hall of Fame, as is Ron Page, but the SGMA has totally ignored both of them. Add to that, Tommy has received more awards than ANY musician in SGM history but the SGMA is still silent. WHY?

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