My 2024 SGMA Hall Of Fame Nominations

by | Mar 11, 2024 | Awards Shows, History

The Southern Gospel Music Association is currently accepting nominees for the Hall Of Fame. Each member of the SGMA is asked to submit two living and two deceased individuals for consideration. I am pleased to be nominating:
1. Christian humorist Grady Nutt,
2. Oak Ridge Boys baritone William Lee Golden,
3. comedian/songwriter and former Gaither Vocal Band baritone Mark Lowry,
4. Gospel Music Association and Sons Of Song founder Don Butler

Grady Nutt (September 2, 1934 – November 23, 1982)

Known as “The Prime Minister Of Humor,” Grady Nutt was the foremost Christian comedian during the 1970s and early 1980s releasing several albums featuring personal stories of his life growing up in church.

Nutt routinely appeared on Southern Gospel events providing comic relief and also serving as emcee of the Singing News Fan Awards at the National Quartet Convention.

Nutt’s fame continued to grow after he join the cast of Hee Haw in 1979 and filmed a pilot for an NBC sitcom in 1981. He released an album with The Kingsmen Quartet in 1982, the same year as his untimely death in a plane crash at the age of 48. After he passed away, the Gospel Music Association created the Grady Nutt Humor Award to recognize the Christian music industry’s top comedians.

William Lee Golden (January 12, 1939 – )

William Lee Golden is America’s most iconic baritone singer both in terms of his physical appearance and his fame from the point he first joined the Oak Ridge Boys in 1965. Golden remained with the Oaks through their rise to national popularity in Country music in the 1980s. He took a break of a decade or so, exploring solo work in the interim, and then returned to the Oaks in 1996. With Golden’s return, the Oaks began recording all-gospel albums again.

Golden’s fame extends beyond the typical boundaries of the Southern Gospel market into the mainstream. As the most recognizable member of the Oak Ridge Boys who took the familiar Southern Gospel all-male quartet sound to the masses, Golden should be the first member of the post-1960s Oak Ridge Boys to take his place in the SGMA Hall Of Fame.

Mark Lowry (June 24, 1958 – )

Mark Lowry’s first album on the Impact label was released in 1970 when he was only 12 years old. Lowry was represented by Skylite Talent Agency at that time alongside other top gospel artists. By 1988, Lowry’s entertaining combination of stand-up comedy and singing had attracted the attention of Bill Gaither who invited him to join the Gaither Vocal Band.

Lowry was instrumental in the success of the Gaither Homecoming Series beginning in 1991, while simultaneously carrying on a solo/comedy career including both audio and video releases for Word Music. He continued to headline his own tours after leaving the GVB in 2001 and after returning to the GVB from 2009-2013. In addition to singing, Lowry wrote the lyrics to the most popular Christmas song of the modern era, “Mary Did You Know”, which has been recorded by dozens of artists spanning various genres. In recent years, Lowry has remained in the public eye through his successful podcast series.

Don Butler (1931 – February 3, 2011)

Don Butler was a co-founder of the Gospel Music Association in 1964 and served that organization for many years. He also served as president of Sumar Talent Agency, vice-president for Stamps-Blackwood School of Music, and chairman of the board of directors for the International Gospel Music Hall Of Fame. Additionally, Butler held executive positions with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the organization which produces the annual Grammy Awards) and the National Music Educators Association.

Butler administered music catalogs for several major publishers, sang with several groups including the Sons Of Song (which he co-founded), and produced several major television productions including Singing Time In Dixie and the GMA Dove Awards.

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David Bruce Murray

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


  1. Daniel H

    Thanks! I was waiting to see your list- I recently became a member through the encouragement of the Southern Gospel Forward page.
    See others picks and previous winners has been a help in my own nomination process.

    • David Bruce Murray

      Thanks. I’ve found the lists of names of those who have been consistently nominated in recent years to be quite helpful as well. I struggle with who to nominate in the deceased category.


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