Larry Gatlin

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Larry Gatlin
Larry Gatlin.JPG
Gatlin in 2009
Background information
Birth nameLarry Wayne Gatlin
Born (1948-05-02) May 2, 1948 (age 71)
Seminole, Texas, U.S.
Genres Country, gospel
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, actor
Years active1973–present
Labels Monument, Columbia, Universal, Capitol, Curb
Associated acts The Imperials, Dottie West, Kris Kristofferson, Janie Fricke, Kenny Rogers
The Gatlin Brothers
Origin Nashville, Tennessee
Genres Country, gospel
Years active1973–present
Labels Monument, Columbia, Universal, Capitol, Curb
  • Larry Gatlin
  • Rudy Gatlin
  • Steve Gatlin

Larry Wayne Gatlin (born May 2, 1948) is an American country and Southern gospel singer and songwriter. As part of a trio with his younger brothers Steve and Rudy, he achieved considerable success within the country music genre, performing on 33 top-40 singles (combining his solo recordings and those with his brothers). As their fame grew, the band became known as Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers.

Country music, also known as country and western, and hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as American folk music and blues.

Southern gospel music is a genre of Christian music. Its name comes from its origins in the Southeastern United States whose lyrics are written to express either personal or a communal faith regarding biblical teachings and Christian life, as well as to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music. Sometimes known as "quartet music" for its traditional "four men and a piano" set up, southern gospel has evolved over the years into a popular form of music across the United States and overseas, especially among baby boomers and those living in the Southern United States. Like other forms of music the creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of southern gospel varies according to culture and social context. It is composed and performed for many purposes, ranging from aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, or as an entertainment product for the marketplace.


Larry Gatlin is known for his rich falsetto singing style and for the unique pop-inflected songs he wrote and recorded in the 1970s and 1980s. Some of Gatlin's biggest hits include "Broken Lady", "All the Gold in California", "Houston (Means I'm One Day Closer to You)", "She Used to Be Somebody's Baby", and "Talkin' to the Moon". During this time, country music trended heavily towards slick pop music arrangements in a style that came to be known as Countrypolitan.[ not verified in body ] Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers came to prominence and enjoyed their greatest success during this period with hit singles that showcased the brothers' three-part harmonies and Larry's poetic lyrics.

"Broken Lady" is a song written and recorded by American country music artist Larry Gatlin. It was released in November 1975 as the first single from the album High Time, The song was Gatlin's second big hit on the Hot Country Songs chart, charting at number 5. The song won him a Grammy award in 1976 for Best Country Song. It has been recorded by Dottie West as well.

"All the Gold in California" is a song written by Larry Gatlin and recorded by American country music group Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers Band. It was released in August 1979 as the first single from the album Straight Ahead. "All the Gold in California" was the first of two number one singles for Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers Band. The single stayed at number one for two weeks and spent a total of ten weeks on the chart.

"Houston " is a song written by Larry Gatlin and recorded by American country music group Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers Band. It was released in September 1983 as the first single from the album Greatest Hits Vol. II then included to first track of Not Guilty (1984). "Houston " was the group's third and last number one on the country chart. The single went to number one for two weeks and spent a total of fifteen weeks on the country chart.


Gatlin was born in Seminole in Gaines County, Texas, next to the New Mexico border. His father was an oilfield worker, and the family lived in several locations while he was a youth, including Abilene and Odessa. He was reared listening to country and Southern gospel music. His brothers, Steve and Rudy, and he have performed together since childhood; when they were younger, they often sang in their local church with their sister, LaDonna, joining them as well. They sometimes performed on local radio stations, and occasionally on television shows. They also recorded a Gospel music album for the Gospel label Sword and Shield. The brothers even managed to beat out the legendary Roy Orbison in a local talent contest.[ citation needed ] In 1964, Gatlin was a quarterback at Odessa High School.

Seminole, Texas City in Texas, United States

Seminole is a city in and the county seat of Gaines County in Texas, United States. The population was 6,430 at the 2010 census.

Gaines County, Texas County in the United States

Gaines County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 17,526. The county seat is Seminole.

New Mexico State of the United States of America

New Mexico is a state in the Southwestern region of the United States of America; its capital and cultural center is Santa Fe, which was founded in 1610 as capital of Nuevo México, while its largest city is Albuquerque with its accompanying metropolitan area. It is one of the Mountain States and shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and Arizona; its other neighboring states are Oklahoma to the northeast, Texas to the east-southeast, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua to the south and Sonora to the southwest. With a population around two million, New Mexico is the 36th state by population. With a total area of 121,592 sq mi (314,920 km2), it is the fifth-largest and sixth-least densely populated of the 50 states. Due to their geographic locations, northern and eastern New Mexico exhibit a colder, alpine climate, while western and southern New Mexico exhibit a warmer, arid climate.

After graduation in 1966, Gatlin was eligible to serve in the military during the Vietnam War; however, he did not, [1] instead choosing to attend the University of Houston. As a wide receiver on the football team, he caught a touchdown pass in a 1968 game in which his team, the Cougars, scored 100 points. [2]

Vietnam War 1955–1975 conflict in Vietnam

The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America or simply the American War, was an undeclared war in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist allies; South Vietnam was supported by the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies. The war is considered a Cold War-era proxy war from some US perspectives. It lasted some 19 years with direct U.S. involvement ending in 1973 following the Paris Peace Accords, and included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, resulting in all three countries becoming communist states in 1975.

University of Houston state research university in Houston, Texas, United States

The University of Houston (UH) is a state research university and the main institution of the University of Houston System. Founded in 1927, UH is the third-largest university in Texas with over 46,000 students. Its campus spans 667 acres in southeast Houston, and was known as University of Houston–University Park from 1983 to 1991. The Carnegie Foundation classifies UH as a doctoral degree-granting institution with "highest research activity." The U.S. News & World Report ranks the university No. 171 in its National University Rankings, and No. 91 among top public universities.

A wide receiver, also referred to as wideouts or simply receivers, is an offensive position in American and Canadian football, and is a key player. They get their name because they are split out "wide", farthest away from the rest of the team. Wide receivers are among the fastest players on the field. The wide receiver functions as the pass-catching specialist.

He later auditioned for and joined the Gospel music group The Imperials. [3] [4] The Imperials went on to perform in Las Vegas, Nevada in January 1971 at Jimmy Dean's Las Vegas Revue . While walking through the showroom, he caught country singer Dottie West's attention, who thought he looked like Mickey Newbury.

The Imperials American Christian music group

The Imperials are an American Christian music group that has been active for over 50 years. Originating as a southern gospel quartet, the innovative group would become pioneers of contemporary Christian music in the 1960s. There have been many changes for the band in membership and musical styles over the years. They would go on to win four Grammys, and be inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Jimmy Dean American singer

Jimmy Ray Dean was an American country music singer, television host, actor, and businessman. He was the creator of the Jimmy Dean sausage brand as well as the spokesman for its TV commercials.

Dottie West American country music singer

Dottie West was an American country music singer and songwriter. Along with her friends and fellow recording artists Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn, she is considered one of the genre's most influential and groundbreaking female artists. Dottie West's career started in the 1960s, with her Top 10 hit, "Here Comes My Baby Back Again", which won her a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 1965, the first female in Country Music to receive a Grammy.

West soon met Gatlin and was impressed with his songwriting skills. She was so impressed, in fact, that she recorded two of Gatlin's compositions, "You're the Other Half of Me" and "Once You Were Mine". West also passed one of Gatlin's demonstration tapes around Nashville, Tennessee, and even arranged for him to relocate there, purchasing a plane ticket for him—a story he related on the 11/12/2009 episode of Larry's Country Diner on RFD-TV. West later recorded other compositions by Gatlin that would later become hits for him, including "Broken Lady", which was put on West's 1978 album, Dottie.

Nashville, Tennessee State capital and consolidated city-county in Tennessee, United States

Nashville is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Tennessee. The city is the county seat of Davidson County and is located on the Cumberland River. The city's population ranks 24th in the U.S. According to 2017 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, the total consolidated city-county population stood at 691,243. The "balance" population, which excludes semi-independent municipalities within Davidson County, was 667,560 in 2017.

RFD-TV is an American pay television channel that is owned by Rural Media Group. The channel features programming devoted to rural issues, concerns and interests. The channel's name is a reference to Rural Free Delivery, the name for the United States Postal Service's system of delivering mail directly to rural patrons. Production and uplinking facilities for RFD-TV are located at Northstar Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, while the channel's corporate & national sales office is based in Omaha, Nebraska. RFD-TV's sister radio station is Sirius XM's Rural Radio. RFD-TV also owns a theater in Branson, Missouri where some variety shows that air on RFD-TV are filmed.

As a solo artist

With West's help, Gatlin found work in Nashville as a background singer for Kris Kristofferson. In 1973, Gatlin landed a solo recording contract with Monument Records.

In December 1973, Gatlin released his first album, The Pilgrim. Two singles were released from the album: "Sweet Becky Walker" and "Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall", though both failed to chart. The latter was recorded by Elvis Presley in 1976 (who had also recorded Gatlin's "Help Me" in 1973). In 1974 came the release of a new album, Rain/Rainbow, and a new song "Delta Dirt". The album and single proved more successful. "Delta Dirt" was a top-20 country hit, peaking at number 14. The song was also Gatlin's only entry on the pop charts, when it reached number 84. In 1975, Gatlin had his first major hit with his composition "Broken Lady", which reached number five on the Hot Country Songs chart in 1976. Gatlin won a Grammy Award for the song in 1977 for Best Country Song. A new album, High Time, was released in 1976. Gatlin is also credited on guitar on Willie Nelson's 1976 album The Troublemaker.[ citation needed ]

Brothers Steve and Rudy made their first appearance on Larry's 1976 album Larry Gatlin with Family & Friends. They were featured on some of Gatlin's other hits during the late 1970s, notably "I Don't Wanna Cry", "Love Is Just a Game", and "Statues Without Hearts". In 1978, Gatlin scored his first number-one hit with "I Just Wish You Were Someone I Love." Gatlin continued his success as a solo artist until 1978, when he released his last solo album, Oh Brother, which featured the top-10 hits "I've Done Enough Dyin' Today" and "Night Time Magic", the latter of which also made an entry into the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. Both songs spotlighted Gatlin's soaring falsetto that became a trademark of his vocal style.

In 1985, Gatlin purchased shares in the Nashville Sounds, a Minor League Baseball team of the Triple-A American Association. [5] [6]

With the Gatlin Brothers

The Gatlin Brothers in the uniforms of the Nashville Sounds in 1985 (from left to right: Larry, Steve, and Rudy) Gatlin Brothers Nashville Sounds 1985.jpg
The Gatlin Brothers in the uniforms of the Nashville Sounds in 1985 (from left to right: Larry, Steve, and Rudy)

In 1979, when Gatlin signed with Columbia Records, he decided to officially have his brothers billed on his singles and on his albums. That year, their name was officially "Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers". In October, they released the album Straight Ahead. It spawned the classic single "All the Gold in California", which became their biggest hit together, reaching number one on the Hot Country Songs list. This was Gatlin's second number-one hit and led to his being awarded "Top Male Vocalist of the Year" by the Academy of Country Music that year. On June 6, 1980, Straight Ahead was certified gold.

The group's next big hit came in early 1980, with "Take Me To Your Lovin' Place", which peaked at number five in 1981; they followed up with "What Are We Doin' Lonesome", which peaked at number four later in the year. They continued their hit success, having top-10 and top-20 hits with "In Like With Each Other" (1982), "She Used to Sing on Sunday" (1982), "Sure Feels Like Love" (1982), "Almost Called Her Baby By Mistake" (1983), and "Denver" (1984). In 1983, the group had their third (and last) number-one hit, "Houston (Means I'm One Day Closer to You)". On January 19, 1985, the Gatlin Brothers sang "All the Gold in California" at the nationally televised 50th Inaugural Gala, the day before the second inauguration of Ronald Reagan. Though the group never achieved another number-one hit, they had hits that came close, like the jaunty release in 1986, "She Used to Be Somebody's Baby" (which peaked at number two), and 1987's "Talkin' to the Moon", and 1988's "Love of a Lifetime" (both of which peaked at number four).

The Gatlin Brothers were also one of the first country groups to have music videos, such as 1984's "The Lady Takes the Cowboy Everytime". In 1985, Gatlin wrote the song "Indian Summer" with Barry Gibb, which he recorded as a duet with Roy Orbison. In 1989, the Gatlin Brothers sang National Anthem before game three of the 1989 World Series, played at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. (Incidentally, the Loma Prieta earthquake hit just after their National Anthem playing, and the game was played 10 days later at the same site.)[ citation needed ] They had also sung the National Anthem at game five of the 1985 World Series at Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, and would do so again at game six of the 2005 NBA Finals at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.[ citation needed ]

Later work

Gatlin's chart success declined greatly when a new breed of "Neotraditional country" singers entered Nashville around 1986. New stars such as Dwight Yoakam and Randy Travis pushed Gatlin and other Countrypolitan vocalists out of the top 10. He had a duet recording in 1987 with another country-pop styled singer, Janie Fricke. [7] However, their duet only reached number 21. He briefly signed with Universal Records in 1989, where he recorded his last singles. His last charted single came in 1989, called "Number One Heartache Place". Gatlin underwent surgery on his vocal cords in 1991 after the years of wear and tear on his voice. In concert, he had begun to struggle with the high falsetto notes that were featured prominently in many of his songs. After recovery, Gatlin worked briefly with an opera coach to rebuild his voice and his vocals took on a powerful operatic style.

Gatlin (left) playing cards with Seabees in Croatia after a performance in 1995 Larry Gatlin playing cards in Croatia.JPEG
Gatlin (left) playing cards with Seabees in Croatia after a performance in 1995

After more than a decade of singing together, in December 1992, the Gatlin Brothers embarked on a farewell tour before retiring to their own theater in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Gatlin went on to star in the Broadway production of The Will Rogers Follies. In 1994, Gatlin and his brothers opened a 2,000-seat theater in Myrtle Beach. In 1995, he played himself in the TV movie about Dottie West's life, Big Dreams & Broken Hearts: The Dottie West Story. West had died four years before in a major car accident.

Gatlin co-wrote with celebrity biographer Jeff Lenburg a memoir called All the Gold in California that was published in 1998. In 1999, Gatlin toured and entertained troops of the 1st CAV division in Bosnia.

Since 2010, Gatlin has contributed to Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network as a political and social commentator. In 2010, Gatlin acted as substitute host for Don Imus on Imus in the Morning [8] and Fox Across America with Spencer Hughes on March 16, 2011. He also hosts radio shows for WSM, including a weekly gospel program and the Grand Ole Opry spin-off Opry Country Classics.


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  1. Jack Shifflett (2014-09-04). "President Gatlin Declares World War III" . Retrieved 2014-09-07.
  2. "1968: About That Houston 100-Points Game". The Pecan Park Eagle. 2013-09-15. Retrieved 2014-09-07.
  3. Southern Gospel History: the Imperials
  5. Woody, Larry (1996), Schmittou: A Grand Slam in Baseball, Business, And Life, Nashville: Eggmann Publishing Company, pp. 64–65, ISBN   1886371334
  6. "Sounds Owners". The Nashville Sounds 1985 Official Souvenir Program. Nashville Sounds. 1985. p. 6.
  7. The Billboard Book Of Top Country Hits—Joel Whitburn ISBN   0-8230-8291-1 Copyright 2006
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