Statler Brothers Singer Harold Reid Dead at 80
Harold Reid, who shot to fame as a singer in the Statler Brothers, has died. According to a statement on the band's official website, Reid died on Friday (April 24) after "a long battle with kidney failure." He was 80 years old.
ABC News reports that Reid died in his hometown of Staunton, Virginia, according to his nephew, Debo Reid.
According to ABC, Reid got his start with three childhood friends — Lew DeWitt, Phil Balsley and Joe McDorman — when they began singing together as the the Four-Star Quartet in 1948, and later changed their name to the Kingsmen. Don Reid, Harold’s younger brother, replaced McDorman when he quit the group, which sang mostly gospel music.
The group changed its name to the Statler Brothers because there were several other, better-known bands called the Kingsmen at the time, taking the new name from a box of Statler tissues. They made the move to country music after meeting Johnny Cash and becoming part of his live show as backing vocalists in 1964, ABC states.
Reid served as the bass vocalist in the award-winning quartet, which went on to a string of hits that included "Flowers on the Wall," "Bed of Rose's," "How to Be a Country Star" and more. The group became one of the most-awarded acts in country music history, winning ACM, CMA and Grammy Awards, and were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2007. They were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
The Statler Brothers retired from performing in 2002. Reid was also known for his comedy.
"He is and will always be loved by his family, friends and millions of fans," the Statler Brothers' website states. "His singing, his songwriting and his comedy made generations happy. He has taken a piece of our hearts with him."
“He leaves a large and loving family and millions of fans who remember his stage and TV antics with smiles and cherish his music that will live with the ages,” Debo Reid says in a statement to ABC.
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