Howard Goodman

Gospel Vocals, Piano Happy Goodman Family

Born: Nov. 7, 1921  Somerset, AL

Died: Nov. 30, 2002

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Howard Goodman


Born in the poverty-stricken coal mining hills of north Alabama, Howard Goodman refused to let such a humble beginning hinder his passion for gospel music. After working as an evangelist during the 1930's and into the 1940's, Goodman formed his family singing group, putting together versions of the Goodmans featuring various combinations of his brothers and sisters, Sam, Charles (Rusty), Bobby, Ruth, Eloise, Stella and Gussie Mae.

Howard married Vestal Freeman, an aspiring Opera singer and sister of noted gospel tenor vocalist Cat Freeman, in 1949. Eventually, the Goodman Family became known as the Happy Goodman Family. A new cast, consisting of Howard, Vestal, Sam and Rusty, along with various other family members providing instrumentation, captured the eyes and hearts of Southern Gospel Music fans in the l960's, '70's and into the '80's with a hard driving, high energy sound.

The Happy Goodmans recorded numerous hit songs and received three Gospel Music Association Dove Awards and two Grammy Awards.

Possessing one of Southern Gospel's most soulful lead voices and distinctive piano-playing styles that featured him throwing his hands up and down on the ivories as his large frame crouched over a keyboard, Howard Goodman provided a foundation for the famous Happy Goodmans sound.


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Birth: Nov. 7, 1921, USA

Death: Nov. 30, 2002 Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, USA

Gospel Singer. He began performing in 1938 with his sisters. He was married for 53 years to the former Vestal Freeman who he met at a gospel singing convention, they began singing and traveling together for the rest of his life. Together with his brothers Sam and Rusty, the "Happy Goodman Family" became a household name and were regulars on the Sunday Morning broadcast of the Gospel Singing Jubilee. Known for his unique "bouncing off the ivories" of the piano, he also wrote the classic Goodman's songs "Give Up" and "I Don't Regret a Mile". (bio by: Greg Yates)





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