Brock Speer

Born: Dec. 28, 1920  Double Springs, AL

Died: Mar. 29, 1999

Gospel Vocals Speer Family

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame


As a part of the Singing Speer Family, Brock Speer was literally born into the Southern Gospel Music industry. While still a small boy in the late 1920s, he was called on to represent the family on stage.

Brock's dedication and devotion to his family never wavered and, in time, his smooth, bass voice became a trademark of the legendary group's distinctive sound. Following the death of his parents in the mid-1960s, Brock assumed leadership of the Speers. While carefully maintaining the tradition started by his parents, he guided the Speer Family into uncharted waters, introducing gospel music to literally millions of people across the country.

Brock was also active within the gospel music industry, serving as president of the Gospel Music Association in 1972.

Brock Speer will be forever remembered as that soft-spoken singer who carried on a family legacy, singing Southern Gospel Music the way it should be sung-with class and the highest degree of professionalism.

Source: Brock Speer


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Brock Speer, patriarch of the singing

Speer Family and former president, chairman of the board and
permanent board member of the Gospel Music Association, died
Monday. He was 78.

Speer started singing with his parents and siblings in 1925 and stayed
with them until an interruption caused by World War II.

The Speer Family moved to Nashville in 1946. Over the course of their
career, the family recorded for a number of labels including Bullet,
Columbia, RCA, Benson, HeartWarming and Homeland.

Country singer Chet Atkins used Speer and his brother, Ben, as backing
vocalists on recording sessions during the '50s.

Speer was inducted into the Gospel Music Association's Hall of Fame in
1975. The Speer Family was inducted into the GMA Hall of Fame in
1998, the first year groups were allowed to join, and they are the only
group to receive the GMA's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Source: Brock Speer Page in Fuller Up, The Dead Musicians Directory


NASHVILLE The gospel music community has been saddened by the loss of one of its legends: Brock Speer, 78, of the Speer Family, who died March 29 at Baptist Hospital here.

Speer was born in 1920, one year before his parents, G.T. and Lena Speer, began performing as the Speer Family. The group initially traveled by horse and buggy before moving up to a Model T Ford and later a bus. Speer sang with the family group his entire life, with his service in World War II the only interruption.

The Speer Family‹which over the years encompassed three generations of Speers, as well as several non-family group members‹recorded albums for Columbia, RCA, Benson, RiverSong, HeartWarming, and, most recently, Homeland Entertainment. The group retired last year after more than 75 years on the road. The event was marked by an emotional tribute during last September's annual National Quartet Convention. The Speers were also frequent participants in Bill Gaither's "Homecoming" video series.

John Mays, newly named president of Benson Music Group (see story, this page), recalls Speer as a man who changed his life, when‹as a 19-year-old bass player‹he auditioned for, and won, a slot in the Speers' band.

"I would have gone back to Texas and my life would have been totally different had it not been for Brock Speer," Mays says. "I landed with these godly people. I never missed a paycheck, rode around in a nice bus, and they treated me right. It was like heaven. He was one of the big three or four influences in my life."

MCA Nashville president Tony Brown was another of the many people affected by Speer. "The first album my parents ever bought me was [by] the Speer Family on RCA Victor," says Brown. "It was Mom and Dad Speer, and Brock was singing, too. He had one of the purest bass voices and was the nicest human being I've ever met. Like his father before him, he was forever young. I will really miss him."

I would have gone back to Texas and my life would have been totally different had it not been for Brock Speer," Mays says. "I landed with these godly people. I never missed a paycheck, rode around in a nice bus, and they treated me right. It was like heaven. He was one of the big three or four influences in my life."

MCA Nashville president Tony Brown was another of the many people affected by Speer. "The first album my parents ever bought me was [by] the Speer Family on RCA Victor," says Brown. "It was Mom and Dad Speer, and Brock was singing, too. He had one of the purest bass voices and was the nicest human being I've ever met. Like his father before him, he was forever young. I will really miss him."

Speer was a past president, chairman of the board, and permanent board member of the Gospel Music Assn. (GMA). He was also on the board of the National Quartet Convention. In 1975, his 50th year singing gospel music, he was inducted into the GMA's Hall of Fame, an honor the group received last year, the first year groups were inducted. The Speer Family is also the only group to receive the GMA's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Among the Speer Family's numerous other accolades are the Nashville Entertainment Assn.'s Heritage Award, inclusion in the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, the Southern Gospel Music Guild's Heritage Award, and 14 Dove Awards.

In addition to his love for music, Speer was a strong advocate of education. He received his bachelor's in theology in 1950 from Trevecca Nazarene University here and earned a master of divinity from Vanderbilt University while maintaining his performance and recording schedule. In 1997, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree by Trevecca.

Speer had been battling several health problems in recent months. "My uncle, Brock Speer, was set free from the stroke-induced muscle problems that so slurred his speech that he could no longer do the thing he loved most," says Stephen Speer of his passing.

"[He was] healed of the hip problem that prevented him from running every day; released from the disorientation of Alzheimer's disease that caused him not to recognize even those he loved the best; delivered from a temporal form that had become so frail to an incorruptible eternal existence," Speer says.

Speer is survived by his wife of 50 years, Faye Ihrig Speer; three children, Suzan Speer, Marc Speer, and Brian Speer; his brother Ben; two sisters, Mary Tom Speer Reid and Rosa Nell Speer Powell; seven nieces; and seven nephews.

Filmography:  Brock Speer - IMDb
Southern Gospel Heritage Series: The Speer Family, The Speer FamilySouthern Gospel Heritage Series, The Speer Family

 

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