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The Jordanaires' Member Gordon Stoker Dies at 88

March 28, 2013, 6:57 am GMT

The member of Elvis Presley's backing vocal group passed away at the age of 88 because of long illness.



Gordon Stoker, a member of vocal group The Jordanaires, passed away at the age of 88 on Wednesday, March 27, in his home in Brentwood. His son Alan said that Gordon passed away after a long illness.

Gordon was in The Jordanaires alongside Neal Matthews Jr., Hoyt Hawkins and Culley Holt. Their vocals are featured in songs that belong to Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, Loretta Lynn, Rick Nelson and many others. Gordon, who joined the group in 1949 as a pianist, later took part as a tenor singer for the group.

An aspiring young singer, Elvis admired the group's vocal when he saw them performing in Memphis. "If I ever get a contract with a major company, I want you guys to back me up," Elvis pledged at that time. In June 1956, Elvis, who was signed with RCA, recorded many of his songs with The Jordanaires as the backing vocalists. The Jordanaires were also featured in soundtrack of his movies in 1960s. The group worked with Elvis until 1970.

The group's voice can be heard in many songs, such as Presley's "Don't Be Cruel" and "Are You Lonesome Tonight," Ferlin Husky's "Gone", Reeves' "Four Walls", Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man", Kenny Rogers' "Lucille", and George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today".

"They were on Grammy-winning recordings in six decades. That started in 1959 with (Johnny Horton's) 'The Battle of New Orleans' and continued through 2007 with an album by Ray Price and Willie Nelson," said Gordon's son, Alan, who is a curator at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

"The group is over. It was a wonderful run. My father lived a great life, and left us a great legacy," said Alan. Gordon Stoker is survived by his wife Jean, sons Alan and Brent, daughter Venita and daughter-in-law Jeanne, five grandchildren and one great grandchild.

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