Country vocal quartet the Statler Brothers will retire from touring at the end of this year. The group plans to end its concert schedule as of Nov. 1, according to a statement released last week. The
Country vocal quartet the Statler Brothers will retire from touring at the end of this year. The group plans to end its concert schedule as of Nov. 1, according to a statement released last week. The final show will likely be a scheduled Oct. 27 show at the Civic Auditorium in Roanoke, Va., a representative for the group tells Billboard.com.
"We're all four looking forward to kicking back and sleeping late," lead vocalist Don Reid said in the statement. "It's been a wonderful life on the road, but we're thankful we can take it easy now and enjoy the things we've worked for all these years."
Established in 1961 as the Kingsmen, the Stanton, Va.-based group -- Don and Harold Reid (bass), Phil Balsley (baritone), and Lew DeWitt (tenor)-- became the Statler Brothers in 1964. The only lineup change came in 1981, when the illness plagued-DeWitt left and was replaced by Jimmy Fortune. DeWitt, who wrote the group's first hit, "Flowers on the Wall," died of Crohn's disease in 1990.
"Flowers on the Wall," which reached No. 2 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart and No. 4 on The Billboard Hot 100 in 1966, was a breakout single in 2000 for Mercury artist Eric Heatherly, who took the song to No. 6 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. Music publisher BMI, which honored the song with country awards in 1966 and 1967, recently recognized the track again for its more than 2 million accumulated performances.
Four Statler Brothers songs have topped Billboard's country chart -- "Do You Know You Are My Sunshine" (1978), "Elizabeth" (1984), "My Only Love" (1985), and "Too Much on My Heart" (1985).
The group's harmonies, penchant for nostalgia, and comic stage demeanor won fans over in the 1970s and '80s, and scored it a highly rated TNN variety show in the '90s. The Statler Brothers, who recorded for Mercury Records for more than three decades, have earned three Grammy Awards, nine Country Music Association vocal group of the year honors, and three American Music Awards for country group of the year, and have performed at the White House five times.
The Recording Industry Association has certified 13 Statler Brothers albums gold (500,000 U.S. copies sold) and three platinum (1 million copies), while the 1977 set "The Best of the Statler Brothers, Vol. 1" has been certified double- and triple-platinum.
Of the 36 albums the group has posted on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart, the highest charting was "Pardners in Rhyme," which topped the chart in 1985. No less than 14 albums reached the top-10 of the country tally, including 1981's "Years Ago," which hit No. 9 and was the Statlers' highest charting album on The Billboard 200, with a peak of No. 103.
Last year the group released the album "Showtime" via Crossroads Records. A gospel album will be released later this year. There is no word as to whether or not the group will continue to record.
For an up-to-date schedule of upcoming Statler Brothers appearances, visit the group's official Web site.