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|The Speer Family|
The Speer Family c.1966
|Also known as||The Speers|
|Genres||Christian, Southern Gospel|
|Labels||Heart Warming, RCA Victor|
The Speer Family, (also The Speers) a Southern Gospel family group, was founded in 1921 by George Thomas ("Dad") Speer (1891–1966), his wife Lena Speer ("Mom") (1899–1967), and his sister and brother-in-law Pearl Claborn (1902–1979) and Logan Claborn.
Within two years, the group had become so successful that George Thomas Speer decided to make the group full-time. In the late 1920s, the group established a working relationship with the James David Vaughan Music Company, selling songbooks.
However, the group's success proved to be insufficient to support two families' budgets. In 1925, Logan and Pearl Claborn left the group; Logan returned to his job as a carpenter.
The Siblings Join
To fill the void, "Dad" Speer enlisted 5-year-old Brock Speer and 3-year-old Rosa Nell Speer to sing with him and his wife. The group's concerts featured several duet songs by "Dad" and "Mom" Speer, and several songs with Brock singing alto and Rosa Nell singing lead.
In 1934, "Dad" Speer accepted a full-time job with the Vaughan Music Company. This position afforded greater financial security for the family. Also in the 1930s, two more siblings, Mary Tom Speer (born 1925) and Ben Speer (born 1930), joined the group.
In 1941, James Vaughan died, and the Speer family left his company. They joined the Stamps-Baxter company, a Vaughan competitor, and also became a regular performer on the WSFA radio station.
"Dad" Speer died in 1966 and "Mom" in 1967. The group, led by brothers Brock and Ben, underwent various configurations over the next several decades. Ben retired from the group in 1993 although he did appear on occasion with the group until Brock officially retired the Speer Family at the 1998 National Quartet Convention. Ben Speer continues to be involved in Southern Gospel music as the Music Director of the Gaither Homecoming Series, and as owner of Ben Speer's Stamps-Baxter School of Music, a Southern Gospel singing school.
Brock died March 29, 1999.
Ben, Mary Tom, and Rosa Nell continued to make appearances in Gaither Homecoming videos.
The Speer Family was the first group to receive the Gospel Music Association's Lifetime Achievement Award. Other recognition for the Speers included inclusion in the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, receiving the Southern Gospel Music Guild's Heritage Award, and receiving 14 Dove Awards. The group's recording of "I'm Standing on the Solid Rock" has the distinction of having the longest tenure as the top song on the Singing News chart of popular Southern Gospel recordings.
Mary Tom Speer Reid died September 16, 2014 at the age of 89; Ben passed away on April 7, 2017 at age 86. A month later, Rosa Nell Speer Powell, who was the last survivor of the original Speer Family, died on May 16, 2017 at the age of 94.
- 19–: Especially Warm (Heart Warming)
- 19–: Happy Harmonies (Vista)
- 19–: The Speer Family Sings Songs You Requested (Skylite)
- 1955: The Speer Family Album (RCA Victor)
- 1958: "Dad" Speer's Golden Anniversary In Gospel Music (Sing LP 701)
- 1959: Because Of Him (Skylite)
- 1960: The Singing Speers (Skylite)
- 1961: All-Night Singing: Speer Family Style (Starday)
- 1961: Family Favorites (Skylite)
- 1963: The Speer Family Sacred Hour (RCA Camden)
- 1964: Garden Of Melody (Skylite)
- 1964: Old-Time Family Religion (Speer Family, Johnson Family, Carter Family) (RCA Camden)
- 1965: A Singing Heritage (Heart Warming)
- 1965: On Concert Tour! (HeartWarming)
- 1965: The Happy Jubilee (Heart Warming)
- 1965: Won't We Be Happy (Skylite)
- 1966: Rejoicing With Mom (Heart Warming)
- 1966: The Gospel In Song (RCA Victor)
- 1967: "Dad" Speer's Greatest Hits (Skylite)
- 1967: Hymns Of Joy And Peace (Heart Warming)
- 1968: Big Singing Day (Heart Warming)
- 1969: Heavy On Ben (Heart Warming)
- 1970: The Old Rugged Cross Made The Difference (Heart Warming)
- 1971: The King Is Coming (Heart Warming)
- 1972: A Family Affair (Heart Warming)
- 1972: The Speers In Concert (Heart arming)
- 1973: Friendship with Jesus (Vista)
- 1973: Happy Harmonies (Vista)
- 1973: He Touched Me (Vista)
- 1973: Touring That City (Heart Warming)
- 1974: A Tribute - The Songs Of Bill and Gloria Gaither (Heart Warming)
- 1974: God Gave The Song (Heart Warming)
- 1975: Doug Oldham and the Speers (Heart Warming)
- 1975: Especially Warm (Heart Warming)
- 1975: Something Good Is About To Happen (Heart Warming)
- 1975: The Best of the Best (A/The Speers, B/The Imperials) (Heart Warming)
- 1975: The King Is Coming" (HeartWarming)
- 1976: Between The Cross and Heaven (Heart Warming)
- 1977: Cornerstone (Heart Warming)
- 1978: Promises to Keep (Heart Warming)
- 1978: The Songs Live on (Heart Warming)
- 1980: Interceding (HeartWarming)
- 1981: 60th Anniversary Celebration (Heart Warming)
- 1981: Celebrating 60th Anniversary Featuring Mom & Dad (Skylite)
- 1982: Hallelujah (Heart Warming)
- 1982: Tribute (Heart Warming)
- 1983: Keep a Happy Heart (Skylite)
- 1983: The Speers Live (Featuring The Speer Sisters) (Heart Warming)
- 1984: Sunday Morning Singing (RiverSong)
- 1985: Family Reunion (RiverSong)
- 1985: Rejoicing (Riversong)
- 1985: The Speer Family (GreatComm)
- 1986: Stepping Out in Faith (RiverSong)
- 1987: Celebration At Sea (Live) (Riversong)
- 1988: Saved To The Uttermost (Homeland)
- 1989: He's Still In The Fire (Homeland)
- 1990: Best of the Best...Songs You Keep Asking For (Homeland)
- 1990: Hallelujah Time (Homeland)
- 1991: The Speers 70th Anniversary Celebration (Homeland)
- 1992: He Still Reigns (Homeland)
- Ben Speer's Stamps-Baxter School of Music
- Liverett, David. (2005). This Is My Story: 145 of the World's Greatest Gospel Singers. Thomas Nelson, Inc. ISBN 1-4185-0607-9, P. 255
- Price, Deborah Evans. Billboard. (April 10, 1999). "Gospel's Brock Speer Dies". P. 8.
- http://www.grandolegospelreunion.com/sg-101/speer_best.htm GOGR Music History - Speer Family
- http://www.grandolegospelreunion.com/sg-101/speer_contunue.htm part 2