When news of Harold Reid’s death at 80 headlined news portals, there has been a warm outpour of love and fondness. With his memorable and resonant bass and his unprecedented comic timing, Harold Reid, The Statler Brothers’ de-facto leader, has built a successful life, making people smile and laugh. And so, in his death, people celebrated his well-lived and loved life.
Legacy After Death
Last April 24, 2020, after a long battle with his kidney disease, Harold Reid died at the age of 80 at his home in Staunton, Va.
Reid was the founding member of The Statler Brothers. The group, who was known for their contemporary country and folk style with traditional gospel harmonies, helped usher in the Southern gospel music into mainstream culture. And not just that, they also paved the way for the arrival of country vocal groups just like them.
And in their 38-year-long career, they proved to be one of the best country vocal groups in history, top-grossing in tours and placing on top of the charts. In fact, they have 58 singles in the country top 40 from 1965 to 1989, with 32 in the top 10. And out of the 32 Statler Brothers songs in the top 10, four reached number one. They also earned three Grammys and nine Country Music Association Awards. And years after they retired, the Statler Brothers were inducted into the Gospel Hall of Fame and Country Music Hall of Fame.
But the one thing Reid is most remembered by – aside from the musical prowess – is his humor that shone on stage and even at a normal, casual dinner table. His nephew, Langdon Reid, noted how his uncles possessed the ‘unique, double-comedic gift of being able to perform a rehearsed comedy skit perfectly, with all the right timing and punches, and then could improvise a line that would bring you to your knees laughing.’ He was definitely loved by people because of his ability to make them smile and laugh.
Harold Reid is survived by his brother and fellow Statler Brothers member Don and sister Faye Hemp; his wife Brenda Lee (Armstrong) Reid and their children – Wil, Kim Weller, Karmen Harvill, Kodi Frye, and Kasey Reid; his nephew Langdon; and 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Harold Reid’s death was a great loss to country music, but the legacy he left behind will be remembered forever.
Harold Reid, The Statler Brothers