Larry Gatlin: A Life Spent in Serving God Through Music

By
May 2, 2018

                  Larry Gatlin / (Photo credits: Rick Diamond / Getty Images)

Larry Gatlin became widely known particularly in the ‘80s because of his hits that appealed a lot to his fans. That doesn’t mean though that his music career was not that significant before and after this period. In fact, his musical journey has wonderful beginnings that have stood the test of time. Until now, Larry continues to inspire his fans all over the world who serve the Lord through his music. And since it’s his birthday today, we pay tribute to his successes and to his continuing service to the Lord employing his musical wit.

Early Life and Career

Exactly 70 years ago today, Gatlin was born in Seminole, Texas. He was the eldest son of an oil field worker. His two younger siblings, Steve and Rudy, make up The Gatlin Brothers. At a young age, the trio started singing together during family and church gatherings. While studying at the University of Houston, Gatlin joined the gospel singing group called The Imperials. His tenure with the group led him to meet country music artist Dottie West who became instrumental in his Nashville entry. Instantly, he became a backup singer for Kris Kristofferson. In 1973, his career as a solo artist with Monument began.

His Stint in Country Music

Not long after he signed a contract with Monument, Gatlin released his debut album The Pilgrim. The record produced his first single, “Sweet Becky Walker,” that charted on the country chart entering the Top 40. Following this success in 1974 was his first Top 20 hit, “Delta Dirt,” which was released from his second album Rain Rainbow. In 1976, his third album, “Larry Gatlin with Family & Friends,” dropped off. From this record, which involved Gatlin brothers’ presence produced, came his first Top 5 hit, “Broken Lady.” The song also earned him a Grammy Award for Best Country Song. Not only that, the Academy of Country Music Awards granted him the Top Male Vocalist of the Year in 1979. Before he left Monument in 1979, Gatlin's scores brought three more songs on the chart’s Top 5. Now with Columbia Records, the singer started gaining fame with The Gatlin Brothers Band. The group began recording songs that audience came to love. These include their most notable singles namely, All the Gold in Californiaand Houston (Means I’m One Day Closer to You).”

Being a multi-faceted entertainer, Gatlin also did a hosting job. In 2009, he started appearing regularly as a host to the Opry’s Thursday show, Opry Country Classics. The program features classic country songs that are well-known to the fans.

Return to Gospel Music

While Gatlin enjoyed considerable success with The Gatlin Brothers in the country music industry, the singer has never forgotten his country gospel music roots. After all, that’s where he started and raised on. In 1998, he released In My Life, his solo gospel album. The following years, he and his band continued performing on shows and recording gospel music albums. In 2004, their record Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers Sing Their Family Gospel Favorites appeared on Dualtone Records. Five years later, the group released the inspired and ambitious album The Pilgrimage.

In January this year, Gospel Gold came out. The record is a collection of spiritual recordings by Gatlin and the Gatlin Family.

Let's celebrate this special day in the life of Larry by listening once again to one of his country gospel songs in the '70s. Here is "Help Me."

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