September 13

The Statler Brothers and their Flowers On The Wall

When was the last time you heard “Flowers on the Wall?”

Here is a song made famous by the country music group The Statler Brothers. Written and composed by the group’s original tenor, Lew DeWitt, the song peaked in popularity in January 1966, spending four weeks at No. 2 on the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart, and reaching No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Watch the video below.

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The Beginning

The Statler Brothers or simply The Statlers were an American country music, gospel, and vocal group. The quartet was formed in 1955 performing locally and, in 1964, they began singing backup for Johnny Cash.

Originally, they performed gospel music at local churches, the group billed themselves as The Four Star Quartet, and later The Kingsmen. In 1963, when the song “Louie, Louie” by the garage rock band also called The Kingsmen became famous, therefore, the group decided to change their name to The Statler Brothers. Interestingly, only two members of the group (Don and Harold Reid) are actual brothers and none has the surname of Statler. Another funny thing is that the band named themselves after a brand of facial tissue they had seen in a hotel room (they joked that they could have turned out to be the Kleenex Brothers).

Don Reid sang lead; Harold Reid, Don’s older brother, sang bass; Phil Balsley sang baritone; Lew DeWitt sang tenor and was the guitarist of the Statlers before being replaced by Jimmy Fortune in 1983 due to DeWitt’s ill health.

Its Roots

The band’s style was closely linked to their gospel roots.  Harold Ried said,

“We took gospel harmonies, and put them over in country music.”

The group is known for their gospel roots and they remained true to that, in fact, a majority of their records contains at least one gospel song. They also produced several albums containing only gospel music and recorded a tribute song to the Blackwood Brothers, who influenced their music.

Did you know that The Statler Brothers also wrote a tribute song to Johnny Cash, who discovered them? The song was called “We Got Paid by Cash”, and it reminisces about their time with Cash.

The Song

Going back to the song, well, Flowers On The Wall was used in the soundtrack to the 1994 film Pulp Fiction. Bruce Willis is singing along to the song, which is playing on his car radio, just before he runs over Marsellus Wallace at an intersection. There’s another Bruce Willis connection to the song as well: Willis mentions spending his suspension “Smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo” in Die Hard With A Vengeance.  It was the title theme of the 2001-2002 BBC Radio 4 sitcom Linda Smith’s A Brief History of Timewasting.

The song won the 1966 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary (R&R) Performance – Group (Vocal or Instrumental).

The Statler Brothers even re-recorded the song in 1975 for their first greatest hits album for Mercury Records, The Best of The Statler Brothers. The song is also featured on Nancy Sinatra’s album Boots (1967).

There you have it, folks, I hope you enjoyed the song, artist, and facts about Flowers On The Wall. Lastly, do you know the meaning of the song? I’d like to hear from you so comment now.


Tags

flowers on the wall, statler brothers


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