AboutThe multi-award-winning (including 4 Grammys) group, and Gospel Music Association's Hall of Fame inductee, was formed in 1964. Jake Hess of the Statesmen Quartet decided to hand-pick the best singers he could find to put together what he would call a "supergroup" that would be known as The Imperials: Hess (lead), Armond Morales (bass from the Weatherford Quartet), former Oak Ridge Boys baritone Gary McSpadden, the Speer Family's Sherrill Nielsen (tenor), and Henry Slaughter (the Weatherford Quartet) at piano. Until Hess was forced to retire because of health reasons, the group was usually called Jake Hess and The Imperials. Between 1969 and 1971, they were the backup group for Elvis Presley. They also sang with Jimmy Dean around that time as well.
Over the years, there have been many changes of members (and styles). They hit their peak of popularity in the late '70s and early '80s with Morales, Jim Murray (tenor), David Will (baritone), and Russ Taff.