JAMES BLACKWOOD, Sr.
James Blackwood was born in Choctaw Country, Mississippi and in 1934 together with his brothers Roy, Doyle and nephew R.W., formed a singing group that went on to become world famous. Their first radio programs were broadcast on radio station WJDX in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1939 they moved to Shreveport, Louisiana and broadcast on KWKH. In 1940 the quartet moved to Shenandoah, Iowa and were heard on radio station KMA for most of the 1940s. During World War II the Quartet was based in San Diego, California (1944-45) and then returned to KMA in September of 1945. 1950 found the quartet moving to Memphis, Tennessee and radio station WMPS.
In 1951 the quartet signed a recording contract with RCA Victor Records. Soon they began traveling to their concert appearances by private plane with R.W. Blackwood and bass singer Bill Lyles as pilot and co-pilot.
On June 12, 1954 the Blackwood Brothers won first place on the CBS radio and TV program "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts Show. On June 30, 1954 in Clanton, Alabama the quartet was preparing for concert at the airport for the Chilton County Peach Festival. During a few practice touch-and-go landings the plane crashed and R.W. , Bill Lyles and family friend Johnny Ogburn died in the crash.
The quartet re-organized following the plane crash with R.W.'s younger brother, Cecil Blackwood, baritone, and J.D. Sumner, bass.
In 1956 the re-organized group appeared on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scout Show and won a second time.
In the mid 1950's the quartet started traveling in a customized bus, another 'first' for the group.
In October 1956 the Blackwood Brothers promoted the first ever National Quartet Convention.
In 1964 the Blackwood Brothers chartered the Gospel Music Association.
After singing with The Blackwood Brothers Quartet for 47 years, James together with four other veteran gospel singers, Hovie Lister, Jake Hess, J.D. Sumner and Rosie Rozell, formed the Masters V Quartet. In 1990 he formed the James Blackwood Quartet.
During his long career, James was probably honored with more awards that any other gospel singer. He is the only person in any field of music to have been nominated for a Grammy award for 28 consecutive years, 31 total nominations and won 9 Grammy awards.
His peers in the Gospel Music Association voted him the top male vocalist for seven consecutive years. He was the third living person to be voted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. He has was inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
In 1983 the Golden State University bestowed an honorary Doctoral Degree of Music on him. In 1986 Memphis State University voted him their Distinguished Achievement Award in the field of communications and fine arts. In 1997 the Memphis and Shelby County Optimists Clubs named his Citizen of the Year, presenting him with plaques and citations from 16 government and civic groups.
In 1994 the Singing News Magazine presented James with the Marvin Norcross Award. In 1997 the Gospel Voice Magazine gave him the Living Legend Award. These are among the highest awards in gospel music.
In 2001 he was presented with the General Superintendent's Medal of Honor from the Assemblies of God. The highest recognition from that organization.
He appeared on all of the major television networks, Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts (CBS), Dave Garroway (NBC), Johnny Cash Show (ABC), Tennessee Ernie Ford Show (ABC), Tom Snyder Show (NBC), Dinah Shore Show (NBC), Hee Haw (CBS), Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters (NBC), Statler Brothers Show (TNN), and on the 700 Club, PTL and TBN.
He sang in all 50 of the United States, all of the Canadian provinces, and 35 foreign countries.
His desire was to be used of God and one day hear the Lord say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant". He fulfilled that desire and has no doubt heard the Lord say those very words.