Country and gospel music legends Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers will headline a sold out community concert Saturday at 7:30 p.m., to highlight the grand opening of Hempstead Hall on the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope campus.
Country and gospel music legends Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers will headline a sold out community concert Saturday at 7:30 p.m., to highlight the grand opening of Hempstead Hall on the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope campus. All 1,600 tickets for the free concert were called for by 2 p.m. Thursday. The group has been performing for 57 and a half years, Rudy Gatlin, the youngest of the three brothers, said in a telephone interview Thursday. “We began singing in March of 1955,” Gatlin said. “We performed at the 'Cavalcade of Stars,' which was held at Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. We won the competition and have been singing ever since. I was two and a-half, Steve was four, and Larry was six when we performed at HSU.” The trio was born in Olney, Texas, moved to Abilene, and later moved to Odessa. The family all had musical talent. “Mom played the piano and Dad played the guitar when we were growing up,” Gatlin said. “Grandpa played music, too, and we sang at church. “We're looking forward to coming to Hope,” he said. “We have seen signs for Hope on I-30, but never had the chance to stop. We'll do some of our hits and some of our misses, so that the audience will appreciate the hits.” The brothers have one sister, LaDonna Gatlin Johnson, who is a gospel singer. Over the course of a four-decade career, the Gatlin Brothers have performed at venues from rural Texas to White House performances, from Broadway to the Grammy Awards, and have topped the country music charts. Larry Gatlin began in 1972 with a solo record contract with Monument Records through his friend and now entertainment great, Kris Kristofferson. Larry invited his siblings to Nashville to sing backup on his first two albums, 1974's The Pilgrim and 1975's Rain Rainbow. Release of The Pilgrim brought Gatlin his first hit with "Sweet Becky Walker,” and he went to No. 1 on the charts the next year with "Broken Lady," a song that captured him a Grammy in 1976. The same year, all three brothers were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. In 1977, High Time, credited to "Larry Gatlin with Brothers and Friends," featured the No. 1 hit "I Just Wish You Were Someone I Love." The success of this album encouraged the brothers to become an official trio; and in 1979, they signed a group deal with Columbia Records. Over the next decade, the Gatlin Brothers produced more than a dozen Top 40 hits, including "Denver," "Houston (Means That I'm One Day Closer To You)," “Midnight Choir (Mogen David)," and "She Used To Be Somebody's Baby," "I Don't Want To Cry," "Statues Without Hearts," "What Are We Doing Lonesome," “I've Done Enough Dyin' Today," "Take Me To Your Lovin' Place," "Night Time Magic," "Love Is Just A Game," "The Lady Takes The Cowboy Every Time," and “Talkin' To The Moon." And, in 1979, Larry Gatlin won Academy of Country Music's "Top Male Vocalist;" “Straight Ahead” won "Album of the Year;" and "All The Gold In California" won "Single of the Year."