The Imperials could be looked at as two artists. You have the Jake Hess years and the post Jake Hess years. Jake Hess was already famous as a result of the years he spent with the Statesmen prior to forming the Imperials in 1964.
Jake put together a slate of some of the best quartet men in the business to form that original group. They included Shaun Neilsen (tenor), Gary McSpadden (baritone), Armond Morales (bass) and Henry Slaughter (piano).
- The post Jake Hess years is probably best defined with the vocal line-up of Jim Murray (tenor), Russ Taff (lead), David Will (baritone) and Armond Morales (bass). It was the group’s more inspirational/CCM leaning style during this time period that had great influence on artists that came after.
- That influence can/could be seen in the music of: Ball Brothers, Booth Brothers, Gaither Vocal Band (of the 1980’s), Lanny Wolfe Trio, Newsong and Vocal Edition.
- Hit Songs: “A Brighter Day”, “A Thing Called Love”, “Bread Upon The Water”, “Eagle Song”, “Faith Unlocks The Door”, “First Day In Heaven”, “Give Them All To Jesus”, “Jesus I Believe What You Said”, “Love Is The Thing”, “My Child Welcome Home”, “No Shortage”, “Oh Buddha”, “Praise The Lord”, “Sail On”, “Spread A Little Love Around”, “Sweet Sweet Spirit”, “That’s Enough”, “Water Grave” and “We’ve Got A Great Big Wonderful God”.
- Best Album: Gospel’s Alive And Well (1969)
Here is a YouTube clip, published by akdal83, of the Imperials performing “A Thing Called Love”. Enjoy!