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Gospel Music: Happy Goodman Family

Updated on April 17, 2017

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Amazing Gospel Music Group

Gospel music fans will remember “Happy Goodman Family”, a popular Southern Gospel Group that came into being in the 1940s. This famous group was founded by Howard “Happy” Goodman, who according to Bill Gaiter revolutionized the gospel music world.

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This gospel music group was very popular in the 1960s. It entertained the audience worldwide with its soulful music for many decades. The songs created by the group, like “Who am I?” are now considered as classics. The group won the Grammy in the year 1968. It was the first Grammy to be awarded to any gospel music group.

The “Happy Goodman Family” started to become popular in the 1950s. During the initial days of the group’s existence the membership comprised Howard and combinations of his eight brothers and sisters.

Howard’s wife and the famous gospel music singer Vestal also joined the group. His brothers Boddy, Sam and Rusty were regular members of the group. Howard and Vestal became evangelists.


The group performed at the National Quartet Convention. This was a breakthrough for the group as they were booked to perform all over the nation. They became one of the flagship groups for a Southern Gospel program named “The Gospel Singing Jubilee” in the year 1964. The program ran for over two decades.

The group’s TV program “Happy Goodman Family Hour” was very well received. They soon became the nation’s favorite singing family, thanks to the weekly television exposure. They also made another TV program “Down Home with The Happy Goodman Family”; however, it was short-lived.

“I’m Too Near Home” was the group’s first full-length recording. It was first released in 1963 and again in 1965 on Canaan/Word Records. They won a Grammy in the year 1968 for the album “The Happy Gospel of the Happy Goodmans” (1967). The group won another Grammy in the year 1978 for the for the album “Refreshing.”


The group was innovative. During the 1960s and the 1970s, they implemented a live band and created their own unique sound. Sam became famous for his humorous emcee work. Fans just loved each and every member of the group for their unique ability.

Around the year 1980, Howard and Vestal left the group. The Happy Goodmans did not sing together between 1984 and 1990. But when Rusty was diagnosed with cancer, there was a sort of reunion. The group members came together and recorded the album “The Reunion”.

The group may not be performing today. But its gospel music continues to nourish the souls of millions of people all over the world.

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Whether looking at pop music, hip-hop or R&B, it's rare to find an artist who hasn't been touched or affected by the power and soul of gospel music. In fact, many of today's popular artists such as Whitney Houston, John Legend, and Katy Perry started their careers in the church choir.

— Marvin Sapp


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    • srirad0675 profile image

      Srikanth R 3 years ago

      I too love any good music, that is pleasant.

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