In the mid-1950s, they also began lending their vocal talents to other artists as background singers in recording sessions. They are widely known for having provided background vocals for
Elvis Presley, in live appearances, recordings, and feature films from 1956 to 1972. The group worked in the recording studio, on stage, and on television with many
rock and roll artists.
They also provided background vocals using the name the Merry Melody Singers and the Almanac Singers, sometimes using different personnel.
In 1948, Monty and Bill Matthews left. Hawkins switched to baritone, and new lead
Neal Matthews was recruited. Don Bruce came in as a new first tenor, but he was drafted the next year. The group narrowed to a quartet, with Gordon Stoker taking over as first tenor. They became members of the
Grand Ole Opry in 1949. They recorded for
Capitol Records in the early 1950s, and began providing vocal accompaniment behind solo singers in Nashville, Tennessee.
The quartet became well known in the Southern gospel genre, and what made them stand out from other quartets of that time was how they would bring
spirituals (such as "Dry Bones") to a predominantly white audience. While continuing to turn out gospel albums of their own, the group became better known for the signature background harmonies they have provided on dozens of secular records.
The group appeared on all of
Decca sessions from her first in November 1960 to her last in February 1963, during which time they backed her on songs such as:
The group changed again in 1982, when Hoyt Hawkins died. His replacement was Duane West, formerly of
Sonny James' backup group, the Southern Gentlemen. In 1990, the group provided backing vocals for Presley's former Sun Records labelmate
Johnny Cash on his
Mercury Records album Boom Chicka Boom. The group has also recorded with the Swedish group
Hugh Jarrett died at 78 on May 31, 2008, from injuries sustained in an auto accident in March.
Gordon Stoker died at 88 at his
Brentwood, Tennessee, home on March 27, 2013, after a long illness. His son Alan confirmed that The Jordanaires were formally dissolved, per his father's wishes.
1998: On "You Better Move On" and "Tomorrow Night" on
Sugar Ray Norcia's album Sweet & Swingin'
1999: began their collaborative work with
Art Greenhaw, which resulted in a
Grammy Award for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album for We Called Him Mr. Gospel Music: The James Blackwood Tribute Album (2003), and six Grammy nominations for Best Album of the Year in a gospel category for other album titles, including The Great Gospel Hit Parade (2001), God Is Love (2002), Always Hear The Harmony (2004), 20th Century Gospel (2005) and Southern Meets Soul (2006)AllMusic noted about the 20th Century Gospel album that "Greenhaw's manly baritone is warm and inviting, and when backed by vocal-group legends the Jordanaires ("Gospel Woman," "Welcome to My World"), the resultant sound suggests the glory days of Elvis Presley and Jim Reeves."