B i o g r a p h y
Vern Gosdin is known around the world as "The Voice". This is said to be true because of his pure soulful country sound. Many consider him to be one of the great stylists in country music. He has been compared to such greats as Merle Haggard, George Jones and Waylon Jennings. Although he never received the fame of these artists, his sound is arguably one of the purest country sounds of all time. Not only is he known as a successful country artist but an accomplished songwriter as well. He has received numerous songwriting awards over his forty plus year career, co-writing most of his hits.
Vern was born in Woodland, Alabama on August 5, 1934. He was one of nine children. He has been quoted as saying his family were "rock farmers". His family, like many in the rural south were very poor. His mother played piano at church and he and his brothers sang. It was there at an early age that he developed a never ending love for music. He also sang with his brothers as a gospel group on a Birmingham radio station. Then he and his brother Rex began singing as a duet, sometimes impersonating The Louvin Brothers with their similar sound.
Vern may be most known for his string of hits in the late 80's and early 90's. Having three number ones, five top five and eleven top ten hits. This includes the 1989 CMA song of the year “Chiseled in Stone". Although Vern received much fame during this time, his music career started many years prior to this.
Vern moved to Chicago in the 50's where he ran a night club. It was there that the legendary Buford Pusser worked as a bouncer for Vern.
In the 60's Vern along with his brother Rex moved to California to try their hands at the west coast music scene. The two of them began playing bluegrass music and soon joined bands such as the Golden State Boys and The Hillmen featuring Chris Hillman (who later became a member of The Byrds). Vern and Rex began singing again as the Gosdin Brothers with an amazing sound and unmistakable sibling harmony. The Gosdin Brothers recorded the album “Sounds of Goodbye” and “Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers”. They worked with great musicians such as Clarence White, Glen Campbell and Leon Russell. The Gosdin Brothers would occasionally open shows for The Byrds.
In the 70's Vern had moved his family back to Georgia. He had decided to take a break from music and work in the family glass business. Music was always in the back of his mind and Nashville wasn’t that far away. In the late 70's he decided to give it another shot and headed to Nashville. In 1977 Vern released two songs with Emmy Lou Harris, “Hangin On" and “Yesterday’s Gone", a #16 and a # 9, respectively. Then in 1977 his hit “Till the End" (written by his first wife Cathy Gosdin) reached all the way to #7 on the charts.
Vern worked throughout the late 70's and early 80's earning several top five and top ten hits. Finally, in 1984 Vern received his first number one hit, “I Can Tell by the Way You Dance (You’re Gonna Love Me Tonight). He also received a Grammy nomination for his 1983 hit “If You're Gonna Do Me Wrong, Do It Right". He continued making top five and top ten hits throughout the 80's and 90's. He received two more number ones with "Set Em Up Joe" in 1988 and "I'm Still Crazy" in 1989.
Vern continued making music throughout the 90's and 2000's. He continued touring, although not as much. Vern suffered a stroke in 1998, but even with his failing health he never quit writing songs and making music.
Sadly, on April 28,2009, after suffering another stroke and other health issues, Vern passed away at the age of 74 in Nashville.