The Statler Brothers set a standard in singing four-part harmony that was untouchable through five decades, and the rich tones from Harold Reid and his crafted, resonant bass vocals became the grounding force in the group's history. From Hall of Fame inductions and multiple Grammy awards, the Statler Brothers demonstrated that the group’s heart and flawless touch with bluegrass, Americana, Country Music, and contemporary songs could captivate more than one generation.

Harold Reid used his vivid storytelling as much as his vibrating vocal prowess to create forever memories.

Harold Reid passed away on Friday, April 24, at age 80 in his hometown of Staunton, Virginia, per reports from Heavy, the Chicago Tribune, and other outlets. The physical presence of Harold Reid may no longer be before an audience, but his voice, his ever-willing, sparkling humor, and the endless memories and songs created by the Statler Brothers will endure forever.

The name change took the Statler Brothers to stratospheric places

The tragic crisis of the coronavirus pandemic has taken a deep toll on the music world. Jazz icon, Ellis Marsalis, was among the first taken last month by complications of the disease, and still, Wynton Marsalis and his siblings and family cannot be granted the honor of a proper New Orleans funeral procession.

The same is true for the family of John Prine, who left countless chronicles of human joys, trials, and triumphs. One of the cruelest realities of these days is the complete isolation in death and not even a passage with due mourning.

Harold Reid had been battling kidney failure for years, and thankfully, his family and the remaining members of the Statler Brothers will be granted the opportunity for grieving and remembrance in whatever ways they wish.

The Statler Brothers started singing as a gospel quartet in 1955, like so many groups of their era. Harold Reid, Phil Baisley, Joe McDorman, and Lew DeWitt began as the Four-Star Quartet before changing the name to The Kingsmen. In 1963, when the garage band, The Kingsmen, took “Louie, Louie” to the top of the charts in rock 'n roll, the Statler Brothers became their own musical entity, and never looked back.

Joe McDorman quit the group and was replaced by Harold Reid’s younger brother, Don.

The Statler Brothers cultivated a lasting legacy and appeal

In 1964, Johnny Cash asked the Statler Brothers to join his road tour, and the stellar engagement with the man in black and June Carter (Cash) lasted until 1972. Don Reid related in an interview following the release of his book, co-authored with Harold Reid, “Random Memories,” that the best thing about the success of the group was being able to meet all their heroes. The Statler Brothers performed for four presidents and shared the stage with virtually every major Country Music artist. Their variety show on The Nashville Network ran from 1991-1998. The group gave a proper farewell to loyal fans all along their 2002 farewell tour.

Songs like “Flowers on the Wall” in 1966 lured young listeners with its stark and truthful appeal and “Class of ‘57” became a very relatable anthem for baby boomers. The Statler Brothers never forgot their gospel roots, and Harold Reid would stamp classics like “How Great Thou Art” and many more with his eloquent bass notes. “Bed of Rose’s” also provided ample truth that they could take faith to the streets in a contemporary way, too.

The Statler Brothers were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2007, followed by induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008. They earned three Grammys, but the Statler Brothers treasured the impressions and memories with fans and colleagues most.

Harold Reid is already singing with many friends in the higher realms now.

Harold Reid brought humor and storytelling to every Statler Brothers stage

Humor and a sincere fan connection filled every Statler Brothers show, and many in every audience recall that their first Statler Brothers' performance was enjoyed in the arms of their parents. Harold Reid was always ready to pause the music and spin a yarn, usually from his own personal past with the group.

The deep-voiced Reid would pull up a stool, look out into the crowd, look up for a divine blessing, and then put forth a personal story. The topic could be about anything, from an encounter with someone famous to a fishing trip. Every telling closed with a twinkle in Harold Reid’s eye and his buoyant laughter.

Then, it was back to the business of singing.

Debo Reid, Harold's nephew, offered a heartfelt statement to ABC News on behalf of the singer’s family. The words confirm that Harold Reid “leaves a large and loving family and millions of fans who remember his stage and TV antics with smiles and cherish his music that will live with the ages.”

Sing on, Harold Reid, and laugh as loud as you want. The Statler Brothers and so many other listeners are still so blessed to always hear you.