Harold Reid, a member of the legendary country group The Statler Brothers, died Friday (April 24) following a long battle with kidney failure. He was 80.
A statement on the band’s website reads, “He is and will always be loved by his family, friends and millions of fans. His singing, his songwriting and his comedy made generations happy. He has taken a piece of our hearts with him.”
The quartet’s bass singer and comedian, Harold Reid was born on August 21, 1939, in Augusta Country, Virginia. He was a founding member of the singing group that gradually evolved into The Statler Brothers, which took its name from a brand of facial tissues. The quartet traveled frequently with Johnny Cash starting in 1964 and enjoyed a major crossover single with “Flowers on the Wall” in 1965.
However the Statler Brothers truly hit their stride with their first charting single for Mercury Records, 1970’s “Bed of Rose’s,” which was written by Harold Reid. He also co-wrote “The Class of ’57” with his younger brother and bandmate Don Reid. That 1972 single won a Grammy and they continued to chart on Mercury Records through 1990.
The band cultivated a comic presence on record and on the road with their alter egos, Lester “Roadhog” Moran & His Cadillac Cowboys. But as the Statler Brothers, their biggest radio hits include 1978’s “Do You Know You Are My Sunshine” (their first No. 1, also written by Don and Harold Reid) as well as “Elizabeth,” “My Only Love,” and “Too Much on My Heart,” all No. 1 singles written by bandmate Jimmy Fortune. Philip Balsley rounded out the most recognizable lineup of the Statler Brothers, formed after Lew Dewitt’s departure due to ill health in 1982.
The Statler Brothers charted 66 singles on the Billboard country airplay chart between 1965 and 1990. They received nine CMA Awards for Vocal Group of the Year and two ACM awards in the same category. The group’s Top 10 singles co-written by the Reid brothers include “The Official Historian on Shirley Jean Berrell,” “How to Be a Country Star,” “(I’ll Love You Even) Better Than I Did Then,” “Don’t Wait on Me,” “Whatever,” “Guilty,” and “Sweeter and Sweeter.”
While they were embraced by Nashville, the group kept their home base in Staunton, Virginia. After their hit streak at radio came to an end, the Statler Brothers starred in a highly-rated TNN variety series from 1991 to 1997.
The band retired from the road in 2002. They were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008 and received the ACM’s 2015 Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award.