THE BEST IS YET TO COME
A "THANK YOU" to friends & fans from THE FOUR GUYS!!
The long & winding Show-Biz road began on New Year's Day, 1967, when four young men from Steubenville-Toronto, Ohio, embarked on a musical journey to Music City, U.S.A., to follow a dream. Nashville welcomed Brent Burkett, Burl Lyons, Richard Garratt & Sam Wellington like no other singing group to come before them.
Little more than a month after arriving in town, The Four Guys landed a guest spot on the world-famous Grand Ole Opry where they made their first encore appearance of an updated version of the old folk song – SHENANDOAH. It was the Friday Night Frolic, which is what they called the show created to serve as a preview for the Saturday night institution, Grand Ole Opry. Usually, guests were asked to perform on Fridays since the big Saturday show was reserved mostly for the regular Opry star family with little room for guest acts.
That particular Friday night was special. Opry Manager, Ott Devine, had just witnessed, what he felt, was an historic musical performance and wasted little time in inviting The Four Guys to return the next evening to repeat their performance of SHENANDOAH. Return they did to a thunderous audience reception resulting in their being invited to return the following Friday & Saturday nights. The response was the same. Encores on both occasions. The invitation was extended weekend after weekend throughout February, March & into April. The group encored EVERY performance until finally, Manager Devine invited The Four Guys to become LIFETIME members of the greatest country music show on earth. No other group had been so invited before or since. To become a regular member of the Opry cast meant the "show would be available to The Guys whenever The Guys would be available to the show, so long as the required number of annual performances would be met." In those days, that number was twenty-six (26) Saturdays per year. The number was later reduced to twelve (12) with partial credits given to Opry Matinees and Friday night appearances. In still later years, the magic performance requirement was reduced even further.
Stage encores did not cease with The Four Guy's new Opry membership. Consistent crowd pleasers, The Guys went on to become one of the Opry's most touted acts stepping forth to work their musical stage magic whenever the curtain went up. Word of their Opry successes traveled rapidly and the group was named MOST PROMISING VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR by the readers of Country Song Roundup (the primary fan magazine for country music in the 60's & 70's).
A recording contract with Mercury Records followed with The Four Guys being asked to perform on the hit album, WINE ME UP, with label legend, Faron Young. The Guys were then asked to open for Hank Williams, Jr. on his road show and toured with that show for 2 * years, all the while interspersing their Opry performances and special engagements on their own and with Jimmy Dean in Las Vegas.
As their popularity continued to grow, The Four Guys were asked to join the Charley Pride Show, which also featured another up and comer, Ronnie Milsap. RCA Records then signed the group to create an all-RCA show. The Pride Show, considered by most to be the top show in Country Music at the time, played to SRO crowds in every major venue throughout the U.S. & Canada. The show also received rave reviews playing The Las Vegas Hilton & Harrah's Lake Tahoe, Nevada, along with displaying its' wares on many network TV shows.
After more than two (2) years of touring, The Four Guys returned to Nashville to open and successfully operate their own theatre-restaurant called, appropriately enough, THE FOUR GUY'S HARMONY HOUSE. This venture lasted ten (10) years until The Guys took over the beautiful STAGEDOOR LOUNGE in The Opryland Hotel, and brought their huge tourist following with them. After four (4) years there, the high seas called and The Guys began to focus their attention to regular performances aboard the cruise ships of Commodore & Regal Cruise Lines. During the next ten (10) years, 1989 – 1999, The Four Guys were engaged to perform on a total of seventy-three (73) Caribbean cruises, including six (6) trips to the Panama Canal. Time out was taken in 1995 & 1996 to perform more than fifty (50) weeks at Eagle Mountain Theatre in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, (Dollywood Country) where the group headlined their own show.
The Four Guys scored their greatest recording success in the 90's with numerous "TOP FIVE" and a couple of "NUMBER ONE" records in Europe and The Netherlands while big hits in the U.S. continued to elude them. Not to worry, The Guys continued to build their fan base the hard way…through outstanding live stage performances.
Though The Four Guys evolved through several personnel changes over the years, the most consistent combination was with original members, Brent Burkett & Sam Wellington, and sixteen(16) year members, Laddie Cain & John Frost. Cain, Frost & one-time member, Glen Bates, now make up the group with newcomer, Gary Robinson. After licensing the Four Guy's name, Wellington withdrew in June, 1999, while Burkett retired in October of the same year. The New Four Guys, as they are called, continued to call The Grand Ole Opry home while they pursued new stage and recording ventures. Six-months into the transition, all appeared to be going smoothly. Suddenly, on April 4th, 2000, The New Guys were summoned into the Opry offices where the recently hired Opry Manager informed the group their services would no longer be needed or used and that The Four Guy's name would, after thirty-three (33) years, be dropped for evermore from the Opry roster.
There were three (3) reasons given for the dismissal: 1. There were no original members remaining in the group (Cain & Frost's 16-years on The Opry counted for nothing) 2. The group never had a major record deal or big hit records (RCA & Mercury Records were and are as major as they come) 3. The Four Guys were only brought on the Opry originally to provide vocal backup to the real Opry Stars (come on Opry Manager, do your homework…we know you were only four or five years old at the time, but the Opry has historians who know why, when & how The Guys joined the regular membership cast in 1967).
Meanwhile, all this has been said to set the record straight. These are the facts as we know them with countless career achievements omitted for brevity sake. The Four Guys, past & present, wish to thank their loyal supporters, friends & fans, for their continued good wishes. The New Four Guys are extremely thankful for the original group's ground-breaking accomplishments and for leading the long & winding road to where it is today. But current group members, Laddie, John, Glen & Gary are quick to say they are proud of the group's heritage but are confident THE BEST IS YET TO COME!!
Written By The 4 Guys....Contact: Linda The4Guys2000@aol.com