The Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet

Thesis Statement

The Golden Gate Quartet has been a very popular singing group since the transitional period of Jubilee quartets, the quartet was formed in 1934 inside of a barbershop. The original members of the group were Willie Johnson, William Langford, Henry Owens, and Orlandus Wilson. 

What is a Jubilee Quartet?

 Jubilee quartets were groups comprised of four to six black men or women singing A capella. There were three periods of Jubilee quartets: the jubilee period (1880-1929), transitional period (1930-1945), and gospel period (1946-1969). Some popular quartets other than the Golden Gate were the Mills Brothers, the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, and Take 6.

The Golden Gate Quartet

The Golden Gate Quartet was originally formed by four high school students in Norfolk, Virginia: Willie Johnson, William Langford, Henry Owens, and Orlandus Wilson. They started performing at local churches and events, and their popularity quickly grew. In 1937, they signed a recording contract with RCA Victor, and their first recording, “Golden Gate Gospel Train,” became a hit. Their performances were dynamic and energetic, and they quickly gained a reputation for their electrifying live shows. Over the years, they expanded their repertoire to include traditional spirituals, gospel hymns, and even pop songs. One of the group’s most famous songs, “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho,” has been covered by several artists, like Elvis Presley and Mahalia Jackson. The Golden Gate Quartet has been through many personnel changes over the years, but they have continued to perform and record new music. In 1985, they were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and in 1994, they received the National Medal of Arts. 


In conclusion, the Golden Gate Quartet has made a huge mark on the world of gospel music, and their legacy continues to inspire and uplift. Their music is a testament to the enduring power of faith and the resilience of the human spirit. Whether you are a fan of gospel music, Jubilee quartets, or simply appreciate great music, the Golden Gate Quartet is an essential part of African American musical history.

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