Perfect Tenor Performances #3: Terry Franklin

Perfect Tenor Performances #3: Terry Franklin July 25, 2011

Terry Franklin may not be a household name, but because he was only in the southern gospel spotlight for a brief period of time with the Gaither Vocal Band, perhaps that’s natural. Most of his career has been spent in full-time evangelistic ministry with his family, traveling around the country and the world. He is also in hot demand as a studio vocalist. It’s a pretty safe bet that if you were to ask folks in the SG industry who’s on their short list for most technically gifted tenors, Terry would be at or near the top. Glen Payne said he was the best tenor he had ever heard (having sung with him for a few dates when he was filling in with the Cathedrals), and Ernie Haase has named him as one of his all-time favorites. Interestingly, Wes Hampton has often prompted vocal comparisons to Terry today, and indeed, the resemblance is at times quite striking. This is a good thing. A very good thing.

Today I’m featuring a brief and powerful clip from his Gaither Vocal Band days, singing the classic “What a Day That Will Be.” You’ll never hear a better version. (And yes, all the David Phelps Phans can sit down and stop making indignant noises in the back row.)

I will refrain from saying anything about Terry’s mullet/pseudo-mullet, because he might be reading this, and I know he’d probably like to put it behind him. Far be it from me to bring back painful memories.

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  • This live GVB reunion planned for NQC will be so incomplete if Terry’s not there. He was sorely missed on the 2 GVB reunion DVD’s.

  • I agree. But I thought Wes did a great job filling in on some of his stuff.

  • Terry Franklin

    Who is that skinny guy in the video?? And boy, those mullets…what were we thinking. Thanks for the kind words, YGG.

  • Oh, uh, hehe… hi there Terry. You can just, um, forget what I said about the mullet, okay? (Honestly though, it’s nothing compared to Mark’s chain-gang pinstripes. :D)
    You’re more than welcome, and thanks for dropping in.

  • Oh yes, and your comment reminds me of when Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman were interviewing each other, and Michael said, “So, Steven, tell me about the mullet.” Steven said, “Oh yeah, um… could we just agree to forget the mullet?” They shook hands on it. I also remember Steven’s saying in the commentary track for one of his DVDs, when a few embarrassing photos came on screen, “It was REALLY cool back then. I promise.”

  • Keith Waggoner

    I offer this video, Exhibit A, as to why Terry has always been my favorite tenor. Wow! Thanks for posting this.

  • Well, why do you think I picked it? You’re welcome. 🙂

  • Hey Terry,
    Any confirmation about on my hopes of you being apart of the GVB Live Reunion at NQC? Blessings.

  • Terry Franklin

    Afraid not. I will just have gotten back from ministry in Egypt and Pakistan and will be in Eau Claire, WI on that day. Thanks for asking. Sorry I can’t be there. I can tell you, however, that the Tenor position will be well represented on that day by some great singers.

  • One word: Aaaaaargh! But at least you’re very busy doing God’s work.

  • That “skinny guy in the video” is receiving this message from his biggest fan…from someone who considers his the greatest vocal instrument with which God has ever blessed anyone. And I get to hear him sing a LOT!!!! My quartet boys keep the demos they get from me so they can ride around in their cars and listen to Terry do ALL the parts (bass, too). You’re the shining best, Hon…keep singing for Jesus!! Dianne.

  • He does bass too? Wow.
    I speak from personal experience when I say that Miss Dianne is absolutely right. Second on everything she just said. And hey Miss Dianne, you’ve got a few fans too. 😀

  • JSR

    As a new comer to SGM, and a “Phelps Phan”, as you put it, I’m impressed. This clip is very good. If all of his stuff is this good then I don’t see why anyone would have any problems with him. What most Phelps Phans seem to detest are guys who sing tenor and you can’t tell if its a man or woman unless you see them in person…
    Terry, you definitely have a great voice!

  • Terry was the original tenor on the GVB’s renditions of songs like “Home,” “Little is Much” and “There is a River.” Terry’s rendition of “River” is awesome, and you can see it here.
    I prefer it to David Phelps’s version, although honestly I like Wes Hampton’s take on it best of all. 😉

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  • So there you have it… No Terry Franklin at the GVB Live Reunion at NQC. Was so looking forward to that sweet English,Franklin,Lowry blend I used to love to hear…
    Thanks for answering that question Terry… Every Blessing to you and yours…

  • So this was what you were talking about… Just caught this. Thanks a bunch. Terry is one of the best ever, indeed.

  • Well I just figured the series couldn’t be complete without him and set out to find just the right clip. And I did!

  • quartet-man

    Oh, but to get a hold of those demos. 🙂

  • quartet-man

    BTW, I saw this early on and was disappointed about Terry not being there (even if we didn’t have the same name. 😉 ) However, a lot of these comments I am seeing today weren’t here when I last saw this.

  • Dale Donnelly

    I did a search for Terry and his wife after seeing this video a lady from church had posted. These are great people, we became friendly acquaintances at church in Nashville, in the nursery, but I saw their heart one night when I was scheduled to sing in a small group Wed. evening service and the sound system wasn’t working. Terry stepped to the piano and he and his wife joined me in an impromptu rendition of “Great is Thy Faithfulness”. I’m no big name singer but they didn’t care, it was for God and that’s what mattered. By the way; he is one of the best tenors ever.

  • Thank you so much for sharing that story. I agree.

  • mark

    I remember talking to Brian Free, one time after a concert, and I asked him, “So Brian, who is YOUR favorite Tenor” ? He said it was Terry Franklin. That was 20 years ago.

  • Priceless! Thanks. Terry will be touched to hear that, as I know he reads this blog regularly.

  • Dennis Gohl

    As I get older and I know I have a lot more wake ups behind me than I have ahead of me (to quote George Younce) it is apparent, as I make a list of songs and musicians that in my top 10, that Terry Franklin ranks within that top 10. His version of “Home”, “I’ll Meet You in the Morning” and “There is a River” with the GVB stand out as all time Southern Gospel Classics …. My son sings and I know he will sing one of these at my funeral …. Thank you and God Bless, Dennis Gohl

  • Terri Lormand

    I had to do a search on Terry Franklin because I wake up with him every morning…well, with the GVB CD (Southern Classics) that he so marvelously sings on. My mother acquired this CD I believe sometime after Michael English sang at their church back in the 90’s. Well, she didn’t much care for the style of some of the songs and asked if I would like it. Well, I loved it! I only knew Bill Gaither at the time, but instantly loved the songs. I had grown up listening to LP’s of the Gaither Trio as well as the Blackwood Brothers, the Happy Goodmans, and so many other great Southern Gospel Quartets and groups. Now thanks to Bill Gaither and GaitherTV, I can’t get enough SG!
    I love the GVB Reunions especially, but have noticed that Terry Franklin isn’t in them. Thus the search, which led me to Yankee Gospel Girl. Thank you YGG for your post and that clip, it was wonderful! And Terry, I’m so glad to know you just a little bit better than I did before…may the Lord bless you in your ministry! Now when I sing along with There Is A River, I’ll know who the wonderful tenor is!
    God bless~

  • Awww, glad you found it, Terri. I hope Terry sees your comment. 🙂