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Music / The Statler Brothers

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A long-running Country Music Quartet (nearly 50 years!) from Staunton note , Virginia. Former members are: Don Reid (lead vocals), Harold Reid (bass), Phil Balsley (baritone), and Lew DeWitt (tenor). DeWitt left in 1983 due to health issues, with Jimmy Fortune taking his place. The group released "Flowers on the Wall" in 1965, a song that became a huge crossover hit and even netted them a Grammy Award. From then until the late 1980s, they were a somewhat constant presence on the country charts, scoring even more Signature Songs along the way, such as "Do You Remember These", "The Class of '57", "I'll Go to My Grave Loving You", "Do You Know You Are My Sunshine", "The Official Historian of Shirley Jean Berrell" and "Elizabeth".


Countin' Tropes on the wall, that don't bother me at all.

  • Band of Relatives: Despite the name, they weren't all brothersbut two, Don and Harold Reid, were.. No one in the group had the last name Statler, though.
  • Basso Profundo: Harold Reid can hit some really low notes.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: In their memoir Don and Harold Reid portray Lew DeWitt as this. He wrote "Flowers on the Wall" but was content to let the Reids handle most of the songwriting after that, as well as the day-to-day business of the group. His later health problems only added to it.
  • Class Reunion: "The Class of '57" gives the rundown on how a group of classmates fared, from millionaire's wife and Cattle Baron to mainstream success (teachers, deliverymen for Sears, grocery store owners and factory workers) to insane ward and suicide. (Well, except for one: "Where Mavis finally wound up is anybody's bet.")
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  • Concept Album: The Statlers would frequently release albums reflecting a theme. Examples are Pictures of Moments To Remember which centered on memories and Sons of the Motherland which focused on their love for America. Perhaps their most significant themed album was their gospel album released in 1975, entitled Holy Bible, which has song versions of the bible stories and divided up into a two record set called Old Testament and New Testament
  • Everytown, America: The nominal setting for a number of their songs, but always based on their hometown of Staunton, Virginia.
  • Long-Runner Line-up: Two of them, actually. The group was Don and Harold Reid, Phil Balsley and Lew DeWitt from 1960 to 1982 (22 years), when DeWitt had to quit because of Crohn's Disease (DeWitt eventually died of it in 1990), then the Reids, Balsley, and Jimmy Fortune from Fortune replacing DeWitt in 1982 to 2004 when the band called it a day (22 years).
  • "Knock Knock" Joke: They somehow work one into "Do You Remember These".
    Knock-knock jokes - who's there? Dewey! Dewey who?
    Do we remember these? Yes we do!
  • The Moral Substitute: Unusually gave this treatment to one of the their own hits. A few years after scoring big with the Don Reid-penned "I'll Go to My Grave Loving You", Harold Reid wrote a new set of lyrics for it called "He Went to the Cross Loving You", which they recorded and released.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Only two (Don and Harold Reid) were brothers, and none were named Statler. The band named itself after a brand of tissue. (The members used to joke that they could have easily become the Kleenex Brothers instead.)
  • Nostalgia Filter: Many of their biggest hit songs fit this trope, including "Do You Remember These" (reviving pop culture and personal memories of the late 1930s through late 1950s) and "The Movies" (a roll call of the biggest movie hits and stars, from the earliest days to the then-present 1977). Other "memory-type" songs are more bittersweet, such as "Class of '57," reflecting on classmates who had great success and those who were struggling (or worse). Rounding out the trope: covers of oldies and adult standards.
  • Obsession Song: "The Official Historian of Shirley Jean Berrell" comes across as this, given the near-exhaustive knowledge the narrator has of the girl in question. Subverted in the final verse when he has to admit that "The only thing that I don't know is where she is right now."
  • Shout-Out: Kurt Vonnegut was a big fan and discussed some of their songs in an essay included in his book Palm Sunday.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: "Silver Medals and Sweet Memories", sung by the "someone".
    And she never heard from him again, and he never heard of me.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": In the title performance on Alive at the Johnny Mack Brown High School by Lester "Roadhog" Moran & The Cadillac Cowboys, Roadhog is very insistent in calling the school The Johnny Mack Brown High School.
  • Stealth Insult: The charmingly snarky "Don't Wait On Me" where a young man promises he'll come back to his lady ... on the day the Fourth of July parade is canceled by a blizzard. Or other equally likely events.
    • And a hilarious real life subversion occurred when one of the lines "When The Lights Go On At Wrigley Field" became reality seven years later when they did put electric lights in at Wrigley Field. They changed the lyrics to putting a dome over it.
    • Well, Madelyn O'Hare isn't going to become a priestnote  any time soonnote , so that still holds.
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: Don (straight man) & Harold (wise guy) (the actual brothers of the group) sometimes perform this routine between songs as shown here (begins at 3:25)
  • Stylistic Suck: They did an album as "Lester 'Roadhog' Moran and the Cadillac Cowboys", a deliberately bad country group.
  • This Bed of Rose's: Their song "Bed of Rose's" is the Trope Namer.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Possibly in "New York City". He mourns his pregnant girlfriend's decision to move to New York and speculates what life might be like there for his son. When the song was recorded (1971) New York was the most prominent of the four states that allowed abortion on demand in the pre-Roe V. Wade era. If a woman with an unplanned pregnancy said she was going to New York City, it was usually code indicating she was getting an abortion.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The "Class of '57" was about this.
  • Vocal Tag Team: Don Reid was usually the lead vocalist, but some songs have more than one of the members singing lead. Some songs ("Class of '57", "Thank You World") even had each member sing a verse. However, Fortune usually sang lead during his tenure.


Example of: