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  • Writer's pictureJoel Caballero

The Imperials

Updated: Mar 9

The Imperials are an American Christian music vocal group that has been active for 60 years. Originating as a southern gospel quartet, the innovative group would become pioneers of contemporary Christian music in the 1960s. There have been many changes for the band in membership and musical styles over the years. They would go on to win four Grammy Awards, 15 Dove Awards and be inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Their most successful period was in 1977 when Russ Taff joined the group the previous year and released albums Sail On, One More Song for You and Priority and would win Grammy and Dove Awards during that period between 1978 and 1982. Taff would leave the group in 1981 to begin his solo career and was replaced by Paul Smith. Stand by the Power with Smith in the lead spot was released and was even more successful. Smith stayed on for two more albums and released his final album with the Imperials Let the Wind Blow in 1985. Smith and long-time member Jim Murray would both leave the group after the release of Let the Wind Blow.

Ron Hemby and Jimmie Lee Sloas were brought in to replace Smith and Murray for their albums This Year's Model and Free the Fire. Sloas left the group in 1989 to focus more behind the scenes on producing and songwriting and David Robertson replaced Sloas on their 1990 album Love's Still Changing Hearts. After that album, Robertson and Hemby left the group. Armond Morales (the group's founder and bass singer) brought in his sister Pam Morales, along with Jonathan Pierce for two more albums Big God and Stir It Up. Pam Morales at that time was the first and only female vocalist of the group. The Imperials have had number one songs in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

As of 2024, the new Imperials line-up consists of Smith, Hemby, Rick Evans and Rod Fletcher and have recently released an EP entitled Blessed.

More information on The Imperials at Wikipedia:


Introducing the Illustrious Imperials (1964)

Fireside Hymns (1964)

Talent Times Five (1964)

Jake Hess and the Imperials (1964)

Blends and Rhythms (1964)

Slaughter Writes – Imperials Sing (1965)

The Happy Sounds of Jake Hess and the Imperials (1965)

Slightly Regal (1965)

He Was a Preachin' Man (1965)

The Imperials Sing Their Favorite Hymns (1966)

Inspirational Classics (1966)

To Sing is the Thing (1967)

The Imperials...Now! (1968)

New Dimensions (1968)

Love is the Thing (1969)

Time to Get It Together (1970)

Gospel's Alive and Well (1970)

Imperials (1972)

Imperials Live (1973)

Follow the Man with the Music (1974)

No Shortage (1975)

'Til He Comes (1995)

It's Still the Cross (1997)

Gospel Music Hall of Fame (1998) (compilation album)

Songs of Christmas (1998)

I Was Made For This (2002)

The Imperials (2006)

Back to the Roots (2007)

Live from Charlotte, NC - 1964 (2008) (CD only release)

Standing Strong (2008)

Still Standing (2010)

Blessed (EP) (2024)

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