Country legend and former Grand Ole Opry member Claude Gray plays traditional country music and is an American performer, recording artist, singer-songwriter and guitarist best known for his 1960 hit "Family Bible." Gray has toured and performed with the likes of Johnny Cash and George Jones and is one of the only country singers in the world to have his song covered by a reggae superstar. Gray's hit single "Ill Just Have Another Cup of Coffee" was covered by Bob Marley, who re-arranged and re-titled it as "One Cup of Coffee." Claude Gray continues to perform at corporate events, weddings, private parties and may be available for your next event.
Combining elements of country, jazz, blues, folk and rockabilly, Gray was a purveyor of the "Nashville sound", embracing the "Countrypolitan" movement, which embraced pop-oriented singers in country music and attracted new audiences to the genre. Gray performed regularly on the Grand Ole Opry stage and his contracts with record companies Mercury, Columbia and Decca MCA produced more than 27 hit records in the Billboard & Cashbox Top 10 and Top 20 national charts. Gray's impressive major label recording career produced a total of sixteen albums, 53 singles of which 18 reached the Billboard Top 20 on the national country charts.
Gray has toured and performed the breadth and width of Europe in addition to 49 of the 50 states in America.
In addition to touring and performing with many of the top country artists such as Johnny Cash and George Jones, Gray has appeared with entertainers from other genres such as Duke Ellington, Marty Allen and Dinah Washington. Over a period of several years, Gray also worked with singer Ken Curtis, who portrayed Festus on the TV series "Gunsmoke," and was a member of Sons Of The Pioneers before replacing Frank Sinatra in the Tommy Dorsey band.
Gray appeared frequently on the Grand Ole Opry in 1961 and from time to time was called upon to host portions of the Friday Night and Saturday Night Opry shows. Standing at nearly 6'5", Gray earned the nickname "the Tall Texan."
Gray began his career in high school, performing in his native Henderson, Texas. Following Navy service from 1950-1954, he spent the bulk of the decade working as a salesman. He made his recording debut in 1959 after working as a radio announcer in Kilgore, Texas and as a DJ in Meridian, Mississippi; his first single, "I'm Not Supposed," was recorded for Pappy Daily's D Records.
In 1960, Gray had his first Top Ten hit with "Family Bible," a song which he and some friends bought from Willie Nelson for $100. The following year he scored with "I'll Just Have a Cup of Coffee (Then I'll Go)," which made the country Top Five and was a minor hit on the pop charts. His next single, "My Ears Should Burn (When Fools Are Talked About)," made it to the Top Three. Over the next two years, Gray made it to the charts four more times, but none of the songs, including "Daddy Stopped In," made it past the Top 20.
Gray's singles began to appear steadily on the charts from the mid-'60s through the early '70s; most of these were medium-level hits, but songs such as "I Never Had the One I Wanted" and "How Fast Them Trucks Can Go" occasionally rose to the Top 20. Gray's contract with Mercury ended in 1972, and he moved to Million Records and had a minor hit, "Woman Ease My Mind," in 1973. During the 1970s, Gray formed a permanent touring band called The Graymen, which performed with him on the nightclub circuit around Las Vegas. Gray appeared on the charts again in 1986, with a hit version of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline." Despite the present-day absence of chart hits, Gray remains loyal to his devoted fans and has recorded albums on a semi-annual basis for various record companies in North America and Europe, in addition to releasing recordings on his own label.
Some of Gray's favorite singers, songwriters and performers are Don Gibson, Ray Price, Buck Owens, Barbara Streisand, Luciana Pavarotti, Frankie Laine and Brook Benton. Some of his friends both living and deceased are folks such as the late Marty Robbins, Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright, Freddie Hart and Bill Mack.
Today, Gray continues to tour with The Claude Gray Roadshow, performing concerts throughout North America and in parts of Europe, where classic country music is very popular. Recently, Gray has appeared in Branson and is also a regularly featured performer on the RFD-TV cable television Network. Claude Gray continues to perform at corporate events, weddings, private parties and may be available for your next event.