The Swan Silvertones Biography

This gospel vocal quartet was formed in 1938 in West Virginia, USA, by four coalminers, Claude Jeter (lead), Eddie Boroughas, John Myles and Leroy Watkins. The Swan in their name refers to their early sponsors, the Swan Bakery. Their first sessions were recorded for King Records in Cincinnati in 1946. At this time Henry Brossard (bass) and Soloman Womack (joint lead) joined. The line-up changed frequently throughout the late 40s, with Reverend Percell Perkins, Reverend Robert Crenshaw and Roosevelt Payne all joining at various points. Paul Owens, formerly of the Nightingales and Dixie Hummingbirds, also joined the group. Although their recording career (for Specialty Records) was sparser than more celebrated gospel/R&B groups, the Silvertones continued to tour and appear on radio. William Connor of the Trumpeteers replaced Brossard in 1955, though by the time the group moved to Vee Jay Records in 1959, Louis Johnson had joined as third lead. Claude Jeter became a minister in 1963, after which the group lost much of its momentum. Various singers flitted in and out of the group, and the only remaining original member, John Miles, retired in 1978. The same year former members reunited to play a one-off concert in Chicago.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.