Harold Reid, founding member of Staunton's famous group the Statler Brothers, died at home Friday evening.
His death was confirmed by his nephew Langdon Reid, the son of Statler Don Reid. A post on the Statler Brothers
website said Reid had "bravely endured a long battle with kidney failure."
Reid's songwriting, humor and striking bass vocals were integral elements of the well-loved and respected Statler
Brothers, who put out more than 50 albums in nearly 40 years.
His path to stardom began in earnest in 1964 when the Statler Brothers, comprised at the time of Reid, his brother Don Reid,
Lew DeWitt and Phil Balsley, got word from a friend and promoter that Johnny Cash was in Roanoke doing a concert. The group drove
down to see the future country music legend.
Harold Reid, left, and Don Reid, founding members of The Statler Brothers, stand together for a portrait at The Pampered Palate
Cafe in Staunton. (Photo: Griffin Moores/The News Leader)
After meeting Cash, he told them he was headed to Berryville in a couple of days and asked if the Statler Brothers would be
interested in opening his show, which they did. Cash had never even heard them play.
A record deal with Columbia records soon followed, thanks to a push from Cash, who also was under contract by the label.
But it wasn’t until the group put out their third single, “The Ballad of Billy Christian,” that superstardom would come knocking at their door. The record didn’t excite the masses, but when a Kansas City disc jockey flipped the single over to the B-side and played “Flowers on the Wall,” it quickly became the Statler Brothers first smash hit, earning two Grammy Awards.
"That happened six months after the record was released, which is almost unheard of," Harold Reid told The News Leader in 2015.
Thirty years later in 1994, the same song would again explode onto the music scene, thanks to a scene in the Quentin
Tarantino hit film “Pulp Fiction,” where Butch Coolidge, played by Bruce Willis, is listening to the classic song on his
car radio when he decides to run over his nemesis. The "Pulp Fiction" soundtrack sold over a million copies.
"Very few people have Bruce Willis help them," Harold Reid said in 2015.
The hit song was one of many in a career portfolio that is matched by few groups. Thirteen of the Statler
Brother albums went gold and eight went platinum. They recorded more than 50 albums and garnered three Grammy Awards,
nine Country Music Awards and 48 Music City News Awards.
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