Earlier this morning legendary Gospel Music singer & songwriter Jim Hill passed away. The news was announced by a friend of Hill’s, Dean Hickman of The Guardians. Born in Pourtsmouth, Ohio, Hill got his start in Gospel Music in 1945, when he along with Harold Patrick and John Conley organized the Campmeeting Boys. Two years later in 1947, the group would add another member and change their name to The Golden Keys Quartet. Hill served the group as their tenor singer & manager.
While with The Golden Keys, Hill wrote that would go to become a classic. “What A Day That Will Be” was written in the early 1950’s and has been printed in millions of songbooks. It would go on to bless the hearts of generations of believers. In 1965, Hill left The Golden Keys to join a household name in Gospel Music, The Stamps Quartet. Hill remained with the group until 1968, and was a key member of the quartet during its transition of management to J.D. Sumner.
In 1968, Hill joined another one of Gospel Music’s top quartets, Hovie Lister & The Statesmen. However this time around, Hill would switch from singing tenor to lead. The Statesmen recorded some of their finest albums during Hill’s tenure with the group as Rosie Rozell & Sherill Nielsen both sang tenor with the group during those years.
In his later years, Hill was a fixture of the Bill Gaither Homecoming Series and was prominently featured on many of the videos. He was also inducted in the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 2013. Jim Hill was not only an excellent songwriter, but a classicly trained vocalist. He had auditioned with several opera companies, but his passion was for Gospel Music and he made quite a mark on that industry. We offer our prayers and condolences to Hill’s family. Thank you Mr. Hill for a wonderful legacy that you left behind, your contributions to Gospel Music will never be forgotten.
Here are a few selections of videos featuring some of Hill’s finest singing.
One of my favorite Jim Hill songs that he wrote, “For God So Loved”, during his time with The Stamps.
Another one from his Stamps years, “The Homecoming Week”
One of my favorite songs from his time with The Statesmen, “God’s Not Dead”
A recent video of Hill onstage with The Guardians & The Booth Brothers, singing his signature song. “What A Day That Will Be”.