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The Inspirations: Martin Cook, a former piano player for the Kingsmen and a chemistry teacher at Swain High School in Bryson City, NC, formed the Inspirations in 1964. The 1970s saw the Inspirations rise to national attention with a number of hit songs. They had the very first number one song on the Singing News chart in January of 1970 with “Jesus Is Coming Soon.” Beginning in November 1973, the group had the top song for 12 months in a row. “Touring That City” held the position through February 1974 and “When I Wake Up To Sleep No More” was the most popular song for the next seven months. “Jesus Is Mine” was also a number one song for the group in 1976.
The Inspirations continued to present concerts with a traditional style and a conservative image in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Songs like “Cry For The Children” and “We Need To Thank God” resounded strongly with Christian conservatives and fans of traditional gospel music. The Inspirations returned to the top position on the Singing News chart in 2002 after a 26-year absence with “I’ll Not Turn My Back On Him Now.” “I Have Not Forgotten” (April 2007) and “If You Only Knew” (November 2007) were also number one songs for the Inspirations during the 2000s. In mid-2020 after several months not touring due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Inspirations announced the older group members (Archie Watkins, Eddie Dietz, and Marlin Shubert) would remain off the road until a vaccine was developed. The younger group members (Luke Vaught, Roland Kesterson, and Wyatt Austin) resumed traveling and were joined by tenor singer Isaac Moore. Vaught began pulling double duty playing piano and singing baritone while Austin became the group’s full-time bass singer. Concert promoters consequently began introducing the revamped lineup as the Young Inspirations.

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