The rich history of The Classic Imperials is found in their members, Armond Morales, Paul Smith, and Dave Will, who pioneered for decades in the Christian Music Industry. Armond, Paul, and Dave, were too busy to get caught up in the accolades, and are only now aware of the historical value the achievements hold.

Joined by Rick Evans (lead/tenor and general manager) whose resume includes some of the nation’s most recognized Christian platforms (Dennis Agajanian Band, Greg Laurie and The Harvest Crusades, Billy Graham Organization, Promise Keepers, and Franklin Graham Festivals) unites with these patriarchs as The Classic Imperials. We can only expect a continued track of excellence as they launch this group to reach the next generation.

The Classic Imperials are proud of the history of their members. Their combined achievements of this group are still unprecedented in Christian Music. The following list contains a few of the landmarks they will be remembered for:

  • Nominated 13 times for Grammy Awards – Won 4 times
  • Nominated 58 times for Dove Awards – Won 17 times
  • 1969 first year of Dove Awards and won for male group of the year
  • 1981 first Dove for Artist of the Year
  • 1998 inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame
  • First group to have #1 song (Oh Buddha) on all three charts for 12 weeks (Contemporary – Inspirational – Southern Gospel)
  • 32  number-one songs in Christian Music
  • Number-one song in four consecutive decades (1960, 1970, 1980, 1990)
  • Performed with: Jimmy Dean, Elvis Presley, Carol Channing, and Pat Boone
  • Movie with Elvis called “That’s The Way It Was”
  • National television appearances: Grammy Awards (the first Christian group to appear) 700 club, Trinity Broadcasting Network, Praise The Lord, 100 Huntley Street, 20/20, The Mike Douglas Show, The Merv Griffith Show, The Joey Bishop Show, CNN – Take Two, Acts TV Network, the Magnificent Gospel Music Machine, TNN Nashville Network
  • Traveled to 21 countries: Canada, England, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, East Germany, France, Israel, Holland, Faeroe Island, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Jamaica, Haiti, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.
The Original Imperials
Armond Morales 1964-2003 & 2005-present  -  Jake Hess 1964-1967  - Henry Slaughter 1964-1966  -  Sherrill Nielson 1964-1966  -  Gary McSpadden 1964-1967history1
The Classic Imperials
Rick Evans Armond Morales Paul Smith

Dave Will

2005 – present 1964 – 2001 1981 – 1985 1976 – 1999
2005 – present 2009 – present 2005 – present


There have been many members of The Imperials over the years. It would be difficult to name them all, if we included all the singers, musicians, crews, and office personal. Each person listed (or not listed) has made a contribution to the longevity and continued success of this group. We wish them all well and trust that their lives and ministries have continued to flourish. Here are just a few of the names that have traveled through the Imperials organization:


Jake Hess1964 -1966
Henry Slaughter1964 -1966
Gary McSpadden 1964 -1966
Sherrill Nielsen 1964 -1965
Armond Morales 1964- 2001, 2005 - present
Jim Murray 1966-1986 & 2005-2006
Roger Wiles 1967-1970
Terry Blackwood 1967-1976
Greg Gordon 1970-1971
Larry Gatlin 1971-1971
Joe Moscheo 1966-1975
Sherman Andrus 1971-1976
David Will 1976-1999 & 2005-present
Russ Taff 1976-1981
Paul Smith 1981-1985
Ron Hemby 1986-1990
Jimmie Lee 1986-1990
Dave Robertson 1989-1990
Rick Evans 2005 – present
Robbie Hiner 2006 - 2008
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