The Speer Family came on the southern gospel music scene at a time when the genre seemed overrun with quartets and other groups. The Speer Family has released over 70 albums, five of which gained them Grammy nominations. They are the recipients of several Dove Awards, eight for Best Mixed Group of the Year, two for Best Album, and four consecutively for Best Female Vocalist.
G.T. Speer, the family patriarch, grew up in rural Fayetteville, Georgia. His first memory of gospel music was a tune sung to him by his mother. Early on, he began writing and singing, displaying his spiritual love and devotion through music. In 1920, G.T. married the former Lena Brock. Her father was one of the south’s leading gospel teachers and musicians. Since music had always been a huge part of their lives, the couple formed a gospel singing group. The first of the Speer Family quartets, conceived in 1921, consisted of Speer, Lena, his sister, and his sister’s husband. The inclusion of women was a huge departure from tradition as previous gospel groups had consisted of males only.
In 1925, G.T.’s sister and her husband left the group. Their replacements were two of G.T.’s and Lena’s four children, Rosa Nell and Mary Tom. Mary sang, and Rosa Nell sang and played piano. In time, brother Brock became the bass, and brother Ben, lead singer. As a family, the Speers recorded more than a dozen Gospel albums, including the classic, Time Has Made A Change, and what became their theme song, “Won’t We Be So Happy?”