Tompall & the Glaser Brothers were an American country music group composed of three brothers: Chuck (Charles Vernon Glaser, Jim (James William Glaser), and Tompall (Thomas Paul Glaser). The trio were the sons of Alice Marie Harriet Davis Glaser and Louis Nicholas Glaser of Spalding, Nebraska. The Glaser Brothers started singing together at country fairs and contests in and around the Spalding area when they were preteens. In 1957 the group got their big break when they appeared on the Arthur Godfrey's Talent Show and attracted the attention of several well known country stars, including Marty Robbins. Marty quickly signed them as backup singers on his albums and as solo artists on his record label. The brother's first single Five Penny Nickel, was released in 1958 on Robbin's Records.
Between 1960 and 1975, the trio recorded ten studio albums and charted nine singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles charts. (Their material for Bravo Records was released under the name The Charleston Trio.) The Glasers became members of the Grand Ole Opry in the 1960s. The group was the most awarded group in country music in the late 60's and early 70's. They went on to be known world wide and were awarded " Billboards International Group of the Year" multiple times. The group took a hiatus from 1973 to 1978, during which time, each brother pursued individual interests. They reunited in 1979 and released several singles and two albums including, Loving Her Was Easier, which reached #2 on the Billboard charts.
The brothers took on, and changed the Nashville's country music machine in several dramatic ways. For example, in 1962 the Glaser Brothers started a publishing company, and began to take on songwriters that other name brand studios had chosen to ignore. One of those songwriters was John Hartford, who wrote one Gentle on My Mind, a song that has been recorded by over 300 artists including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Glenn Campbell among others. The popularity of the song is enormous as it has been recorded between 400-600 times and it has been performed live over 6 million times.
In 1970 the brothers opened their own studio at 916 19th Ave. South in Nashville, TN. The new studio, Glaser Sound, was often referred to as Hillbilly Central because it was a haven for artists who wanted to have more artistic control over their own music and careers. The studio included a publishing company, production company, talent agency, and design services for album covers. In that venue creative experimentation thrived as new opportunities for songwriters and artists became commonplace.
On the very day that the publishing company was sold in 1975, Chuck was rushed to the hospital with a stroke. Following his recovery, which also included relearning how to sing, Chuck began to explore other lucrative business ventures including producing a syndicated television show, and a children's album among others . Tompall and Jim continued with their musical careers, both achieving success as solo artists.
In 1990 the brothers were asked to reunite for one final show at the Grand Ol' Opry in a tribute to Hank Snow. Out of respect for Snow, they accepted the offer. There, at their last show together, they demonstrated one last time, the power of their exceptional harmonies.
For more information on the Glaser Brothers and the impact that they made on the music scene check out the recently produced documentary, entitled From Nebraska Ranchers to Nashville Rebels: The Story of the Glaser Brothers. The documentary, produced by Newshound Productions, provides a lot of previously untold information about the brothers as individuals and as a group. The information for the documentary came from family, friends, and music industry insiders. The documentary features comments by Jim Glaser, Chuck Glaser, Cowboy Jack Clement, Bobby Bare, Kinky Friedman, Ronny Robbins, Robert K. Oermann, Marshall Chapman, Gordon Stoker, Willis Hoover, Bill Holmes, Doyle Grisham among others. In addition, multiple videos of the Glaser Brother's performances can be viewed on YouTube.
Today, Chuck and his wife, Beverly Ann Zegers Glaser, are the parents of 6 grown children, 4 in-laws, and 12 grandchildren. Jim and his wife, Jane Evens Glaser, are the parents of 4 grown children, 1 daughter-in-law, and 7 grandchildren. Jim is still performing at a variety of venues but Chuck has retired from the music business.
Tompall died on August 12, 2013, leaving behind his widow, June Johnson Glaser. His funeral service was conducted at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville, Tennessee on August 16, 2013. The private, family service was conducted by Father Edward Steiner, senior pastor at the Cathedral.