The public will gather at Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church, 1410 Jefferson Street, to honor the legend of Dr. John Robert Bradley on October 5.
Dr. Bradley touched the world with his unique ministry of music.
“Even though he is no longer physically present, his recorded music still has the power to touch hearts, generate inspiration, jerk a tear, and soothe our souls,” said Gregory Taylor, long time advocate and supporter of the works of Dr. Bradley. Taylor has submitted information and given presentations on behalf of ‘Sir J. Robert Bradley,’ giving him the platform to keep the memory of Bradley alive.
“This tribute is a ‘thank you’ to all the newspapers, musicians, pastors, and choirs which have printed stories about Sir J. Robert Bradley and let me say a word at your churches,” said Taylor. “A special recognition is given to Dr. Clarence Jones Heritage Choir Baton in Rouge, La. and Rev. Enoch Fuzz who introduced me to Nashville when I arrived from Atlanta.”
John Robert Lee Bradley was born October 5, 1919 in Memphis, Tennessee and became a legendary American gospel singer who was the favorite singer of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and nicknamed ‘Mr. Baptist.’ Mahalia Jackson, also a legend, once said he had the greatest voice she had ever heard.
“Nobody need mess with ‘Amazing Grace’ after Bradley gets through with it,” Jackson said.
At the age of 12 years old, Bradley was invited to sing with the Good Will Singers quartet, by Lucie Campbell. After touring with them, he studied classical music in New York and London, where he lived for six years. For a number of years he gave classical concerts singing German Lieder. During that time he recorded none of his classical repertoire.
His first record was recorded with Apollo Records in 1950. Apollo 211 sides were ‘Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel’ and ‘If Jesus Had to Pray.’ At the same session for Apollo, Bradley recorded the unreleased ‘Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone,’ ‘Poor Pilgrim of Sorrow, Lord Hear My Plea,’ and a magisterial reading of ‘He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.’
Twelve years later Bradley recorded LPs for Battle Records (1962), Decca Records (1965) and Nashboro Records (1974). In 1997, he recorded several cuts for Tony Heilbut’s collection All God’s Sons & Daughters: Chicago Gospel Legends, which Heilbut’s Spirit Feel label released in 1999. When Lucie Campbell died, Bradley took her position as National Baptist Convention director of music. In 1975, he was knighted in Liberia.
Bradley died May 3, 2007 from complications of diabetes while in Nashville, Tennessee.
While giving honor to the powerful and great works of Dr. Bradley, this program will also celebrate seniors in the community.
For more information call 615-329-1189.
Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church is located at 1410 Jefferson Street where the pastor is E. Christopher Jackson, D.Min. senior pastor.