Sons of the Pioneers

Celebrity Q&A
on July 6, 2002

Can you tell me about the Sons of the Pioneers? Are some of them still alive?
—Mildred K., Tennessee

The original members of the cowboy singing group—Leonard Slye, Bob Nolan, and Tim Spencer—first came together in 1933 as the Pioneer Trio. They got a new name when a radio announcer mistakenly introduced the group as the Sons of the Pioneers. Not long afterward, brothers Hugh and Karl Farr and Lloyd Perryman joined the group. By the mid-1930s, group members had begun writing songs for Westerns and acting in B movies of the genre. When Republic Pictures contracted with Slye to star in Westerns as a singing cowboy, he changed his name to Roy Rogers and left the group, but he never forgot about it. They sang together and appeared in dozens of movies and in television shows through the decades. None of the founding members are still alive, though roster changes and additions through the years brought in nine additional faces. The group continues to tour with its current members. The original sextet was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1980.

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