Homer Rodeheaver

Homer Rodeheaver

Real Name:
Dr. Homer Alvan Rodeheaver
Profile:
American evangelist, music director, music publisher, composer of gospel songs, and pioneer in the recording of sacred music (October 4, 1880 – December 18, 1955).

Born in Cinco Hollow in Hocking County, Ohio, he was taken as a child to Jellico in eastern Tennessee and there worked with his father in the lumber mill business. Although he learned the mountain ballads, he preferred Negro spirituals because they emphasized harmony and rhythm and had a "definite religious purpose." Rodeheaver early learned to play the cornet but switched to trombone while attending Ohio Wesleyan College, where he also served as a cheerleader.

In 1898 he left college to serve in the Fourth Tennessee Band during the Spanish-American War. Around 1904 he joined evangelist William E. Biederwolf as music director and then served, from 1910 to 1930, in the same role for Billy Sunday, the most popular evangelist of the period. (Shortly after Billy Sunday's death in 1935, Rodeheaver wrote a memoir of his relationship with the evangelist.)

Music Director for Billy Sunday
When Lowell Thomas presented Rodeheaver to the New York Advertising Club, Rodeheaver succeeded in getting the advertising agents to sing "Pray the Clouds Away." Will Rogers said, "Rody is the fellow that can make you sing whether you want to or not. I think he has more terrible voices in what was supposed to be unison than any man in the world. Everyone sings for Rody!" When Rodeheaver was introduced to John D. Rockefeller, Sr., on a golf course, Rockefeller delayed his golf game long enough to sing with Rodeheaver, "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go, Dear Lord." In 1940, Rodeheaver led the singing for 250,000 people who attended the Wendell Willkie homecoming in Elwood, Indiana.

In the days before electronic amplification, Rodeheaver quickly discovered that his trombone could be heard when his voice or the piano could not. He often led congregational singing with his trombone, switching from playing to directing half way through the song and then allowing the trombone to hang on his arm at the elbow. During a Sunday tent campaign in Kansas, a heavy storm with near-hurricane winds caused the top and sides to sag, and a quarter pole fell, striking a woman on the head. When the crowd panicked and rose to flee, Rodeheaver began playing his trombone and the crowd quieted.

In his prime, Rodeheaver also used his baritone voice to good effect as a soloist and as a participant in ensembles composed of other members of Sunday’s evangelistic team—especially duets with contralto Virginia Asher. During the heyday of the Sunday evangelistic campaigns, Rodeheaver directed the nation’s largest choruses: from a few hundred to as many as two thousand volunteers in Sunday’s various campaigns. To him there was nothing incongruous about having his choirs sing the gospel song "Master, the Tempest is Raging", followed by the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah.

Recording Career
In 1913 Rodeheaver began recording for the Victor Talking Machine Company, a relationship that lasted for twenty years. He also recorded for Gennett, Columbia and for his own Rainbow Records label. Some of his records, such as "The Unclouded Day" and "The Great Judgement Morning," were so popular that they had to be rerecorded to keep up with demand. Other records featured Rodeheaver's recitations of sentimental poetry, such as Paul Laurence Dunbar's "When Malindy Sings" (1916).

Rodeheaver appeared on at least eighteen record labels and five hundred sides during his recording career. His most recorded piece was Sunday’s theme song "Brighten The Corner Where You Are," a bouncy number of extremely limited theological depth. Rodeheaver recorded it for at least 17 different labels. Rodeheaver’s other most recorded titles were "Mother's Prayers Have Followed Me", "If Your Heart Keeps Right", "The Old Rugged Cross", "Since Jesus Came Into My Heart", "In The Garden", and "My Wonderful Dream".

Music Publisher
In 1910, Rodeheaver started his own publishing business, the Rodeheaver Company, compiling gospel songs to sell at revivals. In 1936 Rodeheaver purchased the Hall-Mack Company and merged it with his own publishing house, headquartered in Winona Lake, Indiana. Rodeheaver employed songwriters such as B. D. Ackley and Charles H. Gabriel to write songs for his company, but he also composed a number of tunes himself, including most notably, “When Jesus Came.” Around 1922, his company began issuing 78-rpm records on its own Rainbow label, the nation's first record company devoted solely to gospel music.

Billy Sunday perhaps paid Rodeheaver $80,000–90,000 over the course of their twenty-year partnership, but Rodeheaver admitted that he made more than four times that amount from other sources, especially music publishing, during those same years
Sites:
Variations:
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Artist

Homer Rodeheaver Discography

Albums

W-3267-LP Homer Rodeheaver And Mel Dibble Homer Rodeheaver And Mel Dibble - Billy Sunday Soundtrack From The Historic Motion Picture(LP) Word W-3267-LP US Unknown Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

17478 Homer Rodeheaver Daddy, That Little Chap of Mine (Recitations) / To My Son, The Mother's Love (Recitations)(Shellac, 10") Victor 17478 US 1913 Sell This Version
17456 Homer Rodeheaver The Unclouded Day / If Your Heart Keeps Right(Shellac, 10") Victor 17456 US 1913 Sell This Version
17763 Homer Rodeheaver Brighten The Corner Where You Are / I Walk With The King(Shellac, 10") Victor 17763 US 1915 Sell This Version
Homer Rodeheaver Molly And The Baby, Don't You Know / My Wonderful Dream Victor US 1916 Sell This Version
Homer Rodeheaver When The World Forgets Victor Canada 1916 Sell This Version
7158 Homer A. Rodeheaver* Brighten The Corner Where You Are / A Rainbow On The Clouds(Shellac, 7") Emerson Records (2) 7158 US 1916 Sell This Version
7191 Homer A. Rodeheaver* Since Jesus Came Into My Heart / If Your Heart Keeps Right(Shellac, 7") Emerson Records (2) 7191 US 1916 Sell This Version
18373 Homer Rodeheaver Make Somebody Happy To-day / Tell It To-day(Shellac, 10") Victor 18373 US 1917 Sell This Version
A2284 Homer A. Rodeheaver* He Knows The Way / My Wonderful Dream(Shellac, 10") Columbia A2284 US 1917 Sell This Version
Chautauqua Preachers' Quartette / Virginia Asher, Homer Rodeheaver Chautauqua Preachers' Quartette / Virginia Asher, Homer Rodeheaver - When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder / In The Garden Columbia US 1919 Sell This Version
A2833 Homer A. Rodeheaver* And Virginia Asher Homer A. Rodeheaver* And Virginia Asher - When I Look In His Face / Still Undecided(Shellac, 10") Columbia A2833 US 1919 Sell This Version
Homer Rodeheaver / Mrs. William Asher* - Homer Rodeheaver Homer Rodeheaver / Mrs. William Asher* - Homer Rodeheaver - All The Way To Calvary / Where The Gates Swing Outward Never Victor US 1921 Sell This Version
18720 Homer Rodeheaver Carry Your Cross With A Smile / Tell Me The Story Of Jesus(Shellac, 10") Victor 18720 US 1921 Sell This Version
4987 Homer Rodeheaver The Unclouded Day / Laying My Treasure Up There(Shellac, 10") Gennett 4987 US 1922 Sell This Version
1039 Homer Rodeheaver When Malindy Sings / Pals(Shellac, 10") Rainbow (12) 1039 US 1922 Sell This Version
1039 Homer Rodeheaver Safe In The Arms Of Jesus / I Walk With The King(Shellac, 10") Rainbow (12) 1039 US 1922 Sell This Version
1073 Mrs. Asher* And Homer Rodeheaver Mrs. Asher* And Homer Rodeheaver - No Disappointment In Heaven / Take Up Thy Cross(Shellac, 10", Single, Mono) Rainbow (12) 1073 US 1923 Sell This Version
5227 Homer Rodeheaver Somebody Cares / Where They Never Say "Good-Bye"(Shellac, 10") Gennett 5227 US 1923 Sell This Version
5534 Homer Rodeheaver Love Found A Way / I Love To Tell The Story(Shellac, 10") Gennett 5534 US 1924 Sell This Version
Homer A. Rodeheaver* Is My Name Written There? / We Are Going Down The Valley Columbia US 1925 Sell This Version
3825 Homer Rodeheaver The Ninety And Nine / When They Ring Those Golden Bells(Shellac, 10") Silvertone 3825 US 1925 Sell This Version
588-D Homer A. Rodeheaver* And Doris Doe Homer A. Rodeheaver* And Doris Doe - No Disappointment In Heaven / Love Led Him To Calvary(Shellac, 10") Columbia 588-D US 1926 Sell This Version
Homer A. Rodeheaver* Brighten The Corner Where You Are / If Your Heart Keeps Right Columbia US 1917 Sell This Version
5089 Asher* And Rodeheaver* Asher* And Rodeheaver* - No Disappointment In Heaven / Take Up Thy Cross(Shellac, 10") Silvertone 5089 US 1927 Sell This Version