The Inspirations (2)
The quartet began in 1964 when Martin Cook, a teacher at Swain County High School, invited several young men to his home for evenings of singing. Later they began traveling around the area and singing at various venues.
They have been named "Favorite Quartet Of The Year" multiple times at the Singing News Fan Awards which is held in connection with the National Quartet Convention. In October 2012, at the Singing News Fan Awards held annually at Dollywood, Mike Holcomb was recipient of the Marvin Norcross-Templeton award. This award is a lifetime achievement award and is one of the most prestigious awards given in Southern Gospel.
Over the past four decades, The Inspirations have collected almost every major Gospel Music Award possible, including a gold plaque commemorating their selling a million records.
They have charted well over 60 hit songs, more than any other gospel group. The Inspirations have now recorded a combination of more than 60 projects, plus a number of studio and live videos. Their recordings can be found in Canada, Europe, Australia, and Africa. 'Inspirations' recordings have even been found in Taiwan and missionaries who have gone into the old Iron Curtain countries have brought stories back of finding their music.
The Inspirations were regular cast members of the historic "Gospel Singing Jubilee" television show which was aired nationally in the United States for many years and in 1970, the group then consisting of Archie, Ron, Eddie, Marlin and Martin, were the subject of a seven-minute documentary on CBS Television, anchored by current History Channel host, Roger Mudd.
They have been declared Kentucky Colonels, Arkansas Travelers, and they have had many special days set aside in their honor.
The quartet hosts three Annual Singing In The Smokies at the Inspiration Park. The singings are the week of July 4, Labor Day Weekend, and The Color Festival which is normally the third weekend in October. Inspiration Park is located between Bryson City, NC and Cherokee, NC. This event draws thousands of Southern Gospel fans from around the country and brings in some of the biggest names in Southern Gospel music.