percussionist and vocalist from Paducah, Kentucky, who was a member of John
Daniel’s quartet and attended Peabody College, where he met his
future wife, Dorothy.
In April 1952,
Hoyt joined The Jordanaires, supplanting lead
singer and second tenor, Bob Hubbard.
When Monty Matthews left in October, he took over the baritone
slot. Hoyt was a member of The Jordanaires who are best remembered as recording with
Elvis Presley. Some of their
early recordings with Elvis include “Don’t Be Cruel”,
“Hound Dog”, “Jailhouse Rock”, “Treat Me
Nice”, and “All Shook Up”. The Jordanaires
often appeared in his films, such as King
Creole, Clambake, and G.I. Blues.
All of this
did not preclude them from recording with other artists, however. In April 1958, they sang back-up on
Hank Snow’s album, When Tragedy
Struck. The month it hit
the shelves, January 1959, they were in the studio with Patsy Cline
recording “I’m Blue Again”, “I’m Moving Along”,
and “Love, Love, Love Me Honey Do”. They also famously backed her up on
her 12 Greatest Hits.
In 1960, Elvis
released Elvis is Back! and The Jordanaires were back
with Elvis. Some other cuts
from that year included “His Hand in Mine”, “Lonely
Man”, and “Surrender”. The following year, they recorded
“Follow That Dream”, “His Latest Flame” and
“Little Sister” with The King.
Hoyt would sit in after hours at a night club in Nashville with Larry
Womack’s trio. On one
occasion, all four of The Jordanaires stopped in
and were requested to sing “Hound Dog”, which they did, with
Larry doing a bang-on Elvis impersonation. It was such a crowd-pleaser, Larry
wound up learning more of Elvis’s songs so he could keep the gimmick
In 1963, they
were back with the real Elvis, recording “Bossa
Nova Baby” and “Witchcraft”. They also worked their magic on a
number of Hal Willis recordings, including “North to
Alaska”. In 1965, they
were off to the Middle East, recording music for the Elvis flop, Harum Scarum. The ambient tambourine was played by
Hoyt, whose other instruments included the cymbals, organ, and piano. The Jordanaires
also found time to cut a single under their own name, “Malibu
Run” backed with “Who Does He Think He Is”.
In 1968, Hoyt
became ill and Duane West became his part-time, temporary replacement. By October of the following year, he
was well enough to rejoin The Jordanaires on the
Waylon Jennings album, Singer of Sad
Songs, which hit the shelves in November 1970.
In 1972, they
accompanied Tom T. Hall on recordings that would appear on the double-album
set, We All Got Together
and Kris Kristofferson on Jesus Was a
Capricorn. They were very
busy in 1973, recording background vocals for Ms. Marti Brown, This is
Henson Cargill Country, and Now
Presenting Troy Seals. In
1978, they re-emerged to join an all-star cast on the Billy Swan LP, You’re OK, I’m
OK. The album also featured
Rita Coolidge, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Booker T. Jones, Kris
Kristofferson, and Leo Sayer.
October 1982, still active and performing with The Jordanaires,
Hoyt died of what was deemed to be cardiac arrest.
His is the
baritone that is most closely associated with The Jordanaires’
sound, and it is preserved on Elvis CD compilations such as Good Rockin’
Tonight: The Best of Elvis Vol.
1, The King of Rock
‘n’ Roll: The
Complete ‘50s Masters, and Amazing
Grace: His Most Sacred
In 2001, Hoyt
was inducted, posthumously, into the Country Music Hall of Fame, with his