by Caroline Pratt - Elvis Presley Fans of Nashville
Thursday, September 4th, 2014
The Sweet Inspirations, were inducted into The Rhythm, and Blues Music Hall of Fame located in Cleveland, Ohio in an induction ceremony conducted August 24, 2014 at the Canton Palace Theater. The award was accepted posthumously by the families of Myrna Smith and Sylvia Shemwell.
"We did not only accept in honor of the late Myrna Smith and the late Sylvia Shemwell, but gave well deserved credit to Estelle Brown and also to Portia Griffin, said Martin Smith, son of the late Sweet Inspiration Myrna Smith. As well as mentioned that all members of the group need to be individually acknowledged since they worked very hard. "
The Sweet Inspirations founder Emily "Cissy" Houston, was unable to attend the induction ceremony. Cissy did compose a beautiful letter that was read out loud at the ceremony, said Martin Smith, the son of the late Myrna Smith of The Sweet Inspirations. The letter merely affirmed how Cissy developed The Sweet Inspirations and expressed how very much she appreciated the acknowledgement. Cissy's late daughter Whitney Houston, was also inducted that day into the R&B Hall of Fame and Museum.
The Sweet Inspirations first record album "Sweet Inspirations" was released in 1967 on Atlantic Records. Cissy's last recording session with The Sweet Inspirations was in October 1969. The Sweet Inspirations spent many years creating albums, and backing up popular musical entertainers such as Van Morrison on "Brown Eyed Girl," and Jimi Hendrix and Aretha Franklin. In 1978, The Sweet Inspirations sang backing vocals on Frankie Valli's No.1 hit "Grease" from the film of the same name. The Sweet Inspirations last album "In The Right Place" was released in 2005.
Albums by The Sweet Inspirations:
1967 Sweet Inspirations - Atlantic
1968 Songs of Faith & Inspiration - Atlantic
1969 Sweets for my Sweet - Atlantic
1969 What the World Needs Now is Love - Atlantic
1970 Sweet Sweet Soul - Atlantic
1973 The Estelle, Myrna and Sylvia - Stax
1979 Hot Butterfly - RSO
2005 In the Right Place - Frixion
The Sweet Inspirations recorded albums and sang back up on concert tours with Elvis Presley beginning July 31st, 1969, and they continued with Elvis Presley all the way throughout to Elvis' last concert on June 26th, 1977. The exquisite voices of The Sweet Inspirations can be heard on numerous Elvis Presley albums including, "Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii" and "Elvis Recorded Live at Madison Square Garden." The Sweet Inspirations can be observed and heard on the award-winning 1972 documentary "Elvis on Tour," as well as "Elvis: That's The Way It Is."
The Sweet Inspirations were hired by Elvis Presley in 1969 without an audition, due to Elvis being very familiar with The Sweet Inspirations. Elvis stated to his musical associates and entourage that he must otain The Sweet Inspirations. The Sweet Inspirations had a close, playful and well-respected friendship with Elvis Presley. Often for several hours after Elvis' Las Vegas shows The Sweet Inspirations and The Imperials would join Elvis in his Hilton Hotel suite to sing Gospel music.
Elvis Presley Fans of Nashville wishes to acknowledge the original Sweet Inspirations members who have unfortunately passed away. Ms. Myrna Smith joined The Sweet Inspirations in 1965, and Ms. Sylvia Shemwell joined in 1968. Both ladies were very good people, who were dearly admired and respected. Myrna Smith passed away December 24th, 2010. Sylvia Shemwell passed away in February 2010. We are confident Myrna and Sylvia would have been absolutely thrilled and very appreciative of the honor of being inducted into The R&B Hall of Fame. We wish Myrna and Sylvia could have lived to see The Sweet Inspirations induction.
Estelle Brown is the only original Sweet Inspirations member still performing live today. Emily "Cissy" Houston is alive and well but does not perform with The Sweet Inspirations. Estelle Brown is joined live on stage today with Portia Griffin, who joined The Sweet Inspirations in 1994. The Sweet Inspirations perform today doing backup vocals with the Elvis: The Concert production and they continue to do many concerts worldwide with Elvis Presley Enterprises' first ever 'Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist,' Shawn Klush. The Sweet Inspirations are under management of The Dan Lentino Management Group a division of Ambassador Talent Services.
The R&B Music Hall of Fame and Museum is an independent organization honoring the historic preservation of Rhythm and Blues, Gospel, Jazz, and Hip-Hop music and African American culture. Founded back in 2010, The R&B Music Hall of Fame and Museum project was founded and developed by Sports Entertainer and Entrepreneur LaMont "Showboat" Robinson founder of Robinson Global Sports and Entertainment LLC.
The R&B Hall of Fame and Museum requires those considered for enshrinement to have R&B as their primary format, have at least 20 years in the industry and have made a significant impact in the music industry. Hall of Fame members did not have to have #1 singles to be considered and inducted.
For more information on the Hall of Fame and Museum, please visit: www.rbhalloffame.com.
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Article is COPYRIGHT (c) Caroline Pratt, all rights reserved. For noncommercial use: permission is granted with proper credit attributed to “Caroline Pratt - Elvis Presley Fans of Nashville.”