Another Quartet Soldier Gone: Claude Jeter Dies

Anthony Heilbut (The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Times) informed TBGB today that Rev. Claude Jeter, the amazing high tenor lead singer and original member of the famed Swan Silvertones, went home to glory yesterday, January 6, 2009.

Jeter was 94 years old and living in New York City at the time of his death.

The Swans were among the Golden Era’s most beloved and revered gospel quartets. They drew huge crowds for their programs and recorded for top labels such as King, Specialty, Vee Jay, HOB, and Savoy.

A line from the Swan Silvertones’ classic recording “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep,” as led by Jeter, inspired Paul Simon to compose another classic, “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

The location of the NEW YORK CITY Homegoing Service for Rev. Claude Jeter has been changed. The service will now take place Friday January 16, 2009 at:

LaGree Baptist Church
362 West 125th Street (St. Nick & Morningside Aves.)
New York City, NY

Viewing will start at 4:00 p.m. & the service will start at 7:00 p.m.

Cards & condolences in New York can be sent in care of:

Virginia Cotton
P.O.Box 514
New York City, NY 10029

In lieu of flowers in New York City area, donations will be accepted in care of Virginia Cotton, who is taking care of the church arrangements in NYC.

The final service will be in Detroit, MI on Wednesday, January 21, 2009: wake 12-8 p.m. Thurs, January 22, 2009: 10:30 a.m. service at The Jeter Memorial Chapel; 8436 West Chicago, Detroit. Tele.: 313-834-6100 & fax: 313-834-6191.

Cards To
Ms. Gwen Davis 114
Lillie, LA 71256

Condolences can be faxed to the Jeter Memorial Chapel, Detroit: 313-834-6191.

Read an article on Rev. Jeter that was written by David Hinckley and posted today in the New York Daily News. Anthony Heilbut contributes to the story.

About Bob Marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.


  1. I just started getting into older gospel music a couple of years ago, I came from a country blues background. One day I realized that gospel music was the style that I really want to pursue. I’m always a bit saddened when I read or hear about another pioneer of American music passing on. There are so few left. It’s interesting, I was just listening to the Swan Silvertones yesterday. I really appreciate your blog. thank you.

  2. Thank you, Ben. You are correct — we have lost so many great artists. Makes those legends who are still with us even more precious.

  3. God bless the Jeter Family in there time of loss. Remember Earth has no sorry that heaven can not heal. This was a great pioneer of the quartet singers.

    Robert Mattox, John Hubbard, James Gibbs and Darin Rucker

    WSGC-105.1 Elberton, GA

  4. I grew up on gospel music and we always listen to Claude Jeter’s albums. He will be greatly missed. There was a prayer he prayed and I was always inspired by it. He wil forver live in our hearts.

  5. I am very saddened by the demise of Rev. Claude Jeter. I had the opportunity to meet him 17 years ago when employed at The Goodman Group. The Goodman Group, has several familiar catalogs of music publishing under it’s umbrella, to name a few,Chess Records & Arc Music. Eugene Goodman brother of Benny Goodman, the famous clarinet player run the publishing business. Mr. Jeter, came in the office to meet with Mr. Gene Goodman to chat about anew business venture… I was absolutely flabbergasted. I remember him singing “It’s Gonna Rain” when I was a child… and it became 1 of my favorite songs to sing even today, at 41. I appreciate the gospel music of his era much more than the selection of today.. He will be greatly missed by my soul…. but his song will never die. He was a total gentlemen, and exude the spirit of an Angel. My deepest sympathy to the family… BONITA MERRITT CHASTEN

  6. Bonita, Rev. Jeter had a number of royalty statements in his files from various publishing companies. The amounts ranged from pennies to just a few tens of dollars. Despite his musical output he still traveled and performed in his later years for income. A gas station map in his apartment showed the route of one of his last solo tours.

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