The greatest backup group in the history of recorded music undoubtedly was the Jordanaires, a gospel group of mostly Tennessee boys, formed in the 1940s, that set the standard for studio vocal groups in the '50s, '60s, '70s, and beyond. In their sixty-five-year career, from 1948 through 2013, the recordings they sang on have sold an estimated eight billion copies.
They sang on more than 200 of Elvis's recordings, including most of his biggest hits. They were in three of his best-known movies, appeared with him on most of his early nation-wide TV shows, and toured with him for many years. Throughout Elvis's early career, they were his most trusted friends and probably his most positive influence. "No telling how many thousands of miles we rode together over those fourteen years," remembered Gordon Stoker, the group's manager and high tenor, "and most of those miles were good miles, with lots of laughs, and lots of talk about life."
While the Jordanaires' bread and butter may have been Nashville's burgeoning recording industry, it seemed that there was always a plane waiting to take them cross country to the pop sessions in L.A. They sang on most of Ricky Nelson's biggest hits and over the years backed up Andy Williams, Fats Domino, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Dinah Shore, The Everly Brothers, Glen Campbell, Patti Page, Neil Young, Perry Como, Loretta Lynn, Ringo Starr, Tom Jones, Andy Griffith, Bobby Vinton, Brenda Lee, Patsy Cline, Billy Ray Cyrus, Clyde McPhatter, and about 2,100 other recording acts.