Lloyd Wilson Perryman (1917–1977)
Lloyd Wilson Perryman was a member of the country and western group Sons of the Pioneers for more than four decades, appearing in dozens of movies and selling millions of records. An accomplished guitarist and singer, Perryman was a fixture in Hollywood from the mid-1930s until his death.
Lloyd Perryman was born in Ruth (Fulton County) on January 29, 1917, to Samuel and Sally Perryman. He had eight older brothers and sisters. His family also lived in Zion (Izard County), where they farmed and owned a general store, prior to moving to California in 1928 when Perryman was eleven years old. There, Perryman learned to play the guitar and became involved with music while in high school.
His first radio appearance was on KERN in Bakersfield, California, when he was fifteen. That same year, he left home and moved to Los Angeles, California, singing with various groups, including the Beverly Hill Billies, one of the first bands to introduce country music to the West Coast.
He joined the Sons of the Pioneers at the age of nineteen, replacing Tim Spencer, who left the group in 1936. Shortly thereafter, group member Leonard Slye departed for a film career, using the name Roy Rogers, and Perryman’s tenure in the group was solidified for the next forty-one years, until his death.
His only time away from the band was during his three years of service during World War II. He served in the Army Air Force in Burma, obtaining the rank of staff sergeant. His last six months in Burma were spent entertaining troops up and down the Burma Road with a group of service members called the Canteen Caravan.
Perryman married Violet “Buddie” Thatcher in 1938 and they had one child, Wayne Lloyd Perryman, born on October 18, 1944.
Perryman became the leader of the group, or First Trail Boss, in 1949 with the departure of Bob Nolan. A natural baritone who could also sing tenor, Perryman could sing any part in the trio harmonies of the group’s hundreds of songs. The Pioneers had twelve Top 15 songs on the country charts between 1945 and 1949 and appeared in over ninety movies. Most notably, Perryman can be seen performing as one of the regimental singers in the movie Rio Grande, released in 1950, and as a wedding musician in The Searchers, released in 1956. Both films starred John Wayne and were directed by John Ford. By this time, Ford’s son-in-law, Ken Curtis, had become a member of the Pioneers. Perryman’s last on-screen appearance was in a 1974 episode of Gunsmoke, “The Fourth Victim.”
The Pioneers remained popular throughout Perryman’s tenure with the group, being named the Top Vocal Group of the Year in 1967 by the Academy of Country Music Awards, receiving a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1976, being named a “National Treasure” by the Smithsonian Institution in 1977, and being elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1980. Two of the group’s songs, “Cool Water” and “Tumbling Tumbleweed,” are in the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Perryman died on May 31, 1977, in Burbank, California.
For additional information:
“Lloyd Perryman.” http://www.bobnolan-sop.net/Biographies/The%20Story%20of%20SOP/Lloyd%20Perryman/Lloyd%20Perryman.htm (accessed January 2, 2018).
“Lloyd Perryman.” AllMusic.com. https://www.allmusic.com/artist/lloyd-perryman-mn0001767982 (accessed January 2, 2018).
“Lloyd Perryman.” Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0675377/ (accessed January 2, 2018).
“Sons of the Pioneers.” Country Music Hall of Fame. http://countrymusichalloffame.org/Inductees/InducteeDetail/sons-of-the-pioneers (accessed January 2, 2018).
Last Updated: 02/24/2020