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Henry Slaughter was the original piano player for the Iperials. He was born on a tobacco farm near Roxboro, North Carolina, to parents Moses "Chummie" and Lila Slaughter. At the age of seven Slaughter was able to take piano lessons. Until then, he had health issues, including a heart murmur and scarlet fever. After graduating from high school with honors, he attended the Stamps-Baxter School of Music in Chattanooga, Tennessee. After a few months there, he was called to join the Army in World War II. In the 1940s, soon after being released from the Army, he was asked to join the Ozark Quartet as a singer. Six months later, he became the piano player for The Imperials.

Along the way, he wrote numerous songs that are considered gospel classics, including "What a Precious Friend is He," "Lonely Mile", "If The Lord Wasn't Walking By My Side" (recorded by Elvis Presley, on How Great Thou Art), and "I've Never Loved Him Better Than Today." In 1965, the Imperials released a full album of his songs, called Slaughter Writes - Imperials Sing.

Henry married Hazel Myers in Laurel, Mississippi on December 22, 1952. Today, he and Hazel live in Tennessee. He continues to write his internationally acclaimed "I Remember" column for, featuring precious memories of the people and places during the past seven decades on the road as one of Gospel music's premier keyboard artists.


Henry Slaughter is a cousin of Enos Slaughter, St. Louis Cardinals baseball player and member of MLB Hall Of Fame.



  • His autobiography, In Search of the Pearl of Great Price ISBN 1453894241, written with Darryl Hicks, was published in 1980.

  • 1996: Inducted into the Southern Gospel Piano Roll of Honor

  • 1973–77: GMA Dove Award for Instrumentalist of the Year

  • 2006: Inducted into Southern Gospel Music Association's Hall Of Fame

  • Henry Slaughter Artist At Work  3 versionsHeart Warming Records1965

  • The Henry Slaughter Gospel Piano Course ‎(LP)Harvest Time PublishersLPM-PC1969

  • Slaughter On Church Street ‎(LP, Album)Heart Warming RecordsR31991972

  • The Keyboards Of Henry Slaughter ‎(LP, Album)Heart Warming RecordsR33071975

  • Thanks.. I Think I'll Play One ‎(LP, Album)Heart Warming RecordsR34391976

  • Favorite Gospel Hymns ‎(LP)ShalomR40011979

  • Gospel Organ Technique (Demonstration Record For Book III)  2 versionsNot On LabelUnknown

  • Gospel Organ Technique  2 versionsNot On LabelUnknown

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