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GLENN, DARRELL ORVIS
Darrell Glenn (right) poses with early rocker Gene Vincent. Glenn’s greatest claim to fame was his hit recording “Crying in the Chapel,” which was written by his father Artie. The song was later recorded by a host of artists, including Elvis Presley, whose version hit Number 1 in 1965. Courtesy of Dragon Street Records, Inc.
GLENN, DARRELL ORVIS (1935–1990). Darrell Orvis Glenn, country singer and songwriter, was born on December 7, 1935, in Waco, Texas. He was the son of Artie and Foy Glenn. His father played guitar and bass fiddle for a number of groups including the Light Crust Doughboys. The family moved to Fort Worth, and Darrell Glenn attended J. P. Elder Junior High and Fort Worth Technical High School. He shared his father’s musical talent and was a regular vocalist on Fort Worth’s Bewley Barn Dance on WBAP-TV.
While still in high school, Darrell Glenn recorded a song called “Crying in the Chapel,” which was written by his father. Artie Glenn later recalled that he was inspired to write the song after recovering from spinal surgery when he went to pray and repent at Fort Worth’s Loving Avenue Baptist Church (the “Chapel” in the song). His son, Darrell, originally made a demo recording of “Crying in the Chapel” in Fort Worth in 1953. It was produced by Artie Glenn, whose group the Rhythm Riders provided instrumental backup. It was turned down by several publishers until accepted by Valley Records out of Knoxville, Tennessee. Within two months the record sold thousands of copies and went on to be a national hit. After Darrell Glenn graduated, he embarked on a promotional music tour through the United States and Canada. He also toured with Bob Hope. Later that year, the group the Orioles also recorded the tune.Elvis Presley recorded “Crying in the Chapel” in 1960, and it was released in 1965 to become a Number 1 hit.
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Glenn appeared on Big D Jamboree and was a lead vocalist for the Commodores. (His father wrote their song “Uranium” in 1955.) In 1959 he released an album of inspirational numbers for National Recording Corporation. The record included a new version of “Crying in the Chapel,” and Ray Stevens and Jerry Reed were among the backing artists on the LP. By this time Glenn was co-owner of the Glendale label.
Darrell Glenn also had success as a songwriter and wrote “Indescribably Blue,” which was recorded by Elvis Presley; “Bear With Me a Little Longer,” covered by Eddy Arnold; and “Only the Redeemed,” which was recorded by Kenneth Copeland and received a Grammy nomination. In addition to Valley Records, Glenn worked with the RCA, Fashion, Columbia, Pompeii, and other labels. He served as Pompeii’s head of A&R in 1968.
He died of cancer on April 9, 1990, in Fort Worth and was buried in Bluebonnet Hills Memorial Park in Colleyville in Tarrant County, Texas.
“Darrell Orvis Glenn (1935–1990),” Find A Grave Memorial (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=14629629), accessed June 28, 2011. Jim Jones, “Modest church inspired an Elvis hit,” April 4, 1998, Abilene Reporter–News Archives (http://www.texnews.com/1998/religion/chapel0404.html), accessed June 28, 2011. Orlando Sentinel, April 13, 1990.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Laurie E. Jasinski, "Glenn, Darrell Orvis," accessed April 25, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fgl23.
Uploaded on August 7, 2014. Modified on October 24, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.