By his late teens he had been recruited by the Blackwood Brothers, the number-one gospel quartet in the world. In his mid-twenties while he was singing Christian songs with the Oak Ridge Quartet, Newton's mighty talent and movie-star looks took him deep into hedonism--reckless driving, heavy romancing, and addictive pill popping.
I just wanted to add, I know I'm not alone when I tell you that Calvin made an impact on my life during the early 60s when my Dad, who sang in a gospel quartet in the hills of North Georgia / Tennessee, came home one day with an album by The Sons Of Song. I never got over it. When I tell you I know I'm not alone, I recently saw a hand written letter, unsolicited by Calvin from the President of MCA Records in Nashville, Tony Brown, who had a VERY similar experience at about the same time I did.
The Sons of Song were a special piece of music history. One of the best kept secrets of that era, they now seem to be RE-Discovered by a few people who will tell you in no uncertain terms just how great they were !! " You are working with Calvin Newton ?!!? " " Hes the Elvis Presley of Gospel Music !! " A comment made by a fan. After my dad passed away in '84, I tried to find the album he'd brought home but it had somehow disappeared. I could not find another. I recently began to wonder just who these guys were, and began ( with the advent of the internet ), to try to locate any info I could about them. It was not as easy as you might think. However I did locate the founding member and lead vocalist of the group and called him up outta nowhere. We became instant friends.
Calvin is a special person, with a special gift, and I am honored to be his friend.
"I messed up," Calvin Newton lamented, after wasting thirty years and doing time in both state and federal prisons for theft, counterfeiting, and drug violations.
Calvin Newton and his group the Sons of Song, in 1957 appeared with Mahalia Jackson in concert at East Tennessee State University. This was the first racially integrated gospel concert ever in the state of Tennessee. Mahalia Jackson never appeared with any other southern gospel group except the Sons of Song in her entire career. She invited the Sons of Song to do a European tour with her, but her health failed and she was unable to make the trip.
Also, most of Calvins fans may not know about a "pop" record he did in 1961--"Just As You Are" and "Every Feeling I Have Is For You" on the flip side, which were recorded on the Scotty label, which was owned by Bill Lowery in Atlanta. Back-up singers included Ray Stevens and his wife. Both songs were written by Cotton Carrier. Carrier, Lowery and Stevens have all been inducted into the GA Music Hall of Fame where Calvin will surley be soon.
The New Book
" The Book is out now, and I could not be more excited about it !! "
" Bad Boy Of Gospel Music"
The Calvin Newton Story !!
By: Russ Cheatham
" He's the ELVIS PRESLEY of Gospel Music !! "