Formed in the late 50s by Brent Burkett (b. 28 July 1939, Steubenville, Ohio, USA), Berl Lyons, Richard Garratt and Sam Wellington in Steubenville-Toronto, Ohio, USA, the group moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and appeared on the Grand Ole Opryin April 1967. Their reception was such that they became regulars on the show and built lasting popularity from this engagement. Particularly effective in their immediate success was their rendition of ‘Shenandoah’, thereafter a staple of their repertoire. Readers of Country Song Roundup magazine named them as that year’s Most Promising Vocal Group. Signed to Mercury Records they appeared with Faron Young on 1969’s Wine Me Up and through the late 60s toured with Hank Williams, Jnr. , and also worked with Jimmy Dean and Charley Pride, touring nationwide with the latter’s show. Through the 70s, the group performed regularly at the Four Guy’s Harmony House in Nashville, then moved to the Stagedoor Lounge at the Opryland Hotel. In the late 80s and 90s, the group performed extensively on cruise liners, mainly in the Caribbean. In the mid-90s they had a long-term engagement at the Eagle Mountain Theatre in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. In addition to extended success in the USA, the group also built a European following.
Personnel changes affected the Four Guys’ line-up over the years, with Laddie Cain and John Frost replacing Lyons and Garratt in the early 80s. Burkett and Wellington remained until 1999, the year in which Burkett retired. The name of the group was licensed to their successors and the band (Cain, Frost, Glen Bates and Gary Robinson) continued to perform a similar repertoire in a similar style and was now known as the New Four Guys. The following year, the group’s long-lasting association with the Grand Ole Opry was abruptly terminated. The reasons given - the absence of original group members and limited success with records - served only to annoy their many devoted fans.