The three youngest of the six children of Louis and Marie Glaser, namely, Tompall (b. Thomas Paul Glaser, 3 September 1933), Chuck (b. Charles Vernon Glaser, 27 February 1936) and Jim Glaser (b. James Wilson Glaser, 16 December 1937), were born in Spalding, Nebraska, USA. They were raised in a farming community and, from the time Tompall was 14, he was singing in a trio with Chuck and Jim. Their break into professional showbusiness came in 1957 when they won Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Show on television. Other on-screen appearances followed and they joined Marty Robbins’ roadshow and moved to Nashville in 1958. Their first singles included a cover version of the Coasters’ ‘Yakety Yak’, and in 1959, they were signed to US Decca Records, primarily as folk singers, but they soon switched to country. They sang on several of Robbins’ records, including ‘She Was Only Seventeen’ and ‘El Paso’ and Jim and Tompall wrote ‘Running Gun’. They also toured with Johnny Cash and can be heard on his 1962 The Sound Of Johnny Cash as well as his transatlantic success, ‘Ring Of Fire’. Among their sessions are Roy Orbison’s ‘Leah’ and Claude King’s ‘The Comancheros’ and others for Patsy Cline, George Jones and Hank Snow, who also recorded Chuck’s song ‘Where Has All The Love Gone?’. Jim wrote a transatlantic pop hit for Gary Puckett And The Union Gap, ‘Woman Woman’, while Tompall (with Harlan Howard) wrote an archetypal country song in ‘Streets Of Baltimore’, recorded by Bobby Bare, Charley Pride and Gram Parsons. In 1965 they recorded a folk EP as the Charleston Trio for Bravo Records. In 1966 the brothers moved to MGM and created some of the best harmony singing in country music. Among their successes on the US country charts were ‘Rings’, ‘Gone, On The Other Hand’, ‘The Moods Of Mary’ and ‘Faded Love’. In 1971 they launched the Glaser Sound Studios in Nashville and continued to work there after disbanding in 1973.
Tompall found success as a solo artist after being part of the highly successful Wanted! The Outlaws project with Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson (the 1996 Anniversary reissue added nine tracks, plus the brand new Steve Earle song ‘Nowhere Road’, sung by Nelson and Jennings). Many Nashville outlaws recorded at the studios, notably Kinky Friedman. In 1975 Chuck Glaser, who had discovered John Hartford and Dick Feller, had a stroke that paralyzed his vocal cords, but with enormous resilience he regained his abilities. He produced Hank Snow’s The Mysterious Lady and the story-album of Christopher The Christmas Tree. Jim Glaser’s solo career floundered when he failed to have solo hits and could no longer support a band. In 1979 the brothers re-formed and, with Tompall gruffer than ever, had success with ‘Lovin’ Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again)’ and ‘Weight Of My Chains’.
In 1983 Jim was replaced by Sherrill Nielsen (also known as Shaun Nielsen), who had sung alongside Elvis Presley’s narration of ‘Softly, As I Leave You’ and released the improbably titled The Songs I Sang For Elvis. Jim had US country hits with ‘The Man In The Mirror’, ‘When You’re Not A Lady’, ‘You Got Me Running’ and ‘You’re Gettin’ To Me Again’, a US country number 1. His song ‘Who Were You Thinking Of (When We Were Making Love Last Night)?’, was a US pop hit for Dandy and the Doolittle Band. Tompall has also worked as a solo artist and his albums include love ballads from World War II. An album tribute to Bob Wills remains unreleased. He recorded ‘Ugly Women And Pick-Up Trucks’ with Jimmy Payne and he produced the 1986 Mac Wiseman, and Ethel And The Shameless Hussies’ Born To Burn.