1903–1992
Redd Harper

Sep­tem­ber 29, 1903, No­co­na, Tex­as.

Feb­ru­a­ry 16, 1992, Los An­ge­les, Cal­i­for­nia.

For­est Lawn Mem­or­i­al Park, Los An­ge­les, Cal­i­fo­rnia.

Harper grew up pri­mar­i­ly in Ok­la­ho­ma, where he had ma­ny in­flu­enc­es, both re­li­gious and mu­sic­al, that would shape his fu­ture. He grew up with two de­vout­ly Chris­tian friends who, over time, were part­ly the cause of him ac­cept­ing the faith.

He was a na­tur­al gui­tar play­er and had an in­ter­est in tra­di­tion­al west­ern coun­try mu­sic, but also new­er genres such as west­ern jazz, lead­ing him to learn to play the trum­pet as well.

In his teens, he dis­con­tin­ued his work as a cat­tle hand and ranch­er to pur­sue jour­nal­ism. He en­roll­ed in the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Ok­la­ho­ma and, up­on grad­u­a­tion, beg­an work as a news­pap­er re­por­ter. How­ev­er, he al­ways as­pired to be­come a coun­try mu­si­cian.

Harper was a part of a con­cert band that be­came more and more suc­cess­ful, un­til they were in­vit­ed to join an Ok­la­ho­ma Ci­ty ra­dio sta­tion in 1924. From there, his ca­reer took off, and his mu­sic was in great­er de­mand. In 1931 he joined a larg­er ra­dio sta­tion in Des Moines, Io­wa, found more suc­cess, and de­cid­ed to head to Hol­ly­wood, Cal­i­for­nia. How­ev­er, he ar­rived at the end of the west­ern jazz era and the start of the Great De­pres­sion, mak­ing it hard to find work. When World War II start­ed, he joined the Coast Guard for three years.

After the war, he found suc­cess again in Hol­ly­wood as he be­gan work­ing with other big name artists of the time from both ra­dio and ci­ne­ma. Dur­ing this time, he also worked the movie in­dus­try and starred in sev­er­al films, in­clud­ing The Straw­ber­ry Roan.

In 1950, Har­per at­tended a Hol­ly­wood Chris­tian meet­ing and was ful­ly con­vert­ed. Chris­ti­an­i­ty be­came the pre­dom­in­ant in­flu­ence in his life, and his songs be­gan to reflect the change. He start­ed com­bi­ning his mus­ic­al tal­ents with his new pas­sion for evan­gel­ism.

Some time af­ter his con­ver­sion, he went on mis­sion­a­ry ex­pe­di­tions to the South Pa­ci­fic, New Zea­land, Aus­tral­ia, the Phi­lip­pines, Hong Kong, Ja­pan, Eur­ope, and Af­ri­ca. He spent the rest of his life in evan­gel­ism.

  1. Each Step of the Way
  2. Five Minutes More
  3. Lord, Keep Your Hand on Me