Tim Spencer

Induction Year: 1971

Birth Name: Vernon Tim Spencer

Birth Date: 07-13-1908

Place of Birth: Webb City, Missouri

Death Date: 04-26-1974

Place of Death: Apple Valley, California

A founding member of premier Western singing group Sons of the Pioneers, Tim Spencer was also a gifted songwriter whose compositions appealed across decades. His best-known song, "Room Full of Roses," was a Top 10 country hit twice in 1949, once for the Sons of the Pioneers and again for George Morgan. Twenty-five years later, Mickey Gilley rode "Room Full of Roses" to the top of the Billboard country chart.

Born in Missouri, Spencer became enamored of the Old West as a child, when his father moved the family to New Mexico to become homesteaders. As a young man, Spencer worked in a New Mexico mine, but an accident left him with a cracked vertebra that kept him from doing grueling physical work. He began performing in New Mexico clubs, but moved to Los Angeles in hopes of finding work in the motion picture industry.

In Los Angeles, Spencer worked at a warehouse during the days and played music in the evenings. He joined with Bob Nolan and Leonard Franklin Slye — a fellow who would later become known as Roy Rogers — to form the Pioneer Trio, a group they would soon rename the Sons of the Pioneers. Brothers Hugh and Karl Farr rounded out what is considered the group's original lineup.

Trading on Western themes, intricate harmonies and elevated musical settings, the Sons of the Pioneers starred on syndicated radio beginning in 1934, and their sound and songs were soon influential across the country. Spencer wrote and co-wrote some of the group's best-known songs in the days prior to the inception of the now-standard Billboard country chart. The Sons of the Pioneers recorded in the 1930s for Decca and the American Record Corporation, adding members in order to augment the ensemble and to replace Slye, who left by 1938 to star in movies as Roy Rogers. The group signed with RCA Victor in 1945, after which Spencer's "Cigareetes, Whusky and Wild, Wild Women" and "Room Full of Roses" became Top 10 country hits. And Spencer's "Careless Kisses" was a Top 10 country hit for Red Foley in 1950.

Spencer retired in 1949, in part because of vocal problems, but he stayed on as the group's manager for several years and then went on to form gospel-oriented Manna Publishing. The original Sons of the Pioneers were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1980.

"Blue Prairie"

(written with Bob Nolan, Jim Taft)

Sons of the Pioneers1936 

"Careless Kisses"

Red Foley1950 #8 country
Russ Morgan190 #24 pop

"Cigareetes, Whusky and Wild, Wild Women"

Sons of the Pioneers1947 #5 country
Red Ingle1947 #15 pop

"He's Gone Up the Trail"

Sons of the Pioneers1941  

"Over the Santa Fe Trail"

Sons of the Pioneers1935  
Twilight Trail Boys1938  
Tennessee Ramblers1939  

"Ride, Ranger, Ride"

Sons of the Pioneers1936  

"Room Full of Roses"

Sons of the Pioneers1949 #10 country, #26 pop
George Morgan1949 #4 country, #25 pop
Sammy Kaye1949 #2 pop
Eddy Howard1949 #4 pop
Dick Haymes1949 #6 pop
Jerry Wayne1949 #6 pop
Starlighters1949 #21 pop
Mickey Gilley1974 #1 country, #50 pop


(written with Glenn Spencer)

Sons of the Pioneers1950  

"Song of the Pioneers"

Sons of the Pioneers1935  

"That Pioneer Mother of Mine"

Roy Rogers1938  

"The Everlasting Hills of Oklahoma"

Sons of the Pioneers1946  

"The New Frontier"

Sons of the Pioneers1935  
The Chuck Wagon Gang1937  

"The Timber Trail"

Sons of the Pioneers1945  

"When I Camped Under the Stars"

Roy Rogers1938  

"When the Moon Comes Over Sun Valley"

Sons of the Pioneers1941  

"Will You Love Me When My Hair Has Turned to Silver?"

Sons of the Pioneers1935  
The Chuck Wagon Gang1937  

Tim Spencer

Induction Year: 1971