The Crownsmen formed in 1968 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Original members Doug Sharp and Glen Steely recently added Doug Spears as lead and Buddy Bates as tenor.
Founding member and bass singer Glen Steely sang with various regional groups before feeling led to form an all male gospel group. He joined with Emmitt Spears, Doug Sharp, Art Sears and pianist Bill Hettinger. The name was chosen to reflect the Lord being King. The group organized in April of 1968, recorded their first album that fall, and purchased a bus in December of that year. In the beginning, they borrowed money to buy their first PA set and their first matching suits. Glen married Penny in 1971 and they have two daughters and five grandchildren. He was a teacher for 31 years, while serving the Lord through music on the weekends.
Founding member and baritone Doug Sharp was singing with Art in The Lamplighters before joining with Glen, Emmitt and Bill to form the Crownsmen.. While working at Avon and Wild Flavors, Doug sang with the Crownsmen for 27 1/2 years before retiring to Tennessee for 7 years. While there he sang with a group called "Perfect Peace". God moved in his heart to bring him back to Ohio. Doug, Glen and their wives then joined in prayer about returning to service in music, and felt that God was calling them to reactivate the Crownsmen. Doug and his wife, Janet, have two sons, Brian and Greg, and two grandsons, Brian Jr and Michael.
Doug Spears has been the baritone in the Landmark Quartet (Landmark Church/Landmark Baptist Temple) since 1988. He has previously sung with The Voyagers, The (original) Sonmen, Sonsation, and The Ball Family. While Landmark remains his home church, he has recently been out and about doing solo work. Though Doug was only 9 years old when the Crownsmen were formed, he has grown up listening to them, and , on occasion performing with or filling in with them. His uncle, Emmitt Spears, was the original tenor with the Crownsmen. Doug feels it is an honor and a privilege to sing with these Godly and humble men. Doug has been married to Sally for 33 years, and has three children and two grandchildren.
It has been said that Buddy Bates possesses one of the sweetest and prettiest first tenor voices in Gospel Music. He has trained with such tenor greats as Bill Baize (former tenor singer of J.D. Sumner & The Stamps), Danny Funderburke (former tenor singer of The Cathedrals), and Dr. Charles Novell. The prayer of his heart is that God would use his voice to reach people with the message of hope and healing that having a relationship with Jesus Christ can bring. He has been a member of several groups including The Mercy River Boys, Stone Ridge Quartet, The New Voice Quartet, The Sonmen and Perfect Heart. Buddy and his wife, Lisa, enjoy spending time with their grown and not-quite-grown children , Suzanne (and husband Derek), Christina (and husband Justin Handermann), Kyle, Adrienne and Brandon.