Group Members

Jim Murray (2006)
Robbie Hiner (2006-2008)
Paul Smith (2008-present)

Rick Evans (2006-present)

David Will (2006-2018)
Lonnie Ott (2018-present)

Armond Morales (2006-2018)
Mike Schlee (2018-present)

Classic Imperials (2006-2018)


The idea for the Classic Imperials began when former Imperials members Armond Morales (bass) and Jim Murray (tenor) were both living in Hawaii. Upon returning to the US mainland, they were joined by former Imperials baritone, David Will (baritone) and Rick Evans (lead) to form the Classic Imperials.

The Classic Imperials had two changes at the tenor slot in the first two years. Murray was replaced by Robbie Hiner only a few months after the group formed in 2006. Murray later surfaced with yet another group of former Imperials that also included Terry Blackwood, Sherman Andrus, and Joe Moscheo. Near the end of 2008, former Imperials lead singer Paul Smith took over tenor duties from Hiner with the Classic Imperials.

Tension between the Classic Imperials and the Imperials began to grow when promoters who booked the Classic Imperials instead billed them as the Imperials. At one point, the Classic Imperials dropped their name entirely and stated they would be billed instead with the visual symbol of a crown (a la Prince). This branding can be seen on the first cover of their 2008 recording Standing Strong.

That same year, the Imperials had filed a lawsuit insisting that the Classic Imperials find another name. Armond Morales, who had given his public blessing to the Imperials when he left the group in 2003, stated in an interview that he had been forced out of the Imperials. After several months, the parties reached a mutual legal agreement. Armond Morales retracted his previous statement and re-affirmed he had indeed transferred rights to the Imperials name the remaining group members who were traveling with him in 2003. At the same time, the Imperials agreed that Armond could bill his group as the Classic Imperials. The Imperials would then disbanded in 2010.

In 2018, the Classic Imperials re-issued their 2008 release Standing Strong branded as "The Imperials" rather than "Classic Imperials." That same year, Armond Morales announced they were going to withdraw from touring after an appearance on the Huckabee television show with former Imperials member Russ Taff.


2008 Standing Strong (NuSpring Records/8-91366-00218-6): Mercy Found Me; Reign (featuring Jason Crabb); A Place Called Heaven; That's What Love Looks Like; Valley Of The Shadow; Journey Of Faith; Roll The Stone; Days Of Elijah; God Is Not Our Enemy; The Love Of God; Mercy And Grace (Robbie Hiner, Rick Evans, David Will, Armond Morales). (Originally issued with the "crown" cover and no artist name. Reissued in 2018 as The Imperials rather than Classic Imperials.)

2010 Still Standing Live My Life; No More Looking Over My Shoulder; Brighter Day; Heaven; Been Through The Water; God's Got Something Good For Me; Ebenezer; There's No God; If I Were Jesus; Love Speaks For Itself; Something's Wrong With The World.
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