Martin Cook (June 29, 1936 - February 23, 2022)
Martin Cook briefly played piano for the Kingsmen Quartet in 1958. He soon pursued a career teaching science at Swain County High School in Bryson City, North Carolina.
Cook organized The Inspirations in 1964 with four students (Archie Watkins, Ronnie Hutchins, Jack Laws, and Troy Burns). They got their start practicing in the basement of Cook's house. After finding success locally, they expanded their territory and Cook quit teaching school to manage the group full-time, play piano, and act as their emcee.
They launched an annual singing festival in 1967 called the Singing In The Smokies. They following year, they began appearing on the nationally syndicated television show Gospel Singing Jubilee which made them a household name.
Cook's son Myron joined him on stage in 1981 to play bass guitar.
Cook retired from traveling in 2017.