Le Priority

My first reaction to the news that the LeFevre Quartet has “retired” the group’s family name - and rechristened themselves Priority - was WTF? As Adam Edwards said:

 Honestly, I don’t really understand this move whatsoever. … The group is based on Mike LeFevre’s name, status, history, etc., so is the expense of changing your name and having to create your identity again really honoring the name?  I can understand wanting to honor the LeFevre name, but wouldn’t the name be more honored if it were to continue in gospel music instead of retiring it?”

Exactly. To bring this sort of thing into focus, wouldn’t this be rather comparable to the Gaither children “retiring” the Gaither name when B&G die? Royght.

Perhaps the thinking here was that LeFevre is a brand that appeals to a generation of people with names like Urias and Eva Mae, and not the kind of music and fans this current group wants to reach (though it seems unlikely that LePriority will ever appeal to an audience that isn’t disproportionately southern gospel and so predisposed to venerate a great name in southern gospel music like LeFevre). Or maybe there’s some internecine network of financial or familial alliances behind the group that wants to move in whatever direction it is that an abstract, unbrandable concept name like Priority takes you, and so cooked up this “honor the name by ditching it” business (at least that’s one way to read the line in the press release about this move coming “in response to a request by some LeFevre family members to discontinue the name when Eva Mae was no longer able to travel“).  Who knows. To be sure, this is a “bold move,” as the group’s press release puts it, but then again, so was New Coke.

Update: a couple of readers have already emailed to say more or less the same thing: that this move doesn’t appear to have been within Mike LeFevre’s control, that he was essentially forced to stop using his own name. I take the point, and though I don’t know the particulars, I have no difficulty believing this (the general vibe coming off the group from the get-go was that LeFevre was not primarily the person calling the shots). But from a branding perspective, it’s still a bad move.

Later update: Several emails from people I trust pretty much confirm that Mike LeFevre himself had no choice or say in the matter … “due to some pettiness that existed elsewhere,” as one of my more diplomatic correspondents put it.  So there you go.

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Comments

  1. SG_Obzerver wrote:

    Wasnt “Priority” the name of the group that the infamous Kurt Young (who was with the Cathedrals tenor singer for about 5 minutes) came from? Thats fateful rendition of “This Old House” is still one the most cringe-worthy moments in SG history. Its a shame that Mike could not keep the LeFevre name…considering thats his name and all. If all of all those god-awful Blackwood-of-the-month incarnations (aka SG Hair Club for Mostly Men) managed to milk the name-recognition cow simultaneously, then what would one little LeFevre hurt?

  2. Wade wrote:

    yeah way more here than meets the eye…remember the kingsmen name being retired??? How they actually tried to spin it as a GOOD THING!!! Still would like the real story there… Pass it along if you have it!! I loved the WTF in the opening paragraph!! lol… send cards and letters to Avery not me.

  3. quartet-man wrote:

    Yeah, Priority was the name. Hopefully they got that ironed out and won’t have to change names yet again down the line the Integrity had to.

    Remember that the Stamps had to give up that name for a while too, but I don’t recall there being P.R. saying it was a great thing.

  4. Ed wrote:

    I heard Mylon and his brother was giving Mike a hard time about The Lefevre Qt name since he changed it. I bet Mylon is behind it.

  5. Not Likely wrote:

    SG_Obzerver - Kurt Young was a great singer. He just had a bad night at probably the worst time it ever could have happened. You can search YouTube and find plenty of other songs he did with the Cathedrals. Life Will Be Sweeter Someday, I’ve Just Started Living, In The Depths of The Sea and At The Cross are a few examples. His performance of At The Cross was incredible. In fact, today it would put him among the best in the business. Young had a very smooth tenor voice that was a lot more pleasant than many you’ll hear today. But that’s okay. You’re obviously just uneducated in that department.

    I do agree with you that it’s too bad about LeFevre. Seems like you’ve had a bitter experience with the Blackwoods though, haha. I guess I can understand why it would be annoying. I mean, what is there like 4 Blackwood groups now? Even with that many, the name is big enough to allow them all to pay more than most groups. Of course, that would only be annoying to somebody who’s not making any.

  6. glenpaynerules wrote:

    #5,

    It wasn’t just a “bad night”. He had multiple bad nights and just couldn’t cut it on that big a stage with a group of The Cats magnitude. I’m not saying he isn’t a good singer. I’m just saying he couldn’t perform at the level they required.

  7. redhead wrote:

    5) There was something weird about Kurt, like he was trying too hard to be sincere (talking about “I’ve just started living”), I didn’t really like him. And he may have been good but, he couldn’t touch Danny Funderburk.

    watch it - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dppyfoSpXuc

  8. redhead wrote:

    Watching it again (Ive just started living), I realized how terrible he really was on that song, I can’t even watch the whole thing…

    He wasn’t too bad on “At the Cross,” if I remember correctly, I’ll have to watch it again.

  9. Michael McIlwain wrote:

    Kurt Young was a good tenor singer. He just wasn’t able to sing high enough for the Cathedrals. If he were to sing with a group that had lower arrangements he would have done well. Not every tenor can sing as high as Danny Funderburke or Kirk Talley.

  10. Wade wrote:

    I did not think any one could be forced to stop using their own name no matter what??? Somebody help us out with an expalnation??!?!?

    I was thinking about getting my name changed to Prince!!

  11. WhatsInAName? wrote:

    I’m with Wade on “WHY?” The Blackwoods can’t even get Rick Price to stop using the name Blackwood and it’s NOT his name. How can Mike be forced to stop using LeFevre when it’s his?

  12. quartet-man wrote:

    #10, Wade, they can keep their name is they play their Card(s) well. ;)

  13. Wade wrote:

    Q-Man add me to facebook or myspace… Hey and thanks for posting that book on the piracy lawsuit!! lol… How is the Mega Church doing???

  14. Kyle Boreing wrote:

    If there WAS trouble from the family, Mike did the most logical thing….change the name and avoid a public dispute (ala The Imperials). That way they can dodge negative press. In reality, it took some class to make such a move without turning it into a war of words….if that’s indeed the case.

    I’ve always gotten the impression that David Staton was the main dude in the quartet anyway…..

  15. NG wrote:

    I can see dropping the Lefevre Quartet name if he wanted to avoid a family dispute. However, I don’t understand why Mike didn’t keep the brand by highlighting his own name and maybe he still will. He could use something like Mike LeFevre and Priority or Priority featuring Mike LeFevre.

  16. cathedralsfan22 wrote:

    I agree with Kyle in that if there was trouble from the family (which we do not know), then it was smart to avoid negative press and take the “high road”. One thing I’m not sure of is why it wasn’t changed to “Mike LeFevre and Priority”… ? This seems to be the most logical thing to do and not lose the momentum this up and coming group has had over such a short span.. and also considering that Mike is the only member of that group that anyone knows. agreed..?

  17. Sensible wrote:

    After Mike left Gold City, he had a short run starting a group called Mike Lefevre & One Voice. I was surprise he did not used the “One Voice” group name. That group did not last long.

  18. Daniel Britt wrote:

    We had Mike LeFevre and the guys in studio on Friday. They co-hosted our morning show yesterday and will be on an upcoming Daniel Britt & Friends. Honest chatter that came out of the name-change-discussion:

    Mike LeFevre works as a firefighter when he’s not singing.

    Enough said as to “why” the name was changed from being hinged on one person

    :0)

    funny, but there is some truth there that I believe.

    If the group members are all in partnership (I took away that they are), than there’s ample reason to not base the business around one namesake or personality.

    Cool guys by the way…

  19. my2centsworth wrote:

    What if Mike had fought the name change, went against the LeFevre family’s request and it become a feud with family member against family member? How smart would that have been? Good for gossip, bad for business. These guys are a class act and bring a great sound to the quartet world. I would say that the folks who like them will continue to buy their music and support them no matter what name they call themselves.

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