News Column

Local members of Catalinas honored with induction

October 22, 2013


Oct. 22--The North Carolina Music Hall of Fame honors musicians and industry professionals who have made significant contributions to music history, and were either born in the Tar Heel state or came to call it home.

Members include famous North Carolinians like Andy Griffith and James Taylor; Jazz legends John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Nina Simone; and numerous other big-name acts like Charlie Daniels, George Clinton, Randy Travis, Ben Folds, Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson and Chairmen of the Board.

On Thursday night, three Statesville natives -- brothers Gary and John Barker and Tom Plyler -- were added to that illustrious list when the Catalinas were inducted before a crowd of more than 700 people in a ceremony at the historic Gem Theater in Kannapolis.

"We inducted the original, recording Catalinas, and that is very specific because it goes back to their first hit on Scepter Records, "You Haven't the Right," said Bill Kopald, Hall of Fame chairman.

"Their harmonies in that song are just so incredible, and they performed it last Thursday night and sounded just like they did 40 years ago."

The band needed that national hit to qualify for induction, but Kopald said NCMHOF chose the Catalinas because of their tremendous influence on music in the region.

"They are the first regional group that we've inducted. They have been around since 1957, and more than 60 musicians and vocalists have gone through that group, and many of them have gone on to lead their own groups," he said.

"So they've become among the pioneers in regional and beach music from the '50s and '60s."

Gary Barker of Statesville joined the Catalinas in 1965 and, according to the band's website, has been the glue that has held the band together ever since.

"The other guitar player was getting married for the fifth time, I believe, and decided it was time to quit. I knew all the songs because I was following them and idolized them, so he quit one night and I started the next night," Barker said Monday.

"I've never missed a job since 1965 because that's just what I do -- I love playing."

The Catalinas formed at Myers Park High School the late 1950s, and Barker said he and his brother, who plays keyboard, fell in love with their music through their many shows played at the recreation center in Statesville.

The Catalinas now have an exhibit at the NCMHOF, which Barker said includes lots of old photographs, records, memorabilia and an one of the band's old on-stage outfits.

Located in Kannapolis, the museum is free to visit Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to noon and from 2-4 p.m. For more info, visit


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