Sherrill "Shaun" Nielsen

September 10, 1942December 10, 2010

Famous Southern Gospel Singer and Elvis Presley's favorite singer, Sherill “Shaun” Nielsen, went to be with his Lord and Saviour on Friday, Dec. 10, 2010. His devoted wife, Brenda Hall Nielsen, was by his side and held his hand as he crossed over the River Jordan.

The great Southern Gospel Concert and Homecoming Celebration of Sherrill's life and ministry will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010, in the Family Life Center at the First Church of Nazarene, 5415 AL Hwy 157, Cullman, AL with Pastor Aaron Coffey officiating., under the direction of Moss Funeral Services, 1901 2nd Ave, N.W., Cullman, AL. Visitation will be from noon to 2 p.m. at the church.

Music, song and praise will be performed by many legends in the Southern Gospel world of music. Sherrill “Shaun” Nielsen, will be flown to the great state of Texas and buried next to Sherrill and Brenda's only child, SherRee' Elicia Nielsen, in the Cathedral in the Pines Cemetery, Monday, Dec. 20, in Tyler, TX.

He was born Sept. 10,1942, in Montgomery, AL, to Virginia Evelyn Jackson and Charlie Whitaker. He graduated from Robert E. Lee in Montgomery, AL, and then onto Trevecca Nazarene College in Nashville, TN. He then proudly served his country serving in the Air Force with the Air Force Strategic Command Band, Omaha, NE.

Little did the world know what to expect when Sherrill was born. God gave him one of the most amazing tenor voices today. Sherrill started his singing career at the age of 4 singing in his local Nazarene Church in Montgomery AL, where Mom and Dad Speer attended. Sherrill started his professional music career at the tender age of 14. He won the Mr. America Youth Singer at the Coliseum in Montgomery, AL. At age 15, he cut his first solo LP - “A Name I Highly Treasure.”

In 1961, he joined the Singing Speer Family. While with the Singing Speer Family he was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. This was the stepping stone for his legendary 50-plus year career in Southern Gospel Music. Sherrill teamed up with Jake Hess and formed the Illustrious Imperial Quartet, which won him another induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

In late 1966, Sherrill moved to California and re-joined the Songfellows Quartet headed up by Bob Jones Sr. He then moved on to the Plainsmen who was working with Gov. Jimmie Davis. Then had a solo career and later put together a group that Elvis later named “Voice.” He was singing at the Grand Ole Opry when he got the call from the Elvis Presley Association to become Elvis' backup singer. He stayed with Elvis, as a solo act, up until Elvis' death in 1977.

It is well documented by Felton Jarvis, Elvis' producer that Sherrill was Elvis' favorite singer. In 1977, Elvis and Sherrill's duet, “Softly As I Leave You” was nominated for a Grammy as Duet of the Year. Elvis always told him, “Sherrill, God loves you, but He loves you best when you sing.”

He then joined Hovie Lister and the Sensational Statesmen. What a lineup of talent, the best of the best. Hovie Lister, Doy Ott, Jim Hill, Big Chief and Sherrill. This earned him another induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Later the group transitioned into the Masters V.

In 1990, Sherrill moved to his grandfathers homeland of Denmark and stayed there for 14 years. While residing in Denmark, he began writing gospel music, and he introduced Southern Gospel Music to the churches, performed concerts and traveled all over Europe. In 2004, he got a life changing e-mail from Houston, TX, and moved to Houston in June 2004. The life-changing message was from his first love, Brenda Hall, whom he married in December 1963. They went their separate ways in 1967 and 40 years after the fact, the two lovebirds got back together, remarried and thus, he put Voice back together.

Sherrill and Brenda performed as a duo, traveling all over the world. Sherrill just recently put together a premier gospel group "Sherrill Nielsen and Voice, consisting of Mike Martin, Nick Fike, Sean McCaw and Sherrill. Sherrill's ministry has touched hearts and lives all over the world. He received two legendary awards for his dedication to gospel music, a proclamation from the Governor of Alabama, and in June 2011 was scheduled to be honored by the Music City Gospel Showcase as “As Pioneer and Legendary Performer.” In March 2010, Sherrill was diagnosed with lung cancer.

You can read more about this amazing legend and his legacy at their website

Preceding him in death are his grandparents, Christian Richard and Virgie Lee Jeter. His grandparents adopted him, thus, allowing him to become Sherrill “Shaun” Nielsen; and a daughter, SherRee' Elicia Nielsen, who was killed on her 20th birthday by a drunk driver.

Survivors include his wife and the love of his life, Brenda Hall Nielsen. They were first married in 1963, went their separate ways in 1967, and remarried June 2004; sister, Sharon Stoenner, Jacksonville FL; sister, Jane Whitaker, Windsor, CN; brother, Steve Stoenner, Taylors, SC; and brother, Gary Whitaker, Windsor, CN.

He has cousins in the Cullman area: Dr. John Nielsen, Tommy Nielsen, Christian Nielsen and their sister, Nancy Davis from Jackson, MS (all children of the late Dr. Elmer and Annie Lee Nielsen). Sherrill and Brenda have many friends that may not be blood relatives but have and hold a special place in their heart. Henrik and Mette Salomon from Svendborg, Denmark, are at the top of that list. Sherrill called Henrik his son.


  • Visitation Thursday, December 16, 2010
  • Funeral Service Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sherrill "Shaun" Nielsen

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Ed Haun

January 9, 2015

Sherrill and Brenda are God loving, God fearing friends and I enjoyed very much knowing Sherrill and listening to his fantastic voice..Elvis said it right when he told Sherrill "God loves you but he loves you best when you sing." I know he is singing in Heaven at this moment. What a talent; the best.

Pamela Wallace

June 10, 2014

You were the best in my book.

Jim Stephens

June 12, 2013

What an amazing talent Jim Stephens

January 17, 2013

Sherrill was a class act! Years before his association with Elvis, he was known as one of the very best in Gospel music. I enjoyed performing with him and, above all, his friendship. Rest in Peace, My Friend.

Steve & Shirley Warren

Carl Curtis Hughes

August 4, 2012

I met Sherrill at the community center in Montgomery when we were both 14 years of age. I had started a rock band and was looking for a singer. Sherrill and I sat there singing gospel music most of the afternoon. I eas totally taken by his voice and even though we never sang professionally, I never forgot his name or that amazing voice. I completely lost touch after that meeting. I went on to sing Country music and never saw or heard about him again. I left the music business and later became a Chaplain in Waynesville, NC after working in Africa for over 30 years.
Sherrill, May our Savior and God open wide their arms to accept you into heaven..and the God Lord willing we will meet again in heaven. My sincere love to your family.
Chaplain Carl Curtis Hughes

Joy S.

July 20, 2012

I have known Sherrill for many years, we sang on concert stages together when he was with Jake Hess and the Imperials. He was a great singer but he was an even greater person. I am so very sorry to hear of his "home going" but I can still close my eyes and hear that wonderful, pure voice of his and know that he truly has the peace that we that are left here can only imagine at this moment in time. He is a great loss not only to the world of music but to the world as a person. May God wrap his big arms of love around you "Shaun" Sherrill, my dear friend. And may He also surround his family with a peace that only He can do.

Bonita Bohannon

February 13, 2012

To the family,I am so very sorry for your loss. Shaun was an amazing singer.
I was dancing on a benifit telethon that he was singing on in Dodge City, KS. He was such a remarkably nice person. He truly impressed everyone there. I felt blessed to have met him.

Scott C

January 29, 2012

Elvis, J.D. Charlie, and Sherrill all together in Heaven Singing for the Lord Jesus Christ.. Cant wait to see that concert when im up there.
R.I.P. Sherrill....

Liz Heflin

October 8, 2011

My condolences to the family of Sherrill "Shaun" Nielsen.
The song, "Softly, as I Leave You" has been in my mind, this A.M. & I was curious, as to who sang it, with Elvis. God gave them both a marvelous gift, which I'm glad the world got to hear !!!

Shirley Boerstler

January 28, 2011

To the Family~ Sorry for your loss...He was one of my favorite singers! I would see him when he toured with JD and at the Dove Awards~ Loved his voice..
He touched the hearts of many...You will be greatly missed. Rest In Peace