An Open Letter to Jason Morales from His Dad

Armond Morales puts his heartbreak on paper

The Classic Imperials
The Classic Imperials. The Classic Imperials

In Southern Gospel circles, the name Imperials has been well known since the 1960s. Co-founded by Armond Morales, he spent over 40 years singing all over the world and winning awards. Armond wanted to leave his son a legacy and in 2005, he retired and turned the group over to Jason, doing just that. 

2005 INTERVIEW WITH THE IMPERIALS

However, retirement did not work out like the elder Morales planned and it wasn't long before he found himself back on the stage as a part of The Classic Imperials and then embroiled in a lawsuit with his own child.

At the heart of the matter was the group's name. Jason and his group filed suit in June of 2007 to force the Classic Imperials, his father's new group, to stop using the name.

In February 2008, Jason and company took the dispute public, posting the details on their website. (Archived version) Armond Morales responded by issuing an open letter of apology to Jason in October of that same year.

ARMOND MORALES - A LETTER TO MY SON

Jason, this is your dad. I feel that since the story of our dispute is now public I should write you publicly and apologize for all that has happened.

First, I must say I love you. My heart is broken as I am sure yours is too, and for that I am truly sorry. I can remember the nights as I traveled, when you were a child, lying in my bunk on the bus and wishing I were home. Your mom and I knew that from a very early age you would be in ministry. As I watched you grow and begin showing interest in music, I thanked God that a part of me lived in you.

When I made the decision to come off the road, I had come through the battle with cancer and truly felt that the 40+ years of travel had taken its toll. You must know the beating my body took with the chemo and radiation, and that even though I had beaten the cancer, I was tired and didn’t know what the future would hold.

When the opportunity in Hawaii was presented, I felt as though I would be able to retire, leave the legacy of the group to you, and all would be well. As so many people now know, the business we were working with went into foreclosure, which left your mother and I emotionally and financially drained.

When I returned to the mainland to sing, it wasn’t just to provide financially for your mother and me, it was because I wanted to finish my years serving the Lord in the only ministry I had ever known. I wanted to live close to my family and do what I love to do, with a group of guys I love doing it with. I am no threat to you or the Imperials, nor have I ever desired to be. Due to the age difference and style of music between our groups, I never anticipated there would be interference, and I believed we could successfully co-exist in ministry.

Son, I transferred to you the rights that I had in the name, The Imperials, out of love and affection for you and to support you in your ministry. I knew that I had the permission to use The Imperials name. I have only learned through our legal troubles that I did not have the right to sell that name. I truly felt that the $1 dollar I received was just a transaction of a father transferring his legacy to his son.

We will both continue to follow the path we believe God has called us to. I am no longer using the name CLASSIC IMPERIALS, only a picture of a Crown on our CD covers. I refer to myself as, "one of the Artists formerly known as The Imperials,” and this is a true statement. Please accept my public apology so the healing process can begin and we can be a family again.

Love,

Dad

It was not long after that both generations came together and talked it all out. The lawsuit was dropped and Armond Morales stopped using the name Classic Imperials. In a press release, Jason Morales said, "I love my parents deeply and I know that the public will understand the desire to resolve our family issues privately.

I know that both my parents and I will appreciate your prayers and love."

After all of that, in 2010, the younger incarnation of The Imperials, led by Jason Morales, disbanded. Armond, Paul Smith, Dave Will and Rick Evans stepped in and once again, became The Classic Imperials (this time, without any legal troubles).

Imperials Trivia

Did you know that Russ Taff was a member from 1976 to 1981?