Inductees Archive

James B. Coats

J.B. Coats was born on April 6, 1901 in Summerland, Mississippi.  He attended local schools in Summerland and was a student and lover of music from an early age.  He continued his formal education by studying at Mississippi Southern College and Louisiana State University.  He also studied music with Julius Rishing, J.E. and Alvis O. Thomas, and T.B. Mosley.  At the age of just fourteen years old, Coats began teaching music classes and conducting evangelistic singing.  Coats was a teacher in public schools for most of his life.  He composed many beloved songs that have been widely printed and sung such as the gospel song “Where Could I Go?”.  Some of his outstanding songs are “A Wonderful Place”, “My Soul Shall Live On”, “I’m Winging My Way Back Home”, and “Tomorrow May Mean Goodbye”.  Many of his songs have been recorded by leading quartets and singers.  Coats was associated with Stamps-Baxter Music Company and was a lifetime staff writer for the company.  He joined the Baptist Church where he served more than thirty years as a Deacon and later answered a call to the ministry.  He died on December 15, 1961.


Induction Year




Summerland, MS


Publishing Company

Stamps-Baxter Music and Printing Company


Significant Songs

  • “Where Could I Go (But to the Lord)?”
  • “I’m Winging My Way Back Gome”
  • “My Soul Shall Live On”
  • “The Sweetest Gift of All”


Denominational Affiliation

Member and minister of the Baptist Church



Bill and Gloria Gaither singing “Winging My Way Back Home”