Public Art Commission honors The “5” Royales with downtown mural

Public Art Commission honors The “5” Royales with downtown mural
July 11
10:54 2024

Winston-Salem’s latest mural is dedicated to The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame group that got its start right here in the City of Arts and Innovation: The “5” Royales.

The mural, located on the wall of The Big Winston Warehouse, 724. N Trade Street, includes an image of all five members, Obadiah Carter, Jimmy Moore, Eugene and John Tanner and Lowman Pauling, and is inspired by the cover of the group’s album, “Dedicated to You,” which was released in 1957.

The mural was painted by Elio Mercado, a muralist based in South Florida, and commissioned by the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Public Art Commission. Mercado was chosen to paint the mural following a competition that was open to artists over 18 years of age who were based in the southeastern United States.

Enshrined in 2015 into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, “for two decades, from 1945 to 1965, The “5” Royales created a remarkable body of work that laid the foundation for a host of music that followed in its wake, pivotal recordings and performing techniques that helped define a variety of styles under the rock-and-roll umbrella,” reads the group’s bio at The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame website (

Before the group became known worldwide for their music, the group started as the Royal Sons Quintet, a popular local gospel group. The group would later change their name and switch to secular music as they mastered their harmonies on street corners in the Boston/Cherry Street community.

After making the change to R&B, the group would go on to influence some of the biggest names in the industry, including James Brown. One of Brown’s earlier hits entitled “Think” was a cover originally written and performed by The “5”. And Ray Charles and Eric Clapton did covers to the group’s hit song, “Tell the Truth.”

In 2016 The “5” Royales were part of the first group of artists to be enshrined on the Winston-Salem Arts, Culture and Entertainment Memorial Hall of Fame. And in 2019  the Forsyth County Historic Resources Commission unveiled a marker honoring Lowman Pauling at his former residence, 1135 N. Rich Avenue.

Although the mural can be seen now while traveling on N. Trade Street, the finished product will be unveiled during a ceremony on Aug. 11 at 1 p.m.

For more information on the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Public Art Commission, visit


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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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