Gospel singer Joe Ligon died Sunday at the age of 80. He was the electric and vibrant frontman for the Grammy award-winning group Mighty Clouds of Joy, which helped bring gospel to the mainstream.
Ligon was born in Troy, Ala. in 1936. He spent some time in Detroit, then moved to L.A., where he joined the Mighty Clouds of Joy and proved himself in the band. In an interview with the Malaco Music Group, Ligon revealed that he wasn’t originally chosen as the group’s lead singer. One night, as the group was rehearsing, the lead vocalist was having trouble with part of a song.
“I showed him how to do the part,” Ligon says. “And the old man who’s really responsible for our career … was listening. And he told me that night, ‘From now on, you’re gonna be the lead singer.’”
Gospel star Pastor Shirley Caesar says Ligon brought a remarkable energy to his performances. “He was the type of singer that would never sit down until he had torn the house up,” she says. “Just leave the house in a spiritual frenzy.
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