Joe Ligon, Grammy Award Winning Lead Singer of Mighty Clouds of Joy Dies at 80

Joe Ligon, the Grammy Award winning lead singer and founder of the gospel group The Mighty Clouds of Joy, has passed away. He was 80. His manager, Isaac Lindsey, released a statement that Ligon died Sunday, December 11, in Georgia.

Born Willie Joe Ligon, the dynamic singer was an Alabama native but moved with his family to Los Angeles when he was just 14. Ligon formed The Mighty Clouds of Joy gospel group in 1955 during his high school years. The group which was comprised of Johnny Martin, Elmo and Ermant Franklin, Leon Polk and Richard Wallace.

Their first recording was "Steal Away to Jesus" in 1960 with their first album debuting in 1961 on Peacock Records. In 1978 and 1979, the quartet won back-to-back Grammy awards for best traditional soul gospel performance. Their third Grammy came in 1991 when Mighty Clouds of Joy won best traditional soul gospel album for “Pray for Me." One of The Mighty Clouds of Joy's most popular songs "Time" was a cross over hit on R&B charts in 1974, and "Mighty High" was a 1975 disco hit.

Ligon and The Mighty Clouds of Joy have opened for superstar artists Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones and Paul Simon.

Funeral arrangements for Ligon are pending.
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