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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Gospel singer Joe Ligon dies at 80

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Joe Ligon, the energetic original lead singer and co-founder of the three-time Grammy-winning group the Mighty Clouds of Joy, died Dec. 11 in Georgia.

Ligon’s passing came almost six years to the day after one of his final appearances in Indianapolis, when the Mighty Clouds of Joy appeared at a gospel concert on Dec. 10, 2010, at St. Luke’s Missionary Baptist Church. 

News of Ligon’s death was announced on the group’s official website by their manger, Isaac Lindsey. 

“While we mourn the loss of a very good and amazingly humble man, we also celebrate his remarkable life as one of the most successful artists in gospel music history and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to make their dreams come true, and to serve a cause greater than themselves,” Lindsey said. 

The Mighty Clouds of Joy became one of the first contemporary gospel groups as well as the first to perform on Soul Train with the song “Mighty High” in 1975, which climbed the R&B charts.

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 the Mighty Clouds of Joy won best traditional soul gospel album for “Pray for Me.”

Ligon’s passing leaves bass singer Richard Wallace as the only surviving founding member of the Mighty Clouds of Joy, a group that continues to perform around the world.

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