Singer Joe Ligon of gospel group Mighty Clouds of Joy dies


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Singer Joe Ligon, the dynamic frontman of the Grammy-winning gospel group Mighty Clouds of Joy, has died. He was 80.

His manager, Isaac Lindsey, said Monday that Ligon died on Sunday in Georgia. Ligon’s death also was confirmed by his former booking agent Ricky DeRae.

Ligon was born in Troy, Alabama, but moved to California and started the gospel quartet in the 1950s. They were influenced by R&B groups like The Temptations, as well as the Rev. Julius Cheeks, a Los Angeles singer known for his baritone voice and onstage antics.

Fronted by the screaming, shouting Ligon, Mighty Clouds of Joy were among the first gospel groups to use an instrumental rhythm section and choreography. They won back-to-back Grammy Awards in 1978 and 1979 for best soul gospel performance, traditional, and best traditional soul gospel album in 1991.

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