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Joe Ligon (1936 - 2016)

Getty / Daniel Boczarski

Joe Ligon (1936 - 2016)

Joe Ligon, the energetic founder and lead singer of the three-time Grammy-winning gospel group Mighty Clouds of Joy, died Sunday in Georgia, according to multiple news sources. He was 80.

The band, through its manager, Isaac Lindsey, also announced the news on the group’s official website:

“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 work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits as he did with the Mighty Clouds of Joy, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.”


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Willie Joe Ligon was born in Troy, Alabama. His family moved to Los Angeles when he was 14.

The Mighty Clouds of Joy formed in 1955 during the members’ high school years, started recording five years later, and have been performing and recording ever since.

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."

The gospel singer BeBe Winans wrote in her post on Facebook, “My prayers go out to Joe's family, friends, loved ones and fans. Such a loss to us all.”

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