Mighty Clouds of Joy’s frontman Joe Ligon dies at 80
Joe Ligon, the dynamic frontman of the Grammy-winning gospel group Mighty Clouds of Joy, died at the age of 80 on Sunday morning (Dec.11).
It was Pastor Isaac Lindsey, the group’s manager, who announced the sad news on the band’s website. He did not specify the cause of death but asked to respect the family’s privacy during “this time of bereavement” and added “we mourn the loss of a very good and amazingly humble man”.
Joe Ligon founded the Mighty Clouds of Joy in the 1950s with several classmates at Thomas Jefferson High School in Los Angeles. In a break with tradition, the group added bass, drums and keyboards to the standard guitar backup and developed a funky sound that split the difference between gospel and rhythm and blues.
The American traditional gospel music band scored numerous Grammy Awards and nominations, as well as several hit albums along the way. The original group members included also Johnny Martin, Ermant Franklin Jr., Artis Turnbough, Elmo Franklin, Richard Wallace, Leon Polk and David Walker.