Joe Ligon lead singer and founder of The Mighty Clouds of Joy, dies at 80 (Photo Source: Facebook/Joe Ligon & The MIghty Clouds of Joy)

Joe Ligon, lead singer and founder of The Mighty Clouds of Joy, dies at 80 (Photo source: Facebook/Joe Ligon & The Mighty Clouds of Joy)

The gospel music world has lost the legendary voice of Joe Ligon, founder and lead singer of The Mighty Clouds of Joy. Ligon died over the weekend at the age of 80 and the Facebook page of the Mighty Clouds of Joy issued the following statement:

“We are heartbroken to share the news that the World’s Greatest Male Gospel Singer – Willie Joe Ligon, Founder and Lead Singer of the three time Grammy Award winning group – The Mighty Clouds of Joy of Los Angeles, California passed away today Sunday, December 11, 2016. Joe was a loving Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother, Cousin, Uncle, Mentor, and Friend to so many who loved him dearly. As much as Joe cherished his privacy, he always appreciated the expressions of good will from people around the world and from all walks of life. While we mourn the loss of a very good and 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, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves. For those who may ask what they can do to honor Joe, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a stormy day think of Joe and get comfort in knowing that he is no longer in the storm. We kindly ask everyone to please respect the Family’s privacy during this time of bereavement. -Pastor Isaac Lindsey/Manager-Joe Ligon & The Mighty Clouds of Joy

“The Mighty Clouds of Joy have been a fixture and trailblazer in gospel music since the 1960s. Their first hit was the classic “Steal Away to Jesus” a song with incredible harmony led by Ligon with bandmates Johnny Martin, Ermant Franklin Jr., Artis Turnbough, Elmo Franklin, Richard Wallace, Leon Polk and David Walker. The group ushered in a style of traditional gospel that led to the rise of Gospel such as the Winans, Commissioned, Kirk Franklin and others. The Mighty Clouds of Joy had more than two dozen albums that hit the gospel top 10 charts and even crossed over to Disco with their 1975 hit single “Ride the Mighty High.”

Mo Barnes

"Mo Betta" Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician.