Everything Is Going Down, But The Word Of God……Singer Joe Ligon, the dynamic frontman of the Grammy-winning gospel group Mighty Clouds of Joy, has died. He was 80.
However, according to Rev. CL Franklin’s former organist that is not now a prominent bishop and pastor in Atlanta, Wille Joe Ligon is Aretha Franklin’s half brother. The dear bishop was discussing this good old back in the day gossip in his office after service when the word was getting out of his passing. Only time will tell if the truth will come out. Death has a way of bringing out the best and the worst in people. Now it has always been rumored that CL Franklin was one of the most ratchet preachers that ever walked the plant and constant rumors about his life and no good deeds continue to surface. Could it actually be true that Joe was CL’s bastard son and in those good old days it was kept hush hush. It never was determined what actually happened to CL, who died as a result of being attacked and robbed at his home, was it one of his women or ungodly ways that claimed his life under a cloud of suspicion. Now it remains to be seen if the truth will come out and just how will Joe’s obituary read or even if his half sister will make an appearance at the funeral.
Ligon was born in Troy, Alabama, but moved to Los Angeles 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.
The original members of the band include Johnny Martin, Elmo and Ermant Franklin, Leon Polk and Richard Wallace. They won back-to-back Grammy Awards in 1978 and 1979 for best soul gospel performance, traditional, and again in 1991 for best traditional soul gospel album.
“Steal Away to Jesus” was their first recording in 1960, with their first album debuting in 1961 on Peacock Records.
With a singing style derived from Southern Baptist churches, Ligon would shout, scream and jump into the crowds, which he called “cuttin’ the fool,” and would deliver sermons in between songs. Among Mighty Clouds of Joy’s most popular songs: “Time,” which crossed over to the R&B charts in 1974, and “Mighty High,” a 1975 disco hit.
They become the first gospel act to ever appear on “Soul Train,” which earned them criticism among traditional gospel music fans.
“We were one of the first groups to do contemporary gospel. And we got stoned for it,” Ligon told The Associated Press in a 1993 interview.
Their crossover success brought them additional recognition, and they opened for the Rolling Stones, Paul Simon and Aretha Franklin. They played for President Jimmy Carter and toured extensively overseas.
Ligon told the AP that at the age of 56 he could hit every note that he could at the age of 18.
“Gospel singers don’t retire, you know, they just die doing what they do,” he said.