In Detroit, this very day marks the beginning of a violent, race-fueled riot that lasted for days and left dozens dead and countless others injured.…

Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace (pictured) was gunned down on March 9, 1997, just two months shy of his 25th birthday. With fame and all the…

  Timothy Wright was born June 17, 1947, in Brooklyn, New York, where his family attended St. John’s Fire Baptized Holiness Church of God.  It was there that he began playing piano at the age of 12 and also began to compose music for the church’s choir.  By 1969, he had moved on to Bishop […]

Clay Evans was once known as Jessie Jackson‘s personal pastor through a popular television commercial promoting music in the 1970’s, but gospel fans have long known him as a great traditional gospel artist who has created gospel gems such as “Room At The Cross”.  Born on June 23, 1925, Brownsville, Tennessee, Evans was three years […]

  Known as the Prince of Gospel, Kee picked up where Rev. James Cleveland left off when he passed away in 1991.  Although there are modern elements to his music, Kee has largely kept the traditional black choir style that Cleveland popularized alive and well with such songs as “Show Up”, “New Life”, and “Wash […]

Through the 1980’s, the Clark Sisters had the most exciting and talked about stage show in the entire gospel field. There were no laser lights and no big rig props, it was just the girls and their band, and they never ceased to turn whatever church they entered inside out and upside down.  As astounding […]

When Vanessa Bell Armstrong hit the music scene with “Peace Be Still” (with its sweeping notes and jazzy phrasing) in the 1980’s the black gospel world greeted her with awestruck wonder.  Born October 2, 1953, in Detroit, she says her mother had a dream that Armstrong would sing for the Lord when she was still […]

    In the 1950’s, the Caravans lacked the Clara Ward Singers‘ flashy costumes and stage clowning, but they more than made up for it with the quality of their many classic hits such as “Mary, Don’t You Weep,” “I Won’t Be Back,” and Sweeping Through the City.”  Even more so, the group was esteemed […]

  Long before there was a Be Be and CeCe Winans or Kirk Franklin, the Rance Allen Group was making decidedly urban flavored gospel music, strategically designed to appeal to an unchurched black audience back in the early 1970’s.  Their songs, such as “Just My Salvation,” “Ain’t No Need of Crying,” “I Belong to You”, […]

  During the 1950’s and 1960’s, there was no more famous gospel group than the Clara Ward Singers.  They conquered Hollywood with the same vengeance that they used to become the best selling gospel group of the 1950’s.  In the black church world, they were renowned for their million-sellers, such as “Packing Up, Getting Ready to Go” […]

The history of Mother Willie Mae Ford Smith in the gospel field is nearly mythical.  Her solos at annual Baptist conventions in the 1930’s suggest that she was a spell binding performer who wrecked church houses coast to coast with her blues-inspired soprano.  She was also the inventor of the sermonette.  Before her, no artist […]

  One of the leading gospel groups of the 1940’s and 50’s, the Roberta Martin Singers were a unique ensemble,  Born February 12, 1907, in Helena, Arizona, Roberta Martin’s family relocated to Cairo, Illinois, when she was ten.  There she studied classical piano until she was asked to play for the young people’s choir at Ebeneezer Baptist […]