Rance Allen, known as the '"Father of Contemporary Gospel Music," died Saturday, The Church of God in Christ announced in a statement. He was 71.
“Bishop Allen’s unique vocal ministry was an indispensable sound within the Church Of God In Christ and Christendom,” The Church of God in Christ said in a statement. “His gift transcended the boundaries of musical genre as he remained a sought after personality called to perform on global venues.”
Allen played the piano and guitar and formed The Rance Allen Group with his two brothers in 1969, The Detroit News reported. The group was nominated for Grammy Awards in 1981, 1991 and 2004, and was inducted into the Gospel Hall of Fame in 1998, the newspaper reported.
The group recorded more than 20 albums over five decades, fusing traditional gospel music with soul and rock ‘n’ roll, AL.com reported.
“I wasn’t expecting to hear this news this morning,” Tyscot Records President Bryant Scott said in a statement on the group’s Facebook page. “This is a great loss to us personally but also to the church community at large.”
Allen was born in Monroe, Michigan, in 1948, and was a 1968 graduate of Monroe High School, The Monroe News reported.
He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Ellen Groves Allen.
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