Mighty Clouds of Joy

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Mighty Clouds of Joy
OriginLos Angeles, California, U.S.
GenresTraditional gospel, disco
Years active1961–present
LabelsLight, Peacock, Epic, ABC, Word, Myrrh, Intersound, EMI Gospel, CBS, Dunhill/ABC, MCG
MembersRon Staples
Johnny Valentine
Ervin Williams

Ronald Clark Sr
Past membersJoe Ligon (deceased)
Paul Beasley
Elmo Franklin (deceased)
Johnny Martin (deceased)
Michael Cook
Terry Fuller
Michael McCowin
Ermant Franklin
Leon Polk
Hamp Carlton
Artis Turnbough (deceased)
Eddie "Spanky" Alford
Lamanuel Boykin
Charles McElveen[not verified in body]

The Mighty Clouds of Joy are an American traditional gospel music quartet.


The Mighty Clouds of Joy was formed in 1961 and started out in a tradition-based style. Eventually they added soul, R&B, and rock flourishes into their musical mix (one of their early hits was produced by Gamble and Huff) without diluting the essential religious essence of their material. The long-lived group flourished throughout the rest of the 20th century, scoring numerous Grammy Awards and nominations, as well as several hit albums along the way.

Based in Los Angeles, California, the original group members include Joe Ligon (d. 2016), Johnny Martin (d. 1987), Ermant Franklin Jr., Artis Turnbough (d. 1999), Elmo Franklin (d. 2008), Richard Wallace, Leon Polk and David Walker (who also recorded several tracks with Link Wray under the name Bunker Hill).

Joe Ligon (born Willie Joe Ligon in Troy, Alabama on October 11, 1936) died on December 11, 2016, at age 80.[1]

While reviewing the group's 1974 crossover LP It's Time, Robert Christgau wrote in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), "You'd figure the showiest of all gospel groups would sell out with some flair, but the vocal transfigurations—that old Wilson Pickett (and Julius Cheeks) unhh born again—aren't the only reason this is one of the best LPs ever to come out of Philadelphia. For once, the songs—many of them from producer Dave Crawford, whose spirit must have been moved—include virtually no filler, not even (especially not even) the one that takes off from the group's name. Nicest conceit: how hard it is to be soft in a 'Stoned World.'"[2]

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Mighty Clouds of Joy among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[3]



  • 1960: "Steal Away To Jesus" (Peacock Records) 45 single
  • 1964: Family Circle (Peacock) PLP 114
  • 1965: A Bright Side (Peacock) PLP 121
  • 1966: Live At Music Hall (Peacock) PLP 134
  • 1966: Presenting The Untouchable (Peacock) PLP 151
  • 1972: Mighty Clouds Of Joy Live (At The Apollo)
  • 1974: It's Time (Dunhill/ABC)
  • 1975: Kickin (ABC)
  • 1977: The Truth Is The Power (ABC) (Reissue-Myrrh)
  • 1977: Live And Direct (ABC)
  • 1979: Changing Times (Epic/CBS)
  • 1980: Cloudburst (Myrrh/CBS)
  • 1983: Sing and Shout (Myrrh/Word)
  • 1987: Catching On (Word)
  • 1989: Night Song (Word)
  • 1990: Pray For Me (Live) (Word)
  • 1995: Power (Intersound)
  • 1996: Live In Charleston (Live) (Intersound)
  • 1999: It was You (Light Records)
  • 2002: I Want to Thank You (EMI Gospel)
  • 2005: In The House Of The Lord: Live In Houston (EMI Gospel)
  • 2007: Movin (EMI Gospel)
  • 2010: At The Revival (EMI Gospel)
  • 2011: 50 Year Celebration (EMI Gospel)
  • 2013: All That I Am Chapter 1 (MCG Records)
  • 2014: Down Memory Lane: Chapter 2 (MCG Records)
  • 2016: "Rebirth" (Asah Entertainment)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • 1973: The Best Of The Mighty Clouds Of Joy (Peacock/ABC) (Reissue-MCA)
  • 1978: The Very Best Of The Mighty Clouds Of Joy (ABC)
  • 1982: Request Line (Myrrh/Word)
  • 1994: Faith, Mercy, Glory (King)
  • 2002: 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Mighty Clouds of Joy (MCA/Peacock)

Charted singles[edit]

  • 1975: "Amazing Grace"; R&B#4 UK#15 US Hot Dance Club Play No. 2
  • 1976: "Mighty High"; US#69 US Hot Dance Club Play No. 1


  1. ^ Willie Joe Ligon of Beaumont, Texas | 1936 - 2016 | Obituary accessdate December 14, 2017
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: M". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 8, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  3. ^ Rosen, Jody (25 June 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 June 2019.

External links[edit]