Rance Allen Wiki – Biography
Rance Allen was an American Bishop, Minister, and gospel musician, and the founder and leader of the famed Rance Allen Group has died. Known for his extremely wide vocal range and powerful singing voice, Allen became known as the main lead vocalist and the leader of the influential group.
He was the senior pastor of the New Bethel Church Of God In Christ in Toledo, Ohio, since its July 1985 establishment. In November 2011, Rance Allen was elevated to the office of Bishop in the Church of God in Christ, for the Michigan Northwestern Harvest Jurisdiction.
Allen was born in 1948 in Monroe, Michigan to Thomas and Emma Pearl Allen. He had 11 siblings: six sisters and five brothers. Allen founded the Rance Allen Group in Detroit in 1969 joined by his brothers Thomas and Steve.
The Rance Allen Group was a gospel music group formed in Monroe, Michigan, and based in Toledo, Ohio, named after its lead vocalist, Bishop Rance Allen.
Formed by vocalist, guitarist, pianist, and songwriter Rance Allen with his brothers Tom (drums) and Steve another brother, Esau (percussionist), joined the group on an intermittent basis. During an appearance at a gospel talent contest in Detroit, Michigan, they came to the attention of one of the judges, record promoter Dave Clark, who worked for Stax Records.:255–256 The group was the first to be signed to the Stax imprint Gospel Truth, and they recorded for the Stax organization throughout the 1970s.:256 In 1972, the group appeared in the documentary film Wattstax.:270 Following this appearance, the group was named “Best Religious Group” by the National Association of Television and Radio Announcers (NATRA).:272 David Porter co-produced the group’s 1975 album A Soulful Experience, for which he wrote an autobiographical song, “Just Found Me”.:363
The group’s incorporation of rock and soul into traditional black gospel music prefigure the crossover success of such artists as Amy Grant, Andrae Crouch, and The Winans. In 1978, the group had a Top 30 R&B hit, “I Belong to You. The group released one of its most famous songs, Miracle Worker, in spring 2000.
Allen and his group had performed with many gospel musicians throughout the country, including Andrae Crouch, Marvin Winans, Bebe and Cece Winans, the Clark Sisters, Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp, Tye Tribbett, Shirley Caesar, Donnie McClurkin, and Mary McLaurine Glover. He also performed for President Barack Obama at a White House Celebration of Gospel Music and was nominated for five Grammy Awards.
Allen was often referred to as “The Father of Contemporary Gospel Music.” During his illustrious career, Allen was the recipient of five Grammy Awards, once performed for President Barack Obama and recorded a song with Snoop Dogg.
Allen founded the Rance Allen Group along with his brothers, bass playing Steve and drummer Thomas, in their hometown of Monroe, Michigan, in 1969. His official website describes the group as beginning to “invade the world with a new contemporary and innovative gospel sound.”
Rance Allen Age
Rance Allen has died at the age of 71-years old.
Married & Wife
Allen was married to Ellen Marie Allen. The two were married on December 1, 1970. The couple had no children together, they share their love and support to many God-children.”
Allen’s wife Ellen Marie Allen nee Groves is referred to as the “First Lady” of the New Bethel Bountiful Blessings Ministries. According to Groves’ profile on the church’s website, she is a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and was “introduced to the lord at an early age.”
Her profile goes on to say that she “met and fell in love” with Allen at the age of 16. The couple married with her father’s consent in December 1970. Prior to becoming fully involved with the church, the profile says that Groves worked in banking. In the bio, Groves refers to her husband as “the sweetest, most humble, patient, loving, giving man this side of glory.”
Allen recorded the song “Blessed Me Again” with Snoop Dogg as part of the rapper’s 2018 gospel album Bible of Love. Allen told the Toledo Blade in 2008 that he thought someone was playing a joke on him when the rapper first reached out to him.
Allen said of performing with Snoop Dogg, “I’ve always believed that while I want the world to have Jesus. I’ve got to give them a little something that would prick their interest.” Allen also spoke of his belief that the Snoop Dogg collaboration would lead to his work being exposed to a larger audience. Allen said, “When Snoop says, ‘Hey fellas, Jesus saves,’ he’s going to shake their worlds.”
Celebrated in Toledo
In February 2020, Allen was celebrated in Toledo as part of Black History Month, reported ABC13 at the time. As part of the celebrations, a wing of Imagine Madison School of Arts in the city was named for Allen.
Allen was quoted as saying, “I’ve been singing over 60 years and it’s all been as far as I was concerned a ministry. Then to get to be 71-years old and someone says we want to honor you, it made me want to put my suit on today. It’s a wonderful thing and I’m enjoying every bit of it.”
Allen performed for President Barack Obama
In April 2015, Allen performed for President Barack Obama and the first lady at the White House as part of a special event celebrating the history of Gospel music. Allen told The Monroe News in the lead-up to the performance, “I am so honored I can’t find the right words to describe it. I’m excited and a little bit nervous.” Allen appeared on the line-up alongside other legendary performers such as Aretha Franklin, Lyle Lovett and Emmylou Harris.
At the event, President Obama told the performers in a speech, “Songs were where their dreams took flight, where they expressed faith and love, as well as pain and fear and unimaginable loss.” While Aretha Franklin sid that the event was “absolutely wonderful.” Franklin added, “It warmed my heart to be back with other gospel singers I grew up with, like Shirley Caesar and Rance Allen,” according to Ebony magazine.
Cause of Death
Bishop Rance Allen is the Gospel singer and founder of the Rance Allen Group who died on October 31 at 71.
Allen’s death was confirmed in a statement from Bishop Robert G. Rudolph of the Church of God Is Christ in Memphis, Tennessee. The statement did not reveal Allen’s cause of death. The statement goes on to say that due to COVID restrictions, a private memorial service will be held for the singer.
As news of Allen’s death spreads, fellow performers as well as fans, have taken to Twitter to express their condolences. Here are some of the most poignant messages of remembrance:
What a HUGE loss to the gospel world. Bishop Rance Allen is one of the greatest voices on the planet. The Grammy award winning gospel artist could of lived anywhere but called TOLEDO home! Pray for his family. pic.twitter.com/x2MBx4YAgB
— KristianBrown (@KristianBrown) October 31, 2020
Rance Allen 😫🤦🏾♂️😢🙏🏽 One of the best to bless the mic with his unique voice; Gospel music won’t be the same…Put on your 👑 and robe 🙌🏾. 2020 is possibly the worst year EVER! #RIPRANCEALLEN 🎶🎤 pic.twitter.com/uR8hplZmaQ
— JustAsSureAsMyNameIsWanya (@JJustITA) October 31, 2020