Gospel music legend Bishop Rance Allen of the gospel trio powerhouse The Rance Allen Group dies at 71, the Church of God in Christ(COGIC) announced in a statement Saturday.
“While recovering from a medical procedure at Heartland ProMedica [in Sylvania, OH], Bishop Rance Allen passed away around 3 AM this morning,” said Allen’s wife
“God who is omnipotent and omniscient has summoned His servant, Bishop Rance Lee Allen, to eternal rest,” the Pentecostal–Holiness Christian denomination leader, Bishop Rober G. Rudolph Jr. said in a letter.
“Bishop Allen was a world-renowned gospel artist and affectionately known as the ‘Father of Contemporary Gospel Music.’ Bishop Allen’s unique vocal ministry was an indispensable sound within the Church Of God In Christ and Christendom. His gift transcended the boundaries of musical genre as he remained a sought after personality called to perform on global venues.”
“Please pray for the Family and Friends of our Esteemed Brother Bishop Dr. Rance Allen. He has transitioned and we know His Beautiful Spirit will live on through His global Music Legacy!!” gospel singer Yolanda Adams wrote in an Instagram post. “His presence will definitely be missed.”
Kirk Franklin also reacted to Allen’s death in an emotional video posted on Instagram with the caption: “2020 just keeps breaking my heart.” The Grammy-winning musician, clearly in shock by the news, revealed that he had just finished writing and producing Allen’s new single. Unfortunately, Allen died before they were able to record the song together.
In their statement announcing his passing, COGIC said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Allen’s family will be holding a private memorial service. A ceremony for the public will be scheduled at a later date.
“During this time of uncertainty, we request the continued prayers as well acts of emotional and spiritual support for the family,” the church body said.
RIP Rance Allen 🕊 pic.twitter.com/9ksqgh5A9B
— Bleenex and Blorox Bleach 🏁 (@Nictheegr8) October 31, 2020
The Rance Allen Group’s progressive brand of Gospel and Allen’s signature grunts and squalls have inspired a generation of gospel artists ranging from Kirk Franklin and Fred Hammond to John P. Kee and Bryan Andrew Wilson. In the 1970s, they pioneered a fusion of R&B rhythms with spiritually charged message music on hits such as “Ain’t No Need of Crying,” “I Belong to You” and their cover of The Temptation’s “Just My Imagination” as “Just My Salvation.”
The retro-soul vibe carried over into the group’s hits of the last two decades such as “You That I Trust,” “Miracle Worker,” and “Something About the Name Jesus,” which has clocked over 175 million streams. It’s a brand that won them fans beyond the Gospel world such as American Idol’s Randy Jackson, and Pop rockers Huey Lewis & The News. In a 2019 Rolling Stone interview, Lewis cited “Ain’t No Need of Crying” as one of his all-time Top 5 favorite soul songs alongside tracks by Ray Charles and others