– Gospel star Rance Allen, whose Rance Allen Group drew upon contemporary sounds for such 1970s hits as “Ain’t No Need of Crying” and “I Belong To You” and anticipated such crossover gospel artists as the Winans and Amy Grant, has died at age 71.
Allen’s wife, Ellen Allen, and manager Toby Jackson announced in a joint statement that Allen died early Saturday while recovering from a “medical procedure” at Heartland ProMedica in Sylvania, Ohio. Allen was a longtime Toledo, Ohio resident and most recently bishop for Church of God in Christ for the Michigan Northwestern Harvest Jurisdiction. “I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Gospel Great, Bishop Rance Allen,” singer Gloria Gaynor tweeted. “He will surely enrich the heavenly choir now.” A native of Monroe, Michigan, Allen was a singer, songwriter and musician who formed his group with his brothers Tom and Steve. Another sibling, Esau, occasionally joined them. A promotion man for Stax Records heard them at a Detroit talent contest and they eventually signed with the label’s Gospel Truth imprint.
Allen and his siblings were featured in the 1973 documentary WattStax, performing the funky “Lying On the Truth.”
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