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Rich Mullins

Richard Wayne Mullins (October 21, 1955 - September 19, 1997), American singer/songwriter, was born in Richmond, Indiana.

Mullins was seen as an enigma to the Christian Music industry in which he found himself. Often barefoot, unshaven and badly in need a haircut, he didn't look like your typical American gospel music writer. The largely conservative Christian Music industry loved a lot of his music, but were often scared of what he might do or what he might say from the stage. He chain smoked (although not on stage), cussed and told them exactly what he thought, even at the risk of offending the very audience he was performing in front of. Although he achieved a good amount of success on Christian radio, he never received a Dove Award (the Christian Music industry's version of the Grammy's) until after he died.

Unlike most artists in Contemporary Christian music, Mullins did not see his music as his ministry. He saw it as a means to pay his bills. His ministry, he said, was how he treated his neighbors, his family and his enemies, and how he treated the children on the Navajo reservation that he taught music to.

Table of contents

History

Mullins began his musical career with Zion Ministries[?] in the late 1970s, where he wrote music and performed with a band called Zion. Zion released one album in 1981 entitled Behold the Man. While working for this ministry, Mullins penned a song called "Sing Your Praise To The Lord", which was recorded by singer Amy Grant in 1982 and became an immediate hit on Christian Radio.

In 1983, Debby Boone[?] recorded Mullins' "O Come All Ye Faithful" for her Surrender album. In 1984, the song was also featured in a TV movie called Sins of the Past.

Mullins became a songwriter in the Contemporary Christian music industry by 1984, penning songs for Pam Mark Hall[?], and a second song for Amy Grant. Grant would go on to record yet another of Mullins songs for her 1985 album, Unguarded, entitled "Love Of Another Kind".

By 1986, Mullins recorded his first self titled solo project, and followed it with a second solo album in 1987 called Pictures in the Sky. Neither album had sold very well and it looked as though Pictures might be his last, until Mullins wrote a song called "Awesome God[?]". Mullins recorded that song and released it on his third album, Winds of Heaven, Stuff of Earth and it quickly became a hit on Christian radio and a modern day hymn sung in churches around the world.

The Winds of Heaven, Stuff of Earth album also introduced fans to the Hammered Dulcimer, an instrument that would become somewhat of a Rich Mullins trademark.

In the early 1990's, Mullins released a pair of albums entitled The World As Best As I Remember It Volumes 1 & 2. These albums featured more of a stripped back, acoustic feel than Mullins earlier work, with nods to Irish music. Step By Step, a song written by good friend Beaker and included on both volumes, became an instant hit on Christian Radio, and like "Awesome God[?]", with worship leaders.

In 1993, Mullins joined forces with a thrown together group of Nashville musicians, including Jimmy Abegg, Beaker, Phil Madeira, Rick Elias, Aaron Smith, and others, to form A Ragamuffin Band, which was named after The Ragamuffin Gospel[?] by author Brennan Manning. The band recorded A Liturgy, A Legacy, and a Ragamuffin Band. The band would get together again in 1995 to record Brothers Keeper.

In 1997, Mullins teamed up with Beaker and Mitch McVicker[?] to write a musical based on the life of St. Francis of Assisi, entitled The Canticle of the Plains. Mullins had great respect for St Francis, and even formed "the Kid Brothers of St Frank[?]" with several friends, each taking a vow of poverty. Mullins was never really aware of how well his records sold, beause the profits from his tours and the sale of each album went to his church, who divided it up, paid Mullins a small salary, and gave the rest to charity. Mullins was also a major supporter of Compassion International and Compassion USA[?].

Mullins was tragically killed in a car accident on September 19, 1997, when he lost control of his vehicle and was struck by a passing tractor trailor.

At the time of his death, Mullins lived on a Navajo Reservation[?], where he taught music to children.

Quotes

  • "God spoke to Balaam through his ass. I believe God still speaks through asses today. So if God should choose to speak through you, you needn't think too highly of yourself."

Discography

  • Behold the Man Zion, 1981 album
  • Rich Mullins, 1986 album
  • Pictures in the Sky, 1987 album
  • Winds of Heaven, Stuff of Earth, 1988 album
  • Never Picture Perfect, 1989 album
  • The World As Best As I Remember It, Volume One, 1991 album
  • The World As Best As I Remember It, Volume Two, 1992 album
  • A Liturgy, A Legacy and A Ragamuffin Band, 1993 album
  • Brothers Keeper, 1995 album
  • Songs, 1996 "best of" album
  • The Jesus Record, 1998 album (finished by the Ragamuffin Band, after his death)
  • Songs2, 1999 "best of" album

External links



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