Inductees Archive

Mighty Clouds Of Joy

In a world where instant legends come and go like flavors of the month, gospel greats, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, have truly earned the right to be called legendary. When African-American artists in the early ’60s were often forced to accept segregated housing and meals served out the back doors of restaurants, The Mighty Clouds of Joy were there. When Dr. Martin Luther King led the fight for freedom for all Americans, The Mighty Clouds of Joy raised their voices in support of his crusade. And when young kids took the music of the black church, renaming it rock’n’roll and acting like it was their own, the Clouds were there too, still lifting up the name of the Lord. Overflowing with energy on stage, The Mighty Clouds of Joy were one of the first quartets to incorporate movement and choreography into their act. With matching, brightly color-coordinated outfits, the Clouds coupled a new level of showmanship with their ministry, even becoming known as “The Temptations of Gospel.” The Clouds were also the first to add bass, drums, and keyboards to the traditional quartet accompaniment of solo electric guitar. Over the years, they have won three Grammy awards and opened club and arena dates with Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, the Rolling Stones and Paul Simon. The “funkified” Gospel they had pioneered gradually became accepted as a standard part of Gospel music. After 40 years singing the Gospel, The Mighty Clouds of Joy still have the power to excite and inspire their ever-increasing following.


Induction Year




1955 in Los Angeles


Original Members

  • Walter Ligon
  • Johnny Martin
  • Richard Wallace
  • Elmer Franklin



  • Preaching and choreography incorporated into their music
  • Flashy costumes
  • Instruments such as bass, drums, keyboards etc.  that were unusual in traditional quartet performances


Significant Songs

  • “Mighty High”
  • “Steal Away to Jesus”



The Mighty Clouds of Joy singing “Steal Away to Jesus”


The Mighty Clouds of Joy singing “Mighty High”