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 (b. Monroe, Michigan) with his brothers Tom (drums) and Steve (bass guitar); 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. The group was the first to be signed to the Stax imprint Gospel Truth, and they recorded for the Stax organization throughout the 1970s. In 1972, the group appeared in the documentary film Wattstax. Following this appearance, the group was named "Best Religious Group" by the National Association of Television and Radio Announcers (NATRA). David Porter co-produced the group's 1975 album A Soulful Experience, for which he wrote an autobiographical song, "Just Found Me".
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.
Rance Allen (November 20, 1948 – October 31, 2020), was an American Bishop, Minister, and gospel musician, and the founder and leader of the famed Rance Allen Group. 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.
Allen was married to Ellen Marie Allen (née Groves). The two were married on December 1, 1970. The couple had no children together.
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, Bernard Jackson Jr. 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 died on October 31, 2020 from complications due to a recent medical procedure.
|2012||Stellar Awards||Quartet of the Year: "The Live Experience II: Celebrating 40 Years of Music and Ministry"|
|Traditional Group/Duo of the Year: "The Live Experience II: Celebrating 40 Years of Music and Ministry"|
- Rance Allen Group (1972)
- Truth Is Where It's At (1972)
- Brothers (1973)
- Sanctified (1975; UK-only compilation)
- A Soulful Experience (1975; reissued 1981 as Ain't No Need Of Crying)
- Say My Friend (1977; reissued 1979 as The Way It Is)
- Straight from the Heart (1978; reissued on CD with bonus tracks in 1994)
- Smile (1979)
- I Feel Like Goin' On (1980)
- Hear My Voice (1983)
- I Give Myself to You (1984)
- The Best of The Rance Allen Group (1988) (Stax Records)
- Phenomenon (1991)
- Up Above My Head (1995 compilation)
- You Make Me Wanna Dance (1995)
- Let The Music Get Down In Your Soul (1997; vault release)
- Miracle Worker (2000)
- The Soulful Truth Of The Rance Allen Group (2001; UK-only compilation)
- All the Way (2002)
- Wattstax (various artists; box set) (2003)
- The Live Experience (2004)
- Closest Friend (2007)
- The Live Experience II (2011)
- Amazing Grace (2012)
- Celebrate (2014)
- God Has Been So Good (2020)