Clarence Fountain of the Legendary Blind Boys of Alabama dies at 88
Clarence Fountain: November 28, 1929 - June 3, 2018
There's a heavy loss in the American music family as we mourn the death and celebrate the life of Clarence Fountain, one of the leaders and co-founders of the legendary Blind Boys of Alabama.
Fountain started singing as a boy while studying at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Deaf and Blind in Talladega, where he started his first group called the Happy Land Jubilee Singers. The Singers left the school in 1944 while they were still teenagers and went on to have their first hit "I Can See Everybody's Mother but Mine" in 1948. Later that same year, the Singers entered a competition with another group of blind musicians from Mississippi, and as to make distinction between the two groups the Blind Boys of Alabama were born. Fountain was quoted in a news release regarding the name: "The crowd loved us, the name stuck, and things took off for us."
Over the course of the next 70 years the band has gone on to win four Grammy awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy, a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, and were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. The Boys became a staple in American roots music and have worked with musicians such as Mavis Stapes, Lou Reed, Bonnie Raitt, k.d.lang, Tom Waits, Justin Vernon, Hiss Golden Messenger and more. Today we honor the life of Fountain and the incredible work of the Blind Boys that has inspired and moved so many.