Paul Beasley of the Blind Boys of Alabama Dead at 78

Renowned gospel singer and tenor of the famed Blind Boys of Alabama Paul Beasley has died at the age of 78. A representative announced his passing on Thursday (March 16), revealing that Beasley had died on Monday, March 13. No cause of death was given.

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Born on Dec. 11, 1944, in DeRidder, Louisiana, Beasley was known for his impressive falsetto from an early age. He went on to become a vocalist, serving lengthy stints in groups like the Gospel Keynotes and the Mighty Clouds of Joy. There, he became best known for fan favorites like “Jesus You’ve Been Good To Me” with the Keynotes and “Walk Around Heaven” with the Mighty Clouds. Beasley joined the Blind Boys in 2013 after losing his sight.

The singer’s first release with the group was the 2013 album, I’ll Find a Way, and he can be heard on the three albums following—Talkin’ Christmas! (2014) with Taj Mahal, Almost Home in 2017, Work to Do with Marc Cohn in 2019, as well as the 2021 single release, I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free with Bela Fleck. During his decade-long tenure with the group, Beasley with the Blind Boys earned a total of four Grammy nominations.

“In life, there are some things that only come once, and the legacy and voice of Paul Beasley is one of those things,” his bandmates — Ricky McKinnie, Jimmy Carter, Joey Williams, Rev. Julius Love, and Sterling Glass— shared in a statement. “Thank God for him. He was often imitated but never duplicated. The Blind Boys have been friends and soulmates with Paul for many years. The memories that we shared are unsurpassed. Our deepest sympathy goes out to all of his family and friends. God bless you all.”

A funeral service will be held in Beasley’s hometown on March 25.

Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

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