Jesus Is Just Alright, Oh Yeah!
June 5, 2010 1:43 PM   Subscribe

How many popular singers and musicians became preachers (or other religious/spiritual equivalents) later in life?

Note: I'm not talking about people who were already involved in religious pursuits when they became famous, nor those who were primarily known for gospel music or other religious musical genres; I'm interested in people who became famous as secular musicians and later went into religious ministry or other assorted spiritual professions.

My question was prompted by a snippet of trivia I heard on the radio yesterday: Domingo Samudio, the leader of Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs (best known for Wooly Bully and Little Red Riding Hood), became a preacher later in life, working for prison outreach programs and performing gospel songs along with his hits. It made me curious about how many other popular musical artists became preachers.

I'm guessing Little Richard would be the most famous example. And there's M.C. Hammer, who got ordained after he went bankrupt in the 90s.

I also thought of Rev. Run (Joseph Simmons from Run-D.M.C.), but I'm pretty sure he was already ordained prior to, or during, the height of his popularity (so he's not a "later in life" example).

How many others are there?

As a side note, I wonder if part of the reason why some singers and musicians are drawn to preaching comes from the fact that musical performance and preaching both require a sense of showmanship (at least they do if you want people to pay attention). Or I could be over-thinking it.
posted by amyms to Society & Culture (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
well you didn't mention rev. al green, but i bet you knew about him.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 1:46 PM on June 5, 2010 [3 favorites]

Sinead O'Connor got ordained by some Catholic offshoot group and said she wanted to be called Mother Bernadette Mary.
posted by Askr at 2:46 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

A somewhat more obscure example is Carl Bean, who recorded the gay disco classic "I Was Born This Way". Apparently Motown wanted him to record more commercially viable love songs to women, but he decided not to, became a minister and founded a church and the Miniority Aids Project. Pretty interesting guy.
posted by Dismantled King at 3:06 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by cashman at 4:33 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Leonard Cohen was ordained as a Buddhist Monk in 1996, according to Wikipedia, but he'd studied Buddhism for 20 - 30 years before ordination.
posted by macadamiaranch at 6:39 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

The guy from Buffalo Springfield is a pastor out here in Boulder, CO.
posted by monkeymadness at 7:08 PM on June 5, 2010

The Rev. Al Green.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:22 PM on June 5, 2010

I've heard that, at least for a while, Prince would go door-to-door with his fellow Jehovah Witnesses to witness with them. Even though I'm not really a fan and have no particular need to move the Minneapolis, the idea that, if I did, there would be a non-zero possibility that Prince might show up on my doorstep to save me from immanent apocalyptic doom ... moves me ... just a little.
posted by wobh at 9:59 PM on June 5, 2010 [3 favorites]

I'm not sure he quite fits the bill, but Son House aimed for the ministry at various points in his life, but had difficulty reconciling that with his wilder side. Spent most of his life working for railroad companies, didn't end up being a preacher, but worth a quick read if you don't know his story.
posted by el_lupino at 10:33 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by SisterHavana at 11:30 PM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

Chess Records' Mitty Collier has a ministry in Chicago.
posted by timshel at 1:29 AM on June 6, 2010

I don't have a general answer, sorry, but happened to learn just last week that Pebbles is now known as Sister Perri.
posted by trunk muffins at 6:53 AM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

after achieving fame, cat stevens converted to islam in 1977, changed his name to yusuf islam, abandoned pop music, but later released an children's album, "a is for allah".
posted by chickadee at 4:07 PM on June 6, 2010

« Older Question about game engine technology   |   hello 30 group beach vacation Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.