Billy Ray Hearn, one of Christian music's pioneers, passed away at 6PM CST on Wednesday, April 15th, confirmed by his son, Christian label chief Bill Hearn.
Billy Ray Hearn began his career and ministry in gospel music in 1960 as a church music director. He was recruited to work with Word Record Co., where he launched the Myrrh label and was instrumental in developing a popular following for Contemporary Christian music while working with artists Barry McGuire, 2nd Chapter of Acts, Randy Matthews and Nancy Honeytree. Amy Grant joined the label in 1977 and was one of Christian music's biggest crossover acts.
In 1976, he founded Sparrow Records and built it into one of the fastest growing contemporary Christian labels around. He has been responsible for the artistry and ministry of a roster that reads like a who's who in the contemporary and also the traditional black gospel arenas.
He was inducted into the Gospel Hall of Fame in 1997.
HIs son, Billy Hearn, currently serves as President/CEO of Capitol Christian Music Group, a multi-faceted business that includes Capitol CMG Label Group (Sparrow Records, ForeFront Records, sixstepsrecords, Hillsong and Credential Recordings), Capitol CMG Publishing, Motown Gospel and Capitol Christian Distribution.