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Marion Williams
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Vocalist
    (August 29, 1927-July 2, 1994)
    Born in Miami, Florida
    Gospel singer
    Member of the Ward Singers (1947-58) and the Stars of Faith (1958-65)
    Notable songs include 'Surely God Is Able,' 'Packin' Up,' 'Standing Here Wondering Which Way to Go,' 'Where Were You When They Crucified My Lord?' 'Jesus Is All,' and 'Amazing Gtace'
    She was initially reluctant to join the Ward Singers because she lacked a suitable wardrobe; after six months of hesitation, she borrowed a dress and joined.
    She had a son out of wedlock.
    In an unsuccessful attempt to broaden her commercial appeal, she covered pop songs with a spiritual theme, such as Pete Seeger's 'Turn! Turn! Turn!', George Harrison's 'My Sweet Lord,' and the Hollies' 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother.'
    She became responsible for financially supporting her family as a teen after he father died and her mother lost her legs to diabetes.
    She could dramatically drop two octaves in the middle of a performance.
    She inspired Little Richard's signature 'whooo!'
    She was named a musical ambassador by the US State Department.
    She received the news that she had won a MacArthur Foundation 'Genius Grant' while volunteering in her church's soup kitchen (1993).
    In 'The Rolling Stone Album Guide,' critic David McGee wrote, One will come away from her recordings believing that she was nothing less than the greatest singer ever.'

Credit: C. Fishel


 
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