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Billy Ray Hearn, Founder of Myrrh and Sparrow, Dies at 85

Billy Ray Hearn, the man who started Myrrh and Sparrow Records, passed away on April 15.  He was 85.  Myrrh and Sparrow were arguably the two most significant record labels of the burgeoning era known as “Contemporary Christian Music.”

In 1972, Hearn went to work for Word Records (home of Kurt Kaiser and Ralph Carmichael).  He started Myrrh Records, which brought to Word a more contemporary lineup of artists, including:

  • Honeytree (1973)
  • The 2nd Chapter of Acts (1974)
  • Barry McGuire (1973)
  • Phil Keaggy (1973)

Other early Myrrh artists included:

·   Randy Stonehill (1983)
·   B.J. Thomas (1976)
·   Amy Grant (1977)
·   Steve Camp (1978)
·   Benny Hester (1981)
·   David Meece (1976)
·   White Heart (1982)

In 1976, Hearn left Myrrh to start his own record label called Sparrow Records, bringing with him Barry McGuire, The 2nd Chapter of Acts, and Phil Keaggy.

Other early artists on Sparrow included:

·   Keith Green (1977)
·   John Michael Talbot (1977)
·   Scott Wesley Brown (1977)

Sparrow’s best known artists included:

·   Michael Card (1981)
·   Steve Green (1984)
·   Steven Curtis Chapman (1987)

Other Sparrow artists over the years have included:

·   Avalon (1996)
·   Out of the Grey (1991)
·   ZOEgirl (1998)




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