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Keith Green

From Academic Kids

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Keith Green (October 21 1953 - July 28, 1982) was an American gospel singer, songwriter, and pianist from Sheepshead Bay, New York. Green is best known for his strong devotion to the Christian faith and his unwavering efforts to stir others to the same. Notable songs include "You Put This Love In My Heart", "Your Love Broke Through", and "Asleep In The Light", as well as his praise choruses "O Lord, You're Beautiful", "There Is A Redeemer", and "Create In Me A Clean Heart".

History

Green took to music at a young age, and his talents were noted by major newspapers by the time he was only eight years old. Following a performance of Arthur Laurents' The Time of the Cuckoo, the Los Angeles Times wrote that "roguish-looking, eight-year-old Keith Green gave a winning performance," one that "stole the show". Green went on to play "Kurt Von Trapp" in a major production of The Sound of Music.

At the age of eleven, Green became the youngest person ever to sign with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) when he published, recorded and released the song "The Way I Used to Be".

In his early teens, with more than 50 original songs under his belt, Green was signed to Decca Records. Decca had plans to make Green a teen-idol, regularly getting the young man featured in fanzines like Teen Scene and on popular television shows like The Jack Benny Show and Steve Allen's show. Time Magazine called Green "a prepubescent dreamboat". His dreams of stardom were shattered, however, when Donny Osmond stole his short-lived spotlight and Green was quickly forgotten.

By his mid teens, Keith Green became heavily involved in drug use, eastern religion, astrology, and mysticism. In the mid 1970s, Green gave up these practices after converting to Christianity. He married his wife Melody in 1973, and the two became involved in the Vineyard fellowship in Southern California, where they were introduced to Bob Dylan.

The Greens began an outreach program to their community by purchasing two homes (and renting five) to provide housing and care for prostitutes, drug addicts, and homeless people. Eventually, the couple and the rest of their group relocated to Lindale, Texas, where the Greens founded Last Days Ministries.

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Green began to release a series of albums in the new Contemporary Christian music market in 1977. Two years later, he would shock many in the industry by refusing to charge money for concerts or albums. He insisted that his new label, Sparrow Records, let him out of his contract. The Greens then mortgaged their home to privately finance the album So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt? (with a guest appearance by Bob Dylan), which was then offered through mail-order and at concerts for "whatever you could afford". As of May of 1982, Green had shipped out more than 200,000 units of his album - 61,000 for free.

Green was killed on July 28, 1982, when a small airplane owned by Last Days Ministries crashed on takeoff. Green had planned to give visiting friends an aerial view of the Last Days Ministries compound. Two of Green's children, three year old Josiah, and two year old Bethany, were also on board the plane, as was pilot Don Burmeister, and friends John and Dede Smalley and all six of their children. All passengers were killed in the crash. Crash investigators determined that the aircraft was nearly 500 lb (230 kg) overweight with 12 passengers and only 6 seats. Keith, Josiah, and Bethany Green are interred at Lindale Cemetery.

In 1992, several artists joined together to re-record many of Green's most well known songs for a tribute album called No Compromise: Remembering the Music of Keith Green, on Sparrow Records. Artists contributing to that record included Charlie Peacock, PFR, Susan Ashton, Margaret Becker, Michael Card, Rich Mullins, and Russ Taff. BEC Records released a second, more modern, tribute record Start Right Here: Remembering the Life of Keith Green, in 2001. That tribute was produced by Derri Daugherty and included performances by MxPx, Joy Electric and others.

On November 27, 2001, Green was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

As of 2005, Melody Green continues to operate Last Days Ministries (http://www.lastdaysministries.org/), from Oceanside, California.

Quote

"I repent of ever having recorded one single song, and ever having performed one concert, if my music, and more importantly, my life has not provoked you into Godly jealousy or to sell out more completely to Jesus!" — Keith Green

Discography

  • For Him Who Has Ears To Hear (1977)
  • No Compromise (1978)
  • So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt (1980)
  • The Keith Green Collection (1981)
  • Songs For The Shepard (1982)
  • The Prodigal Son (1983)
  • I Only Want To See You There (1983)
  • Jesus Commands Us To Go (1984)
  • The Ministry Years, Volume One (1977-1979) (1987)
  • The Ministry Years, Volume Two (1980-1982) (1988)
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