Clara Ward, also known as The Queen of Gospel, was an African American gospel singer and composer. Born in 1924, she had a remarkable career that spanned over five decades. Her unique voice and ability to capture the essence of gospel music made her an iconic figure in the music industry. There are many interesting facts about Clara that most people don’t know about. In this post, we will delve into ten fascinating facts about Clara Ward, which are sure to surprise and delight you.
Section 1: Early life and upbringing
Clara Ward was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 21, 1924. Her mother, Gertrude Mae Murphy Ward, was a devout Christian, and her father, George Ward, was a miner and occasional preacher. Clara grew up in a household that was filled with music and religion. Her mother, who was a member of the Church of God in Christ, would often sing gospel songs, and Clara would join in. Clara also had several siblings who were involved in singing, and they would sing together as a family.
Section 2: Formation of the Ward Singers
In the early 1940s, Clara Ward and her sister Willa Ward formed the Ward Singers. The group was originally called the Consecrated Gospel Singers and later changed its name to the Ward Singers. The group consisted of five members, including Clara and her sister. They quickly became popular and performed in various churches and events.
Section 3: Touring and recording success
The Ward Singers went on several tours around the United States and abroad. They also recorded several albums. One of their most popular albums was “Surely God Is Able,” released in 1951. The album sold over a million copies, which was a tremendous accomplishment at that time.
Section 4: Musical collaborations
Clara Ward and the Ward Singers collaborated with several famous musicians, including Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and Sam Cooke. They also performed at the Newport Jazz Festival and the Apollo Theater.
Section 5: Philanthropic efforts
Clara Ward was not just a talented musician but also a generous humanitarian. She worked with several charities and supported various causes such as civil rights and the fight against cancer. She also donated money towards the construction of churches and other religious institutions.
Section 6: Personal life
Clara Ward was married twice but did not have any children. Her first husband was a minister, and her second husband was a businessman. Clara struggled with obesity for most of her life and suffered from diabetes. She passed away on January 16, 1973, due to complications from diabetes.
Section 7: Legacy
Clara Ward’s music and legacy continue to inspire people around the world. Many famous musicians, including Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, have cited Clara Ward as their inspiration. Clara Ward also paved the way for gospel music and was influential in its growth and popularity.
Section 8: Lesser-known facts about Clara Ward
1. Clara Ward’s first solo performance was at the age of three.
2. She was not only a singer but also a songwriter and composed several gospel songs.
3. Ward Singers’ song “How I Got Over” was performed at Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
4. Clara Ward was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
5. She performed at President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural ball in 1961.
6. Clara Ward was close friends with Mahalia Jackson, another famous gospel singer.
7. She was known for her dramatic performances and would sometimes faint during her concerts.
Q1: Who is Clara Ward?
A: Clara Ward was an African American gospel singer and composer.
Q2: What are some of the famous songs by Clara Ward?
A: Some of Clara Ward’s famous songs include “How I Got Over,” “Surely God Is Able” and “Packin’ up.”
Q3: Has Clara Ward won any awards?
A: Yes, Clara Ward was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Q4: Did Clara Ward have any children?
A: No, Clara Ward did not have any children.
Q5: What was the Ward Singers’ most popular album?
A: The Ward Singers’ most popular album was “Surely God Is Able,” released in 1951.
Q6: What were some of Clara Ward’s philanthropic efforts?
A: Clara Ward supported several charities and causes, including civil rights and the fight against cancer.
Q7: Who were some of the famous musicians that Clara Ward collaborated with?
A: Clara Ward collaborated with musicians such as Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and Sam Cooke.
Clara Ward’s contribution to gospel music and her philanthropic efforts make her a remarkable figure in the music industry. Her unique voice and powerful performances continue to inspire people even after her passing. We hope that this post has shed some light on Clara Ward’s life and legacy and encouraged you to discover her music.