Rich Mullins Bio - ChristianMusic.com
On September 19, 1997, Rich Mullins met face to face with
the "Awesome God" he was so desperatly in love with. He was killed in
an automobile accident on his way to a benefit concert in Kansas. Although
Rich Mullins is gone, his music and legacy of compassion and service
to others lives on today.
Rich Mullins was born on October 21, 1955 in Richmond,
Indiana. He began playing the piano at age four and gradually became
proficient on guitar and hammered dulcimer, as well. Mullins sang in
his high school choir and then went on to attend Cincinatti Bible College.
While going to college, he worked in the youth ministry at a local church.
Rich was "discovered" in the summer of 1981 when he was touring with
Zion Ministries, a group that toured the country and led praise & worship
meetings at many retreats. Amy Grant began recording some of his songs,
including "Sing Your Praise to the Lord."
Rich released his first solo album, titled Rich Mullins,
through Reunion Records in 1986. From there he released eight more albums
before his death. During his life, Mullins was nominated for twelve
Dove awards. His most famous songs include "Awesome God," which in 1989
was voted one of the top three songs of the decade by the Christian
Research Report, and "Sometimes By Step", in addition to eight other
number one songs.
Rich Mullins is known for his beautiful lyrics and emotion-filled
music, but to many people, he was so much more than that. He was a man
with a deep commitment to Christ and a heart for God's people. In 1995,
after completing his degree, Rich pursued one of his greatest dreams
and moved to Tse Bonito, New Mexico to teach music to children on Indian
Reservations. He desperatly wanted to bring them the gospel of Christ
through music, art, and drama. Although he was only able to do this
for two years, his dream of showing compassion to the Navajo nation
lives on today. His family and friends founded The Legacy Of A Kid Brother
Of St. Frank, which has full-time missionaries, interns, and volunteers
serving the Native American youth.
Since his death in 1997, three (3) more albums have been
released by Reunion Records:
1) The Jesus Record - In loving tribute, this double CD features
a remastered demo tape of 10 songs Rich recorded just days before
his tragic death. It also includes performances of those songs by
Rich's Ragamuffin Band, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, Phil Keaggy,
and more. www.christianitytoday.com/music
2) Songs 2
Delve deeper into Rich's impressive catalog of songs.
This best-of collection gives greater insight into the theology of
a man whose love for Christ was boundless. Includes "Where You Are,"
"The Just Shall Live," "Growing Young," "Brother's Keeper," and more.
3) Rich Mullins: Here in America
After over two years of compiling and assembling a diverse
collection of rare audio and video masters, Rich Mullins: Here In
America came into being. Featuring a 60-minute audio CD and a full-length
DVD, Here In America is a virtual scrapbook of sights and sounds that
take you beyond the music and into the heart of one of Christian music's
most interesting and intriguing artists.
"Although he died at a relatively young age, Rich Mullins
left behind an incredible legacy in music. But, more than just music,
Rich also left us a vast treasury of homespun wisdom culled from the
scriptures and a lifelong pursuit of God." notes Dean Diehl, sr. vice
president/general manager, Reunion Records. "Here In America preserves
both the words and the songs of a man I believe was in many ways a prophet
for our times."
The audio portion includes live recordings taped between
1984 and 1987, during the early days of Rich's career. A highlight of
the audio includes Rich teaching a crowd "Awesome God" for the first
time, written just a few days prior. Here In America includes original
BMG song demos such as "The Lord's Prayer" and "Never Heard the Music,"
both of which have never been released and a live version of "None Are
Stronger," which has not been released before either. www.christianitytoday.com/music
Here in America (2003)
Songs 2 (1999)
The Jesus Record (1998)
Canticle of the Plains (1997)
Brother's Keeper (1995)
A Liturgy, a Legacy, and a Ragamuffin Band (1993)
The World as Best as I Remember It, Vol. 2 (1992)
The World as Best as I Remember It, Vol. 1 (1991)
Never Picture Perfect (1989)
Winds of Heaven . Stuff of Earth (1988)
Pictures in the Sky (1987)
Rich Mullins (1986)
The following is taken from an interview of Rich Mullins by Brian Quincy
Newcomb of CCM Magazine in June of 1992. Ironically, the words to his
favorite songs say that he wants to "go out like Elijah."
RM: My favorite song that I've ever written is "Elijah."
It was like another breakthrough. I wrote it around the time when
John Lennon was shot. He was a big hero of mine, and my great-grandma
died about the same time. I began thinking about the influence both
of those people had on my life, and they were dead. These two people
would never know the impact they had on me; John Lennon I'm sure wouldn't
care to know, but my great-grandma, I never got to tell her. But then
I realized I don't have to tell her. She didn't do what she did to
have some kind of an impact on me, she did what she did because that's
who she was.
And I'm going to be dead someday too. That's the first
song where I forced myself to dig under a lot of the cliches of the
Christian faith. I wrote a song that said, "You know, someday I'm
going to die, and I wanna die good." Prior to that I would have tended
to write, "Someday I'm going to die and I will be resurrected," which
I also believe.
Just as Rich talked about the impact of people on his
life during that interview, hundreds of people today tell how much Rich
meant to them:
Artist Michael W. Smith speaks about his beloved friend:
"[His] life and music impacted me more than anyone I know," said Smith.
"He had the ability to take the mundane and make it majestic. Nobody
on this planet wrote songs like he did, and I feel we've lost one of
the only true poets of our industry. I love Rich Mullins...and no one
will ever know how much I'll miss him."
Bob Thornton (KTLI Wichita): "Rich used to come into the
station quite a bit. He had friends who worked here and all of us knew
him, so he would drop in when he was in town. He would just walk in
the lobby and call out to any staff that was around, 'Who wants to go
to lunch? I haven't got any money!' That was Rich. He never had any
As I got to know him over the years, it was because he
literally gave everything away. He really didn't have anything. I've
spoken with the lady who was house-sitting his Navajo reservation home.
She went over on Sunday [after the accident], and she said "There's
nothing here." Rich just didn't collect things. A few musical instruments,
So, Rich was just really about giving himself 100% of
the time and even when it came down to something simple like, "I haven't
got any money for lunch," it was probably because he had given everything
he had to somebody that had needed it the day before.
Rich was passionate about living life to full and enjoying
all of God's blessings. In several of his writings, he has encouraged
readers to take the time in life to enjoy even the little things, because,
everything is from God, whether big or small.
"Like Thoreau, I love to suck the marrow out of the bones
of life," Rich Mullins has said. "People want to know God's will for
them. In one of his most explicit statements on the subject, Christ
said, 'I come that you might have life and have it abundantly.' One
day it won't make any difference how many albums I sold, but I will
give account of my life to God. What I think He'll be most pleased with
is to see that we truly lived, that we were the person He created us