October 21, 1955
Richard Wayne Mullins is born in Richmond, Indiana.
Rich began playing piano at a very early age and had classical
training and piano lessons before graduating from Northeastern High
His family attended the Friends Church and later the Christian Church when he was young. In junior high, Rich sang in an interdenominational youth choir and was influenced by Baptist and Methodist friends.
After high school, he attended Cincinnati Bible College and worked as a youth minister in a local Methodist church.
There is a rumor that Rich was contracted to do the pre-concert for the Imperials (At the time, they were the *big* contemporary group.) Supposedly, he forgot about the show and missed it.
(Photo of Rich from Cincinnati Bible College 1976)
Rich Mullins writes "Here In America" around this time.
Rich: "Well, I wrote that, probably around 1976 or so. I was hitchhiking, and -
normally I don't write a song in one sitting. Normally it kind of
accumulates over a period of time. Like, I'll write a line or two, or I'll
write a song and throw the song away, except I will find two or three lines
that I really like and I'll save those lines.
It was just, I think it was after having been eaten by red ants and sleeping
in a culvert that I really realized what a cool country this really was.
Just kind of went, everywhere you go, it's different. And everywhere you go,
it's hard. I mean, you come to the Midwest, you watch those old - you read
those old John Steinbeck novels about, you know, the Dustbowl. And we have a
history of 200 years of desperation, of people hanging on for dear life.
Hanging on, because they believe there's gotta be something better than
this. And I don't think people would have left Europe and the other places
they left to come to America, if there weren't some pretty bad situations
(Source: The 1993 Music and More/Compassion International Interview conducted by Jon Rivers.)
Rich Mullins band performs in Cincinnati, OH. at Cincinnati
Bible College campus Alumni Hall.
Songs included: "Set In Motion", "In worship of the Coming King", "Open Your Eyes", "Recorder Interlude (RM first recorder performance)", "We Are the New Jerusalem (RM first guitar performance)", "Stay Tuned", "Prepare the Way (Comfort Ye My People)", "The Lord is Very Beautiful", "Selling My World (Paper & Ink or Nothing Left to Say)", "Heaven In His Eyes", "Wipe Away Every Tear From Their Eyes (by band member Rick Nohle)", "Come Lord/In worship of the Coming King (reprise)".
John Hagee (drummer): "This would have been Rich Mullins first attempt at forming and playing in a band. The band was together for about a year and played at colleges around the area, University of Cincinnati, etc."
Rich also performs a few songs by himself, after the concert.
Songs included: "Back To The Bible", "Lake Between The Hills", "K.J. Raft", and others.
(Source: Jon Hagee)
Rich left college and his job to work with Zion Ministries where he performed with their band.
Zion records a demos of the following songs: "Bless you from zion", "How can we forget to be grateful?", "Just a seed", "Praise to the Lord", "Resist the devil!", "Sounded like thunder", "Take me to my home", and "Till the day I met you Lord."
Other songs that Zion was performing at this time include: "Seminary Girl".
Zion releases its project, "Behold the Man".
"In the summer of 1981 the group (Zion) appeared at the Koinonia Coffeehouse in Nashville, Tennessee. It was there that a copy of the group's custom album - and album composed of songs written by Rich - made its way into the hands of Mike Blanton. At the time, Blanton was looking for one more song for Amy Grant's Age to Age album. Rich's "Sing Your Praise to the Lord" was perfect, Amy recorded it, and Blanton/Harrell signed Mullins as a writer."
(Source: CCM Magazine January 1986 "Songs of Another Kind" by Melinda Scruggs)
Mike Blanton: "My honor and joy in the Rich Mullins story was that I signed him to his first publishing deal as well as his first artist deal.
Around the time that we were starting Reunion Records, I was standing at a carnival-type amusement park and a girl came up to me and said, 'You need to listen to this guy named Rich Mullins.' I said, 'Fine, whatever,' so she gave me a tape. I went and listened to the tape and about fell over about the song, 'Sing Your Praise To The Lord.' I played it for Amy and she went crazy over it, and Brown [Bannister], of course, went crazy over the song, too.
The process of recording that song on Amy's album opened up the opportunity for me to talk to Rich and as I did, I just fell in love with him. I decided that no matter what happened, we needed to sign him to a publishing deal, which ultimately led to the recording contract. And to this day, I don't know that we've had a more gifted or important songwriter."
Rich: "They called me up, and they said that they wanted Amy Grant to record it. I said I thought that was great; I didn't have any idea who Amy Grant was. They said, 'Is this published or what?' And I said, 'I don't even know.' I recorded it but that's as much as I knew about it. They said they'd like to talk to me about a publishing contract, and I didn't like the idea of a contract. I said, 'I'm not interested in a publishing contract.' They said, 'Maybe you don't know who Amy Grant is' and went on to tell me how many albums she'd sold, and that really hacked me off because I thought, 'You know what? I don't care if she doesn't sell any or if she outsells Michael Jackson.' If she wants to do the song, that's fine, but I felt very insulted. I was a very overly-righteous kind of a guy at the time.
Then they said, 'Let us fly you down here.' Well, I love to fly and I would fly anywhere in the world just for the fun of doing it. And I said, 'Sure.' That's how I first talked to them. That was a lot of fun, and I've been talking to them ever since."
Amy Grant records Rich's "Sing your Praise To The Lord" for her "Age to Age" album.
Zion performs at Western Hills Church of Christ in Cincinnati, Ohio
Debbi Boone's "Surrender" is released on Lamb & Lion Records and includes a cover of Rich's "O Come All Ye Faithful" (written in the late 70's and originally titled "In Worship of the Coming King").
Rich's "Sing Your Praise to the Lord" (as recorded by Amy Grant) is nominated for A Dove Award for Song of the Year.
Jon Rivers (KLTY Dallas): "... I was at a post-Dove Award banquet. It was the usual fancy banquet with all sorts of food and everybody was all dressed up. All of the servers were in white dress coats and white caps, and chefs were running to and fro to make sure everything was all right. I was walking down the dessert line and as I got up to this one dessert, I noticed that standing behind the counter serving was Rich Mullins, who had relieved one of the workers, and donned the cap and jacket. And he stood there the rest of the night serving people dessert, although I'm not sure that half the people knew who he was. That made a big statement to me that nothing mattered to him except the Gospel."
Rich serves as interim Music Minister in Kentwood, MI at Kentwood Christian Church.
"It was then that he decided it was time for him to focus on being an artist as
well as a writer. He put together a demo of his songs as he would perform them
and sent it to Blanton/Harrell. That demo tape sparked an interest and
enthusiasm which led the production team to sign him to their Reunion Records
(Source: CCM Magazine January 1986 "Songs of Another Kind" by Melinda Scruggs)
"Mullins spent six years at CBC and yet never graduated ("I had trouble picking
out a major!"). During this time, he served as interim youth minister for First
Christian Church in Kingsport, Tennessee, and Kentwood Christian Church in
Grand Rapids, Michigan. Yet it was his youth ministry at Erlanger United
Methodist Church in Erlanger, Kentucky, that Mullins came to the crossroads
of music or ministry. However, even at the "crossroads" the choice was clear:
youth ministry was his priority. "It wasn't a big deal to me," he explained.
"I wasn't thinking of that [music] as a career. I was intending to be a youth
However, God had something else in mind for Rich Mullins. Following an ICTHUS
festival in Wilmore, Kentucky, Mullins began to realize the power of music in
the lives of young people. And following God's leading, Mullins moved to
Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a totally new direction as a songwriter and
"I was just watching the kids (at the Ichtus festival in Wilmore, KY) and
how affected they were by the music. I really felt like I had some gifts
in music and at the time I just prayed 'Lord, I want to do this but I want
to take the steps'. The next morning my neighbor was sick and didn't go to
work and I was just playing the piano when there was a knock at the door.
He wanted to know if it was me who was playing the piano and I said yes. He
said, 'Well, I don't know what you do for a living but you should be in
music'. So I though that was either a really weird coincidence or an answer
from God. Within a week I had several people calling me." (Source: Live Like You'll Die Tomorrow - Rich Mullins Speaks His Mind,
The Cross Examiner, Brian Smith, October 1, 1986)
Rich's demo included the following songs: "Sing Your Praise To The Lord", "A few good men", "Damascus road", "Elijah", "He's marching on", "Is it about time", "None are stronger",
"Prisoner", "Save me", and "These days".
Rich begins performing the following songs around this time: "Hallelujah",
"I'll Love Her", "Keep Me Pressing On", "Love Of Another Kind", "Nothing but a miracle", "See What A Difference", and "Your Burden Is Light".
The ABC TV Movie, "Sins of the Past", airs. The movie, starring Debby Boone, included a theme song, written by Rich, "O Come All Ye Faithful" (written in the late 70's and originally titled "In Worship of the Coming King").
Amy Grant records Rich's "Doubly Good To You" for her "Straight Ahead" album.
Pam Mark Hall's album, "Supply and Demand", featured quite a bit of help from Rich, including a song he cowrote with Mike Hudson, Pam Mark Hall and Keith Thomas "The Agony and the Glory", one with Brown Bannister and Pam Mark Hall "Reach Out and Love Again" and another with Pam called "Sparrow Watcher".
Rich Mullins performs at Deep Valley Christian Camp.
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Amy Grant records Rich's "Love of Another Kind" for her "Unguarded" album.
Benny Hester records Rich's "Marching On", on his "Benny From Here" album.