Billy Ray Hearn, a pioneer of contemporary Christian music, died at 6 p.m. Wednesday surrounded by his family, his son, Christian label chief Bill Hearn, has confirmed to The Tennessean. Billy Ray Hearn was 85. He died of complications from heart disease.
A member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, Mr. Hearn helped launch modern-day Christian music labels in the 1970s, eventually becoming the founder of Capitol Christian Music Group, the world’s largest Christian label.
Mr. Hearn signed and launched careers for Steven Curtis Chapman and siblings BeBe and CeCe Winans, and he helped guide dozens more artists during his career.
“He was the first true label A&R (artist and repertoire) guy who started the very first professional Christian record company, Myrrh, in 1971,” Bill Hearn said.