HISTORY: THE BEGINNINGS
The purchase of
in 1963 brought
to the Word family of artists. Not only had Carmichael orchestrated many albums for the Sacred and
labels, but he also had arranged and/or conducted for such popular recording artists as
Nat King Cole,
Roger Williams, Peggy Lee, Stan Kenton, Sue Raney, Jack Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Tex Ritter
Popular music is defined as the music of the people. So why not use popular music vehicles to more effectively carry the
Gospel message to younger generations who liked contemporary music? But the Word label was conservative.
So in 1966, he made a proposal to Word’s
to partner with him in a joint venture to create a new contemporary Christian label and
music publishing company. McCracken accepted the idea, and
were born. Carmichael, who lives in Southern California, would provide the music;
Word in Waco, Texas, the publishing and distribution.
Early artists on Light included daughter
Kim (Carol) Carmichael,
the Carmichael Young People,
102 Strings, Jimmy Durante
(originally orchestrated by Ralph Carmichael and released by Warner Bros. Records in 1967),
and Thurl Ravenscroft
(the voice of Tony the Tiger in cereal commercials).
Carmichael took Light into
Black Gospel music early with the signing of
Andraé Crouch & the Disciples
in 1968. Other gospel artists on Light included the
Winans, Walter Hawkins and
Contemporary Light artists included the
Allies, Bryan Duncan, Ressurection Band, Sweet Comfort Band.
In 1974, Word, Inc. was sold to
In June of 1980, Carmichael bought Word's half of Lexicon/Light from
and Light had an address in Newbury Park, California.
In 1982, Billboard reported that Light Records was sold by Ralph Carmichael to
an Orange County, California developer, with Carmichael remaining as President.
That provided additional capital for the label, and freed Carmichael from business matters to concentrate on the music.