Services Set For CCM Star Kenny Marks

Kenny Marks

A Celebration of Life service for singer-songwriter Kenny Marks is scheduled for Saturday (Nov. 17); the CCM star passed away on Oct. 31 of a heart attack at age 67.

He was a Christian rocker, somewhat in the blue-collar mode of his fellow Michigan native Bob Seger. Kenny Marks was billed as “contemporary Christian music’s leading American roots-rock artist.”

A pioneer of the CCM genre, his best-known songs include “Right Where You Are,” “Soul Reviver,” “Make It Right,” “Friends,” ‘Nobody Else But Jesus” and “The Party’s Over.”
He was notable as his genre’s overseas ambassador. Kenny Marks took CCM sounds to seven continents. He had followers in Norway, Germany, England, Holland, New Zealand, Denmark, West Africa, Australia, Belgium, East Asia and Ireland.

Kenny Marks was the son of Yugoslav immigrants. Raised in Detroit, he initially came to attention in the Billy Graham organization during the 1970s. He subsequently recorded for the Word/Myrrh/Dayspring label group in Nashville.

His debut LP, Follow Him, appeared in 1982. His breakthrough occurred via 1984’s Right Where You Are. It yielded seven top-10 CCM hits, including its chart-topping title tune. In 1985, his album Attitude contained three more top-10 successes, including the No. 1 smash “Soul Reviver.”

The title tune of his LP Make It Right was the No. 1 Christian radio hit of 1987. The video for the album’s “The Party’s Over” was nominated for a Dove Award by the Gospel Music Association.

“The Party’s Over” lyric was addressed to young people and urged sexual abstinence prior to marriage. Other teen-oriented Marks messages occurred in such songs as “Growing Up Too Fast,” “Next Time You See Johnny,” “Say a Prayer for Me Tonight,” “Graduation Day” and “White Dress.”

His biggest CCM rock hit was “Nobody Else But Jesus.” It appeared on his 1990 album Another Friday Night. That collection also contained the No. 1 hit “I’ll Be a Friend to You,” whose video was another Dove nominee.

In 1992, he issued Fire of Forgiveness. Its “Turn My World Around” became the first Christian-music video to be filmed in the Soviet Union. His Kim Hill duet on the collection, “Like a Father Should Be,” was marketed as a Father’s Day ode.

The Kenny Marks hits-compilation CD Absolutely Positively was issued in 1994. The title tune of 1995’s World Gone Mad was another youth-oriented composition. The album featured contributions from members of Survivor and John Cougar Mellencamp’s band.

Later in the 1990s, Kenny Marks was a host on cable TV’s Shop-At-Home channel.

Marks is survived by children Allegra Crowder, Sebastian Marks and Shelby Nundahl; by sisters Karen Mrakovich and Kathleen German and by several nieces and nephews.

His Celebration of Life service will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, at The Village Chapel. The chapel is located at 2021 21st Avenue South. All are welcome. To send condolences or to sign the guest book, go to crawfordservices.com.

The service will be streamed online. To view the live stream, visit livestream.com. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Gospel Music Trust Fund or to the American Heart Association.

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Category: Artist, Featured, Obituary

About the Author

Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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