Tony Greene, 1968-2010

I don’t know when I encountered the Greenes for the absolute very first time, but my first memory of their music is being packed in with a bunch a guys in a run-down dirt-beige Ford Tempo on the way to a singing somewhere in southern Missouri. “More Precious Than Gold” was playing in the tape deck and I think everyone had kinda lost interest during that loooonnng monologue/prayer that bisects the song … but things start heading toward those final bars and someone cranked up the sound and said … listen to this fellas … and then: that ending … Mercy Jesus! … it quite literally stunned me: I’m sure I laughed out loud but mostly things just seemed to freeze in place, as if the song made time stand still.

In any case, I can still vividly see the spot in the road where it felt like heaven came down that day … a slight turn in a steep ascent on a narrow backroad with sycamore’s soaring upward, creating a tunnel of tarmac and light that at that moment seemed to lead to whatever it is people mean when they say “the other side” …

Rest in peace, Tony Greene.

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Comments

  1. Tom wrote:

    What a tragedy for all of us, but especially for his family . . . .

    And how oddly fitting that today happens to be the feast day of St. Michael and All Angels. I don’t put much stock in the existence of literal angels, but this day in the Christian calendar is certainly one for remembering that the lines between finite existence and the presence of God are permeable. And surely Tony passed through easily.

    The original Greenes were among the first sg groups I was exposed to, at a singing in Indianapolis in the fall of 1985 that a good friend who loved sg dragged me to. I can still remember hearing Kim singing “Sure Sounds Like Angels” and being blown away, along with Tony’s jocular stage presence. I was in high school and steeped in the ccm and Christian rock world and knew little about sg at the time. The Greenes were the group that, for me, brought about an appreciation for sg music. I don’t even remember who all else was there that night, because the names were almost all unfamiliar to me–although I think Gold City and Heaven Bound were probably among them. But I never did forget the Greenes.

    May the God of all comfort grant peace and grace to TaRanda, Belle, and Josie, and to all the rest of the family.

  2. Wade wrote:

    When Tony was not long winded he was in a class right behind Jim Hamill as far as being a great MC. There was NOBODY better if they had the entire Church service for him to work his magic.

    He would get a little long winded in the earlier days, especially in concerts… but the last few times I saw them he did well.

    He LOVED to PREACHING A SERMON PRAYERS as Dr. DH mentioned in his writing. Those always cracked me up cause God did not need to hear those things. But it was Tony and HEY ANY MAN who marries Taranda gets an extra HAT TIP from me.

    I hope she will find some one and continue the Greene’s Ministry. I also hope that Bill will put on her on the Tour so more people can hear this incredible talent like he has done so many times before.

    Last time I saw them was in a church and I was able to slip in the balcony. As jaded as I am HE GOT ME… before I knew it I had put down ALL my pretension and had my hands in the air shouting!!! I do not think I could hold my arms up that long with out some help from above.

    As I was leaving he was still talking to people and I waved, he turned and said… “that was you up in the balcony shouting tonight wasn’t it???”

    I winked at him and he winked back and I said, “You Got me Tony, I don’t know when the last time was…”

    I almost did not go that night. I am REALLY GLAD I DID!!!

    Tony, see ya in heaven!!!

  3. Jason wrote:

    What a tremendous loss for Southern Gospel music. He was a great ambassador with a superb attitude, contagious smile and a wondeful MC and singer. He was a great person and he will be sorely missed.

  4. Jim wrote:

    I was watching one of the Gaither programs-’Count Your Blessings’-this past Saturday,and TaRanda had a solo part that sounded so great. And now, she’s dealing with such heartbreak. We all MUST join together to lift TaRanda and her young daughters to God…He will surely see them through this tough time.

  5. Alan wrote:

    A nice tribute, Doug. And Tony will be missed. I agree with Wade and Jason - he was my pick for the best emcee in sgm at this point in time. A good man, a great husband and dad, a fine singer, a happy presence on a stage. He will be missed. I join everyone in praying for TaRanda and their girls. As Tony’s voice has been stilled down here, likely TaRanda’s will be for a time as well, and she’ll be missed as well. There may not be a better female artist in this genre at present. I pray that God will restore her song, and soon. She’s ten years younger than I was when my first wife died, and it’s one hard journey. But, one day you wake up and notice that the sun is shining, that you can smile and even laugh without guilt, and out of seemingly nowhere, you can sing again. And God’s promises are revealed as real. My prayer is that for her, that morning will be sooner rather than later.

  6. David J. Stuart wrote:

    The first time i saw the Greenes was probably late 1992 or 1993. I went to Wooster, Ohio , at the Fisher Auditorium to see the Kingsmen Qt. On the same bill , they had a group i did not know called The Greenes. I was so blown away by them, which was Tim and Tony Greene and Amy Lambert. I bought several of their products that night. I think they were “Safe In Christ” and “Fields of Greene”. I enjoyed them as much as i did my favorite Kingsmen. I followed them all thru the years since that time.

  7. Shorty Bradford wrote:

    Tony was often overlooked as an incredible baritone singer. His tone was big and his range was far greater than most knew. He was a wonderfully funny, good man.

  8. Janet B wrote:

    Ironic that the new Thanksgiving dvds were released yesterday…TaRanda singing We Are So Blessed..yes, sweetie, you are, although it really may not feel like it right now.
    My prayers join with the countless others for comfort & peace for TaRanda, the girls, & the rest of Tony’s family & friends.

    And…if angels aren’t “literal,” Tom - what are they then?

  9. observor wrote:

    I have to add my voice and say that I will never forget the first time I heard the Greenes. It was in the early 90s and it was the two live recordings that they had at the time. The 10th Anniversary and Carolina Live. I was about 10 years old at the time and their music impacted me and changed my life forever. Since that time I have seen them countless times and purchased every recording. The music of the Greenes has been a major part of my life for the past 20 plus years (the majority of my life). I am heartbroken to say farewell to Tony Greene. No other group has been able to capture the harmony and blend that the Greenes had with Tony and Tim. And it is hard for me to imagine a combination of voices being able to recapture the magic of “He is to me, He is to me, yes he is more precious than gold, (I know that) He is more precious than gold….” Yes, rest in peace Tony Greene….

  10. Brett wrote:

    Here is the last video of Tony singing with Greenes at NQC. Really interesting what he says in the testimony.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWhxcTdj6aE

  11. Bones wrote:

    I remember staying up until nearly daylight to hear the Greenes. Kim was very young and had a pretty black dress on. You know we sang all night until nearly day light. No stop light and no time limit. Back in the Statesmen days that was great. Now is there anyone we want to hear for hours. NO.

  12. chuck stevens wrote:

    I last saw the Greenes on August 20th in Owasso Oklahoma, I almost did not go that evening. I sat way in the back as I came in just in time to hear the Greenes. That night Tony was in rare form, he was his old self it seemed, laughing, telling jokes and being the great Emcee he could be. he was on top of his game. That night he spoke some words I needed to hear. I have realy been drawn to their music more in this last two years than ever before, I think Taranda is the greatest voice in gospel music. She has that magic that alot of gospel singers don’t have these days. I will miss Tony, but i’m sure glad I went to see them that evening, they blessed my heart.

  13. irishlad wrote:

    Tony was always a bit too loud for me,but when he cracked the one about singing ‘jingle bells’ at a funeral when the widow meant to ask for ‘when they ring those golden bells’….well that just cracked me up,i fell in love with the Greenes that night.I’m not trying to be frivolous at this sad time,it’s just one of the very best memories I have of them. Rip TG.

  14. Rev. Al wrote:

    I got to sit on the front row at NQC this year. I mean the very front row. I watched them help Tony on stage and off. He had a smile on his face the whole time as if to say “this is what I love to do.” He will be missed.

  15. in Agreement wrote:

    I will be praying for Tony’s entire family. I always found him very captivating and funny. I am in agreement with all those who have commented on his ability as a great emcee. I’ve been touched, many times, by the words he spoke at concerts, and by the music that the Greenes made.

  16. Brett wrote:

    Does anyone know how Tim Greene is doing?

  17. Andrew S. wrote:

    #16 (Brett)- According to a broadcast earlier this year on “The Gospel Greats”, Tim has been healed of his ailments. They did something similar to an “Artist Spotlight” feature where he explained the entire ordeal. I know I’d like to see him singing/travelling again.

    Tony was one of very few people to capture the attention of the audience within a matter of minutes. It didn’t have to be the most eloquent of words, but he always spoke profoundly and placed a major impact on each person’s lives. His set-up for a song (i.e.- “The Cross Where Jesus Died”) was impeccable and always gave a vivid image of the song’s purpose. Though I never got to meet Tony in person, his transcendence to heaven has made heaven become more of a reality to those of us who continue to labor on Earth.

    I pray that God will envelope the members of the Greene families in the warmest strength and guidance as they face the unknown.

  18. Brett wrote:

    Thanks Andrew, I had caught bits and pieces of information when he was on Babbie Mason’s program.

  19. Blackstone wrote:

    Through the years I have become a fan of the Greenes. Saw them twice in Florida last winter and it was church. Tony was concerned about souls. TaRanda is my favorite vocalist and I love to watch her perform as she gets into a song like no other. Her story as to how she was trained and how she got into SG music is an example of the Lord’s will. I hope she at a time of her chosing will re-create a group of some type and go back on the road. I think she will as she has that “need” to sing in front and to thrill the audience with her style.

  20. suzie wrote:

    Hey Blackstone, I’m curious about TaRanda and her training and how she got in SG music. Can you share with us some of her story? She truly does dazzle!!!

  21. Pamela White wrote:

    My prayers go out to the greene family, I have some many dvds of the Gaithers I love them all. I get so blessed. Kim has a wonderful voice he will be missed Pam White Amelia Ohio

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