One Not to Miss: Keith Green

“When he [Keith Green] and his dad got home there was an important message waiting. They were to phone a certain extension at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios. They phoned right away, and the mysterious caller turned out to be none other than Colonel Parker, Elvis Presley’s long-time manager. Keith’s dad listened, astonished, as Colonel Parker said: ‘Your boy’s got a great talent. If I wasn’t tied up full-time with Elvis, I’d take Keith on. But you call me if you ever need any help’.”

Keith was 11 years old at the time of this phone call, which is quoted from the book No Compromise, The Life Story of Keith Green, by Melody Green and David Hazard.

Keith Green showed a ridiculous amount of talent at a very young age, and was getting attention from all of the right places. He signed with Decca Records at age 11. Also from No Compromise,

“Upon the publishing of Keith’s first song, at the age of eleven, he became the youngest member of ASCAP – the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. The Society flew Keith to New York to honor him along with the songwriter who was the oldest member. Keith’s youthful success made him unique in the music world. He was flown to New York, to sing on two national network television shows, and from there he landed appearances in a television special with Sammy Davis Jr., was on The Jack Benny Show, The Joey Bishop Show, I’ve Got a Secret, and Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. He also did a program with Steve Allen, who later asked Keith for his secret of success. Keith replied in all seriousness, ‘I started when I was very young’.”

After countless experiences as a young guy in 1960s-1970s Southern California, Keith ultimately began recording albums specifically within the relatively-new Contemporary Christian Music genre.

While signed to Sparrow Records in 1979, Keith asked the company’s leader, Billy Ray Hearn, to let him out of his contract because he felt the need to give his music away as part of his ministry. Hearn agreed.

Keith and his wife Melody had started a ministerial organization, dubbed Last Days Ministries in 1975, which brought in and cared for homeless, drug addicts and the like. 

In July 1982, when he was 28-years old, he died in a plane crash along with two of his children and nine others, near Garden Valley, Texas.

In true rock star fashion, and like way too many others, Keith Green left us too soon. 

He just took a road much less traveled.


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