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When Israel Houghton, Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin and Marvin Sapp combine forces, you can best believe a mighty praise will follow. The four gospel music heavyweights begin a combined tour on September 16th in Phoenix, Arizona, spearheaded by Kirk Frankin, who brought them together and asked Live Nation, the country’s biggest concert promoter to back it. Yet it took a little convincing to launch an all-gospel tour even with four superstars of the genre. Just like getting the concert movie “Kings of Comedy” made some years ago, there were people in the concert business who weren’t sure gospel music was ready for a big-time tour. So this tour becomes a litmus test –if the King’s Men do well, especially in smaller markets, live gospel shows get a big boost. Franklin hopes to see an all-female tour next. Read on for more about the King’s Men.

BORN: Kirk Franklin “birthed” the King’s Men tour by asking the three others to go on the road with him. He then took the idea to Live Nation, the biggest concert promoters in the U.S. with the idea that they could underwrite the tour. They did so and the King’s Men tour is the first ever gospel tour to be sponsored by Live Nation.

BIG BREAK: To prove that gospel had an audience big enough for Live Nation, he invited one of the company’s executives to attend the Stellar Awards with him. When the executive saw the passion of the gospel audience, he told his bosses they should get on board.

BACK STORY: The success – or not – of this tour depends on the turnout. If it succeeds, then there is talk of doing shows at House of Blues type venues with newer artists and mounting an all-female tour with acts like Yolanda Adams and Mary Mary. This tour could have a significant impact on the expansion of gospel music as a live music entity.

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