Marvin Yancy

Reverend Marvin Jerome Yancy (May 31, 1950 – March 22, 1985) was an American gospel musician, pastor and Grammy-winning record producer, and former pastor of Fountain of Life Baptist Church. He started his music career, in 1971, with The Independents, who were an American R&B vocal group. His lone solo album, Heavy Load, was released on January 1, 1985, by Nashboro Records, and it placed at No. 4 on the Billboard magazine Gospel Albums chart.

Marvin Yancy
Birth nameMarvin Jerome Yancy
Also known asMarvin Yancey
Born(1950-05-31)May 31, 1950
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedMarch 22, 1985(1985-03-22) (aged 34)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
  • Singer-songwriter
  • record producer
  • pastor
Years active1971–85
Associated acts

Early life

Yancy was born on May 31, 1950, in Chicago, Illinois, as Marvin Jerome Yancy, to Reverend Robert Yancy Sr., who was the pastor of Fountain of Life Baptist Church, at the time of his death in 1977, and his mother, Anne.[1][2][3][4] This was when Marvin stepped into the pastoral role of the church that he led until his death.[1][2][4][5] Yancy was a graduate of Cooley Vocational High School and went on to graduate from Moody Bible Institute along with The Chicago Bible Institute.[1][2][3][4][5] Yancy was one of twelve siblings: he was one of eight brothers, Robert Jr., Kevin, Derrick, Sherwin, Stevie, Darrel, Melvin and Terry, along with Four sisters that were in his family, Geraldine, Faye, Judith and Linda.[1][2][3][4]

Music career

He began his music career in 1971, with The Independents, who were an American R&B vocal group.[5] The band disbanded in 1975, and he focused more on helping his spouse Natalie Cole, with recording and writing songs as her record producer.[1][2][3][4][5] This was a powerful musical union because she won Grammy Awards for two songs, and they were in the category of Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 18th Annual Awards in 1976 for the song, "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)", and the following year in 1977 at the 19th Annual Awards for the song, "Sophisticated Lady (She's a Different Lady)".[1][2][3][4][5] His only solo release, Heavy Load, was released on January 1, 1985 by Nashboro Records,[6] and this placed at No. 4 on the Billboard magazine Gospel Albums.[7]

Personal life

Yancy's first marriage was to Natalie Cole on July 31, 1976.[1][3] They had a son together, Robert Adam "Robbie" Yancy, who was born on October 14, 1977,[8] but this marriage ended in divorce in 1980.[1][2] He was married a second time in 1983,[1] to Saundra Renaire Mays, who was in the choir of his church at the time.[3] He had one child from this marriage, a daughter Brandy Raquel Yancy. Also from a previous relationship, he had a son named Marvin Jerome Yancy Jr.

Marvin Sr. suffered a minor stroke a month before his death from a heart attack on March 22, 1985 in Chicago, Illinois.[3][1][2][5]


List of selected studio albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions[7]
Heavy Load 4


  1. Staff (March 27, 1985). "Rev. Marvin Yancy, 34, Pastor, Music Producer". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
  2. Times Wire Service (March 27, 1985). "Natalie Cole's Ex-Husband Dies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
  3. Staff (April 8, 1985). "Rev. Martin Yancy dies of heart attack in Chicago". Jet: 58. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
  4. Carpenter, Bil (2005). "Uncloudy Days: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia": 472. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. Hogan, Ed. "Marvin Yancy : Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
  6. AllMusic. "Marvin Yancy : Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
  7. Billboard. "Marvin Yancy : Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
  8. Staff (August 10, 1987). "Natalie Cole: Says Success for Her Is Better Second Time Around". Jet: 56–60. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
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