Singer the “Satan, Bite the Dust!” and also “R.I.O.T. (Righteous invasion of Truth)” thought in the strength of celebrity and also spectacle to draw world to Jesus.

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After a 40-year job in Christian music, Carman passed away in ras Vegas Tuesday night due to complications native surgery. He was 65.

He to be a one-name celebrity, and also for those that knew him, the Christian singer and showman ranked in the highest echelons that American stardom, increase there v the various other mononymous divas: Madonna. Cher. Liberace. Carman.

For those who didn’t recognize him, the solitary name was repeated as a question. Carman? But if Carman’s star never quite secured its place at the zenit of American fame, he never let that dim his id in his own celebrity, the awesome strength of the concert-show-crusade-event, and his commitment to developing a pop spectacle for Jesus.

“The music is the best way I have actually of getting to the most people in the quickest method to win them come Christ,” Carman said. “I think one artist owes it to his audience come thrill them and also impress them. The lets world know there is pleasure in being Christian.”

Carman, born Carmelo Domenic Licciardello and raised the youngest that three kids in one Italian American household in Trenton, brand-new Jersey, won seven Dove Awards. He was nominated for 4 Grammys, named Billboard’s modern-day Christian Artist the the Year in 1990 and 1992, and also sold more than 10 million albums. In 2013, 30 year after his first hit and also on the heels that his cancer diagnosis, his fans raised $280,000 because that him to go on a 60-city tour.

“When Carman resumed touring again a few years ago, that was came to that no one would care that he to be back. He to be wrong. Every night pan packed out venues, and also his ministry was as powerful as it ever was,” Matt Felts, Carman’s manager, claimed in tribute. “This human being has lost a irradiate in the darkness, but today Carman witnessed firsthand the fruit of his labors.”

A tiny bit the a vanity project

The singer had plenty of fans that loved that effusively and also described how much he had strengthened your faith.

“All of his music touch my heart. I thank God for blessing Carman with the gift that music,” created one Christian top top Carman’s facebook wall.

Another explained how much his tune “Satan, Bite the Dust” supposed to her.

“That to be the best Carman,” she wrote. “When the enemy strikes you, psychic he’s defeated and when we obtain to sky you’ll have actually the grand chance to kick the devil’s fat butt earlier into hell.”

The singer likewise had pan who celebrated him together the pinnacle of the weirdness the 1990s youth group culture. Castle could, prefer Carman himself, it is in both very earnest and totally tongue-in-cheek in your appreciation of his art.


“It’s difficult to look at this body of work and not conclude the being a Christian pop/spoken word star wasn’t a small bit that a vanity job for Carman. Even more so 보다 being a Christian popular music star is in general, ns mean,” composed Tyler Huckabee, senior editor in ~ Relevant magazine, ranking the singer’s height 10 music videos, which every star Carman.

“But let’s offer him an ext credit than that. … He saw it all, very first and foremost, as something exciting; a speak to to be Clint Eastwood, James Bond and William Wallace every rolled into one. If that’s a small bit egocentric, it’s additionally pretty fun.”


Carman to be born in 1956 come a meat cutter and a musician. He explained his mother Nancy Licciardello together a “child prodigy ~ above the accordion.” She offered Carman his love the the stage and also his first chances come perform. The filled in once a band member failure to show up at a local new Jersey gig.

“I knew I want to,” Carman recalled, “and when I gave it a try, ns loved it.”

Carman dropped the end of high school at 17 and accomplished some at an early stage success performing optimal 40 in Atlantic City. As soon as he turn 20, he made decision to shot to make it together a lounge act in las Vegas.

In Carman’s heightened version of the story, repeated to reporters plenty of times over the years, he was doing so fine performing in the new Jersey casinos the a talent certified dealer approached him around “representing my interests and helping my career,” yet the agent was linked to the DeCavalcante crime family, i beg your pardon was recognized for comprehensive extortion and also racketeering in new Jersey. The young Carman chose to leave town in his green Chevy Vega.

In ras Vegas, Carman struggled to break into the music step or make a surname for himself. He took a rest to go visit his sister, also named Nancy, in Orange County, California. Nancy and also her husband, Joe Magliato, pastor of the boy Light Christian Center, to be worried about Carman’s salvation and tried to to convince him to expropriate Jesus. Carman resisted, later recalling the he believed what they to be saying however was just too proud.

Confronted with the truth

He wasn’t too proud to expropriate an invitation to go to a music festival at Disneyland, though, and Carman heard the gospel message again in ~ the Andraé Crouch show. This time, the accepted.

“I was confronted with the truth and also I received it,” Carman said. “It wasn’t that he was doing something musically that hadn’t been done. However when that was singing you could feel the visibility of God, and also it was a whole brand-new ballgame.”

The decision to monitor Jesus ended Carman’s music career, and also he spent the next 5 years law odd jobs about Southern California—until he began performing in churches and also then gained swept up right into the booming modern-day Christian music scene.

In 1981, Carman started traveling as an opened act because that the invoice Gaither Trio. The signed v a new label, Priority, which almost ended his career as soon as it closed in ~ a year and also didn’t release the civil liberties to his recordings. He was snatched increase by Myrrh, however, and also started over with the song “Lazarus, Come Forth.”

He released “Sunday’s ~ above the Way” in 1983, v the opening lyrics:

The demons to be planning on having actually a party one night.They had actually beer, Jack Daniels, and pretzels,There to be red wine, part white.They were celebrating just how they crucified Christ on that tree.

Carman had his an initial number one track with “The Champion” in 1985 and his very first number one album top top the Christian music charts v Revival in the Land in 1989.


Over the following 10 years, Carman released 12 albums, with 5 reaching the number one spot on the Christian charts. He absorbed and adjusted every conceivable pop style, repurposing them right into rock-opera-like narratives, “story songs,” certification Carman and built approximately his signature style of talk-singing. Huckabee described it as “a sort of rhyming, spoken word, preach-rap the defies description.”

The Gospel Music hall of Fame stated his performances to be a “combination that drama, rock, comedy, funk, satire, acting, singing, and preaching, all woven together.”

Carman, for his part, commemorated the indescribability of his style.

“There’s one point you have the right to say about my music,” the said. “It’s unique my own. And also you don’t need to listen come the exact same sound for 10 songs.”

With his success in Christian music, he expanded into music videos, films, and also megaconcerts. The is believed to have set a document for the largest Christian concert in 1993 through 50,000 human being in one meet in southern Africa, and then again in 1994, with much more than 71,000 in Texas.


He sometimes had his doubts around his success, though.

“I'd stand backstage and look in ~ these vast crowds and think, ns don’t gain it. Nobody’s that good,” Carman said. “I constantly have this sinking feeling that at any type of moment they’re all going to revolve to every other and also say ‘what room we doing here’ and they’re all going come turn and also leave.”

It started to happen in the 2000s. His job slowed, he was dropped by his document label, and he struggled come strike a address a brand-new recording company. Then Carman suffered a collection of personal tragedies: He shed money in the gaue won crisis; his brothers died; he had actually a fallout’s out v his sister; a near friend died in a small plane crash; he was in a auto wreck and also suffered inner injuries.


No arrangement B

In 2013, he obtained a terminal cancer diagnosis. As Carman created to his pan on Facebook, the doctors told that he had actually incurable myeloma and three or 4 years to live.

After an outpouring that support, Carman introduced a Kickstarter campaign to fund one last album and tour. He raised $280,000 and started the No plan B tour. Once the cancer got in remission, that attributed his healing to the confidence of his fans.

“Folks, you space the ones who have actually literally willed this man and also this ministry back to life!” Carman wrote.

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Carman obtained married because that the first time at the age of 61 and also continued to tour once the cancer returned in 2020. The billed it as “Carman Live: A CinemaSonic Experience.” The tag line read, “It’s a concert. A movie. A play. A crusade. A need to see event!”

According come Carman, he to be doing the same thing he’d done his totality career: “I’m make Jesus really palatable come our American culture, i guess you can say. In a means that anybody can relate to.”

He passed away of complications following hiatal hernia surgery. In ~ the end, he was planning another tour.