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Grammy-winning singer Randy Sparks dies at 90

San Diego: Randy Sparks, a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and the founder of the folk music group the New Christy Minstrels passed away at the age of 90.
Sparks died on February 11 at an assisted care facility in San Diego, Variety reported on Saturday night.
The news of his death was confirmed by his son, Kevin, who confirmed it to the New York Times, stating that Sparks had been living on his 168-acre ranch in Jenny Lind, Calif., northeast of San Francisco, until a few days before his death.
Sparks, an American musician, songwriter, and founder of the folk ensemble the New Christy Minstrels, rose to prominence during the 1960s folk music renaissance.
He founded the ensemble in 1961, and it became famous for its vocal harmonies and folk-pop style. Sparks led the New Christy Minstrels to commercial success with classics such as 'Green, Green' which he co-wrote with future 'Eve of Destruction' singer Barry McGuire, 'Today,' and 'Denver.'
In 1963, the group earned a Grammy Award for outstanding chorus performance for their debut album, 'Presenting the New Christy Minstrels,' which remained on the Billboard Albums top for two years. Sparks was also instrumental in advancing the careers of Steve Martin, John Denver, and Kenny Rogers, with Rogers playing double bass for the band in 1966.
Aside from his work with the New Christy Minstrels, Sparks wrote for other artists and participated in several musical ventures during his career. He was a prominent person in the music industry, particularly in the folk music genre.
He relocated to rural Northern California in the mid-1960s after selling his interest in the New Christy Minstrels for $2.5 million. There, he began a 30-year association with Burl Ives and established Ledbetter's Nightclub in Los Angeles.
Sparks was born on July 29, 1933, in Leavenworth, Kansas. His career started in the 1950s as a solo folk performer in California.
He was a part of the thriving folk music scene in cities such as Los Angeles, where he played at coffeehouses and clubs.
His talent as a songwriter and performer quickly garnered recognition, and he began to make contacts in the music industry before forming the New Christy Minstrels, as per Variety.
Sparks was survived by his sons Kevin and Cameron, daughters Melinda and Amanda, sister Naomi Allen, and four grandchildren.

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