1948 – Grand Funk Railroad’s Mark Farner is born in Flint, Mich. He

Mark Farner

1948 – Grand Funk Railroad’s Mark Farner is born in Flint, Mich. He later gave up rock for a gospel career.

Mark Fredrick Farner (born September 29, 1948 in Flint, Michigan) is an American singer, guitarist and songwriter, best known as the lead singer and guitarist for Grand Funk Railroad, and later as a Contemporary Christian Musician.

Early career

Farner began his career in music playing in bands like Terry Knight and The Pack (1965-1966), The Bossmen (1966), The Pack (aka The Fabulous Pack) (1967-1968), before forming Grand Funk Railroad (later called Grand Funk) with Don Brewer and Mel Schacher in 1969. Grand Funk’s “We’re An American Band” reached #1 on the Hot 100 on Mark’s 25th birthday.

Post-Grand Funk

After Grand Funk disbanded in 1977, Farner released his first self titled solo album. In 1978, Farner released his second solo album, No Frills. In 1981, Grand Funk reunited and recorded two albums, Grand Funk Lives and What’s Funk?. Farner went solo again with 1988’s Just Another Injustice on Frontline Records. His third Frontline release was 1991’s Some Kind of Wonderful, which featured a revamped version of the Grand Funk classic of the same name. Farner enjoyed success with the John Beland composition “Isn’t it Amazing”, which earned him a Dove Award nomination and reached #2 on the Christian Contemporary charts.

In the 1990s, Farner formed Lismark Communications with former Freedom Reader editor Steve Lisuk. Soon after, Farner began reissuing his solo albums on his own record label, LisMark Records.

Farner toured with Ringo Starr’s Allstars from 1994 to 1995, which also featured Randy Bachman, John Entwistle, Felix Cavaliere, Billy Preston, and Starr’s son, Zak Starkey.

In the late 1990s, Farner reunited with Grand Funk, but left after three years to resume his solo career. He currently tours with his band, N’rG, which plays a mixture of Grand Funk songs and Farner’s solo offerings.

Other interests

Farner was honoured with the Lakota Sioux Elders Honor Mark in 1999. During the concert in Hankinson, North Dakota, a special presentation was held honoring Mark’s Native ancestry and his contributions. Members of the Lakota Nation presented him with a hand-made ceremonial quilt.

An authorized biography of Farner, entitled From Grand Funk to Grace, was published by Collectors Guide Publishing in Canada

Discography

* Mark Farner, 1978
* No Frills, 1979
* Just Another Injustice, 1988
* Wake Up, 1989
* Some Kind of Wonderful, 1991
* Closer to Home, 1992
* Heirlooms, 2000
* Red White and Blue Forever, 2002
* Live!! N’rG, 2003
* For The People, 2006

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