Ray Hildebrand smashed onto the music scene in 1963 with the number one hit “Hey Paula.” Ray wrote the song and he and Jill Crawford recorded it in 1962 in their hometown of Fort Worth, Texas. The song went number one on Valentine’s Day of 1963 and stayed there for three weeks. They followed up “Hey Paula” with “Young Lovers” and five other songs that hit the top 100 list.
But Ray was overwhelmed by the fame and adulation and left the group “Paul and Paula” in the middle of a tour. He ran back to Texas where he became the artist and repertoire person for LeBill Music. There he became one of the founding fathers of the genre that would become known as contemporary Christian music.
He traveled for The Fellowship of Christian Athletes as a speaker and performer and later became a youth director for a church in Prairie Village, Kansas. Ray was a frequent guest as a singer for the Billy Graham Crusades.
In 1983 he hooked up with fellow Christian artist Paul Land. They knew immediately that they were onto something magical and the duo “Land and Hildebrand” was formed. Since then Land & Hildebrand have played together all over the United States. Together they have recorded sixteen albums.
At the age of 67, Ray still does about 25 dates a year either with “Paul and Paula” or “Land and Hildebrand.” Ray agrees that the passion never fades. After sixty years of singing, there is nothing he would rather do than make music with his friends. The passion is the gift. Music is what comes from the gift. Changed lives and changed hearts is the result.
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