Frankie Valens
Frankie Valens

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Former pop star Frankie Valens has swapped the charts for the church by becoming a pastor in Kansas. The veteran singer, who shot to fame in the 1960s and enjoyed hits with This Magic Moment and The Lion Sleeps Tonight, has taken up his new post at the First Christian Church in Syracuse, Kansas.

Valens, 70, continued to perform gospel music with his wife Phyllis after his pop career came to an end and insists he has now found his true calling at the church where his father once preached.

He tells Kansas newspaper The Garden City Telegram, "People come to hear me sing, so I'm thinking, 'Maybe I could sing my sermon'. All of a sudden, this (job) shows up, and at age 70, I'm starting a new career... I will probably always have a stigma to my name, probably always have a celebrity status attached to my name, but I'm just everyday blow Joe (sic)...

"We're trying not to do too much music ourselves, at the church. We don't want it to be a Frank and Phyllis Valens concert every Sunday, but they (the congregation) keep asking. They say, 'We're inviting friends, and they want to hear you.'"

Valens' latest gospel album, Just Give Me Jesus, is released this month.

© 2012 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

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