In 1954, Billy Ray Hearn graduated from Baylor University with a degree in church music.
In 1972, Hearn started Myrrh Records, one of the first labels devoted to contemporary Christian music, at Word Inc., the label of Amy Grant. In 1976, he formed his own label, Sparrow Records, the label behind musicians Keith Green, John Michael Talbot, and Margaret Becker.
Hearn is a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and in 1999 received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gospel Music Association. Hearn is also founder and sponsor of the biannual Hearn Symposium on Christian Music at Baylor University.
- McNeil, W. K. Encyclopedia of American gospel music. Routledge, 2005.
- "Sparrow Finds Markets Beyond Gospel Entertainment", Los Angeles Times, November 14, 1989. "Hearn and one of his recording groups bought the company for about $250,000. In 1980, Hearn bought out his partners."