James Lambert
Gospel artist Edwin Hawkins & his music will be missed
FacebookTwitterGoogle+
By James Lambert
March 3, 2018

Gospel artist Edwin Hawkins died on January 15th of this year of pancreatic cancer. The 74 year old won four Grammys, produced dozens of albums, was voted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame, and was one of the founders of today's gospel music.

The Grammy award winning singer was born in Oakland, California in 1943. At the age of seven he started performing as a pianist with his siblings in various churches. His mother was a devout Christian, and his father liked to play the Hawaiian steel guitar.

Along with Betty Watson, Edwin co-founded the Northern California State Youth Choir of the Church of God. By the late '60s, Hawkins along with his choir members recorded the album: 'Let us go into the House of the Lord.' Incredibly a disc jockey in the bay area by the name of Abe Kesh picked up on the song 'Oh Happy Day' and started playing it regularly on KSAN. The popularity of the song spread around the nation when it was released as a single. By 1969 the song reached no. 4 on the U.S. (music) charts and no. 2 in the United Kingdom.

During the following year, Hawkins joined with lead vocalist 'Melanie' and released the single 'Lay down (Candles in the rain)' which again which showed its popularity by reaching No. 6 in the US charts. As a composer, arranger, and pianist Hawkins produced a series of popular gospel albums from the early 1970s to the 1990s.

Hawkins was to also positively influence the lives of those who came within his sphere. Lawrence Hill, for example, was a young man who had left the Hawkins family Northern California State Youth Choir to attend college in Oregon. Struggling to find his way in life, one evening a familiar song came on in his dorm. Initially Lawrence thought it was his college buddies playing Edwin Hawkins's first album. Much to Lawrence's surprise it was a local rock radio station playing 'Oh Happy Day' which had, by then, become a hit. The young college student decided to move back home to Oakland and rejoin the Hawkins choir after hearing of his mother's untimely death. This move to join again Edwin's music group positively altered the course of the young man's life.

This was just one of many lives that the gospel artist, Edwin Hawkins, ended up affecting for good. Lawrence went on to become a staff music writer for Shelter / Capital records, singing with a number of gospel groups as well as teaming up with Thomas Campbell, music director for the TV show Touched by and Angel. He also recently started a new gospel record label (www.inheritancerecords.com).

Over a period of just four years (from the time his first album was released), Edwin Hawkins received three Grammies, and was later to receive a total of four. Ultimately Hawkins style of gospel music helped open the door for gospel music's popularity to soar during the 1970s and '80s. The immense popularity of 'Oh Happy Day' encouraged other young music artists, like Lawrence Hill to embrace the message of the gospel and relate it to their generation.

The loss of Edwin Hawkins on January 15th, 2018 was the loss of a great music legend but it was also heaven's gain as well. Edwin's legacy lives on in his music and the lives of those he impacted for good.

© James Lambert

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

James Lambert

James Lambert has a broad business background. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Linfield College (McMinnville, Oregon), Lambert pursued a career in banking by working in various management capacities for Crocker Bank, San Diego Trust & Savings Bank and First Interstate Bank (between 1973 and 1995). By 1990 Lambert received his Master in Business Administration from National University (San Diego). For 3 years, Lambert also taught Finance at Mira Costa Community College... (more)

Subscribe

Receive future articles by James Lambert: Click here

More by this author

October 13, 2020
Some logical concerns about this year’s presidential & congressional elections


August 22, 2020
Destroying the country from within


July 29, 2020
Remembering a wonderful Christian friend and banker: John Nersesian


July 10, 2020
Recent state & city actions demonstrate the dangers of too much government control


July 2, 2020
Musician Lawrence Hill’s message in his new single needed more than ever right now!


June 10, 2020
Recent state & city actions demonstrate the dangers of too much government control


March 26, 2020
Remembering a historic WWII battle & a general who was a part of it – 75 years ago


February 9, 2020
What's wrong with socialism? It's a disaster for our society, economically and culturally, and it threatens our personal freedoms


December 8, 2019
Clear & obvious prophetic signs of Christ's expected return


More articles

 

Stephen Stone
'The fervent prayer of the righteous'

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
Busted: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Joan Swirsky
Tucker goes Megyn

Mark Shepard
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) ridicules CA Gov. Gavin Newsome for his idiotic Covid edits

Rev. Mark H. Creech
Thanksgiving and the old, wet, bare rooster

Matt C. Abbott
My minor role in exposing McCarrick

Jerry Newcombe
America: 'A church relocation project?'

Kari Lee Fournier
Being thankful amidst America’s storm

Tom DeWeese
Demand legal action on election fraud

Cliff Kincaid
America’s turkey is the CIA

Mark Shepard
Joe Biden has no path to victory

Paul Cameron
Did Biden win the presidency? Democrats and Republicans disagree

Judie Brown
REPORT: ‘Planned Parenthood’s Racism . . . In Their Own Words’

Timothy Buchanan
You’re being robbed
  More columns

Cartoons


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons

RSS feeds

News:
Columns:

Columnists

Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Jamie Freeze Baird
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites