Grammy-Award Winning Gospel Music Pioneer Edwin Hawkins Dies at 74


Edwin Hawkins, the multi-time Grammy Award-winning Gospel music mind behind such famous songs as "Oh, Happy Day," has died. He was 74 years old.Bill Carpenter, Hawkins' publicist, reported to media that Hawkins died at his home on Monday in Pleasanton, California, the cause being pancreatic cancer. A native of Oakland, Hawkins was raised with a musical background, having performed with family and church groups throughout his life.
The website AllMusic called Hawkins a "trailblazing force behind the evolution of the contemporary gospel sound". Along with Betty Watson, Hawkins founded the Northern California State Youth Choir, which in 1968 recorded the influential album "Let Us Go into the House of the Lord," which included the hit song "Oh Happy Day."
"Among the highlights of Let Us Go into the House of the Lord was the track "Oh Happy Day," which unexpectedly found a home on underground FM play lists across San Francisco; the single soon began earning airplay on mainstream R&B and pop outlets across the country," noted AllMusic.
"... in the spring of 1969 it reached the U.S. Top Five on the on its way to selling an astounding seven million copies and taking home a Grammy award."

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