Edwin Hawkins, YouTube

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Jan 16, 2018 by Abigail Sanchez

The Legendary Edwin Hawkins, Composer of "Oh, Happy Day", Dies

Edwin Hawkins, the Gospel star, known best for the hit "Oh, Happy Day" died yesterday at the age of 74. The legendary composer was found dead in his home in Pleasanton, California.

Hawkins's publicist told the Associated Press that he'd been suffering from pancreatic cancer.

He will always be remembered for the major force he was in the music industry. Hawkins was considered one of the founders of modern Gospel music, along with Andrae Crouch and James Cleveland.

The New York Times commented, "The record rendered songs of praise with a rhythm-and-blues sensibility. A disc jockey at the Bay Area FM station KSAN, Abe Kesh, began playing one particular track, "Oh Happy Day"... The catchy song spread, and, with the group renamed the Edwin Hawkins Singers, it was released as a single and eventually reached No. 4 on the Billboard pop chart and No. 2 on the R&B chart."

The hit was performed by other stars at the time, such as by Rock-and-Roll legend Elvis Presley. It was also used in beloved classics like Sister Act II.

The music legend told blackmusic.com in 2015, "We grew up hearing all kinds of music in our home. My mother, who was a devout Christian, loved the Lord and displayed that in her lifestyle... My father was not a committed Christian at that time but was what you'd call a good man," Hawkins said. "And, of course, we heard from him some R&B music but also a lot of Country and Western when we were younger kids."

In his lifetime, Hawkins was awarded four Grammy Awards, and in 2007, he was voted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame.

He will always be remembered for his incredible and inspirational compositions.



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