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Edwin Hawkins

A trailblazing force behind the evolution of the contemporary gospel sound, Edwin Hawkins remains best known for his 1969 classic "Oh Happy Day," one of the biggest gospel hits of all time and a major pop radio smash as well. Born in Oakland, CA in 1943, he began singing in his church youth choir while still a toddler, and by age five was playing piano; just two years later, he assumed full-time piano accompaniment duties for the family gospel group, making their recorded debut in 1957. A decade later, Hawkins and Betty Watson co-founded the Northern California State Youth Choir, drawing on the finest soloists from throughout the Bay Area to build the 50-member ensemble, which soon entered the studio to cut the 1968 LP Let Us Go into the House of the Lord, its modern, R&B-influenced production pointing the way to a new era in gospel recording.

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, and 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. At this time the choir was rechristened the Edwin Hawkins Singers, although the featured voice on "Oh Happy Day" belonged to singer Dorothy Combs Morrison, who soon exited in pursuit of a solo career. Her loss proved devastating to Hawkins' long-term commercial fortunes, although in 1970 the ensemble did make a return appearance on the pop charts in support of Melanie on her hit "Lay Down (Candle in the Wind)."

Still, Hawkins remained a critical favorite, and in 1972 the Singers won a second Grammy for Every Man Wants to Be Free. Recording prolifically throughout the remainder of the decade, in 1980 they won a third Grammy for Wonderful; a fourth, for If You Love Me, followed three years later. In 1982, Hawkins also founded the Edwin Hawkins Music and Arts Seminar, an annual week-long convention that offers workshops exploring all facets of the gospel industry and culminating each year with a live performance by the assembled mass choir. Although Hawkins recorded less and less frequently in the years to follow, he continued touring regularly, including a series of 1995 dates with the Swedish choir Svart Pa Vitt. His Music and Arts Seminar continued to grow as well, with the 2002 choir including members from the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Hawkins also recorded throughout the 2000s, releasing All the Angels in 2004 and Have Mercy four years later. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Comments

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"Early in the Morning" is my best prayer time........ . . i t ' s the ONLY WAY to start my day.
THANK YOU, FATHER!!! :-)
Report as inappropriate
Oh happy day I love so much.....I
am so glad that I download Pandora
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vpollard12
Somebody touch me and I known it was the hand of LORD. I went to work early on April 19, 20013. went to the lady room to get really to start to work. one of my co-worker fine ME on the floor. the doctor call the family in. told my family that had 1 percent chance ot live. God give another day for a reason. the song say somebody touch me.LET ME TELL EVEYONE MY SONG IS ........I KNOW IT WAS THE LORD TOUCH ME .HALLULA!!!! ! ! GORLY TO GOD......JES U S PLEASE LEAD ME, GUIDE ME AND TEACH ME. TAKE ME
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Oh Happy Day!!! When WE decide to love each other unconditiona l l y and give the utmost respect to each other --- GOD WILL SMILE UPON US and the WORLD will see BETTER, HAPPIER DAYS INSTANTANEOU S L Y ! THAT'S HOW POWERFUL OUR GOD IS!
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douglas.turn e r 3 2
Oh happy day, need not say loved growing up and still do, God is good
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these are some very encouranging word when you are going through. stay encougage.
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I love revival Gospel! Love Edwin Hawkins Singers!!!
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I would like to say that regardless of religion great singing and great music are just wonderful and soulful when blended together as they were in this song!
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Appreciate his music....esp e c i a l l y the arrangements for choirs.
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eixor53
LOVE THIS ARTIST,VERY INSPIRATIONA L
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caredaven1
As J.R. stated...... B i s h o p and Bro.Edwin Hawkins are the Godfathers of Comteporary Gospel Music. Their do transcend to place no other has gone before.
Report as inappropriate
The truly first contemporary gospel sound,coming out of Northern California,B r o . E d w i n & Bishop Walter Hawkins the Godfathers of contemporary Gospel music. This song transcened gospel music to where it is now!True pioneers, May Bishop Walter Hawkins R.I.P.
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Whenever I have listened to the song Oh Happy Day, I really feel God's presence and see Jesus and his glory and power as God almighty! It makes me taste Heaven and the reality of eternity hits me like a tone of bricks!
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I really enjoy this beautiful song Oh happy day from 1969. I love my God our father and this song just feels my soul with happiness every time I hear it.
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augusttaylor
I sill listen to all these artist love them

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