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Walter Hawkins

The younger brother of gospel vocalist and choir director Edwin Hawkins, Bishop Walter Hawkins was one of gospel's most successful performers. The leader of the Love Center Choir, Hawkins led the group to two Dove Awards, presented by the Gospel Music Association, and multiple Grammy nominations. The group's debut album, Going Up Yonder, released in 1975, spent several months on the Top 40 gospel chart compiled by Billboard. Their second album, Love Alive II, sold nearly 300,000 copies. This was surpassed by their third album, Love Alive III, which topped the million sales mark. They continued this success with Love Alive IV, released in 1989, which remained in the top position on the gospel charts for 39 weeks.

Hawkins gave very little thought to a career in music until 1968. In an attempt to raise money to send the Ephesian Church of God in Christ's youth choir, directed by Edwin Hawkins, to a convention in Washington, D.C., Hawkins helped the group record an album, Let Us Go into the House of the Lord. Although initial plans called for the album to be sold locally, it became an international success when a single, "Oh Happy Day," sold more than a million copies. The group subsequently toured as the Edwin Hawkins Singers.

In the early '70s, Walter Hawkins left the group to pursue a career on his own. After earning a Master of Divinity degree from the University of California in Berkeley, he founded the Love Center Church in Oakland. Two years later, he returned to the Ephesian Church of God in Christ to record an album, Going Up Yonder, with the Love Center Choir. In addition to continuing to work with the Love Center Choir, Hawkins periodically collaborated with his brother and other family members. While he joined his brother to record an album with the Oakland Symphony, he wrote and produced an album, Baby Sis, for his youngest sister, Lynette, in 1985. The same year, he wrote and produced one tune, "Everybody Ought to Know," on The Search Is Over, the debut solo studio album by his wife, Tramaine Hawkins. In 1988, he joined with the Hawkins Family to record the album Special Gift. Three years later, he co-produced and served as musical director and arranger for a Grammy-winning album, Tramaine Live, by his now ex-wife.

Hawkins worked with other artists as well. Together with the Love Center Choir, he performed on albums by Van Morrison and Lee Oskar. On his own, he worked with Diahann Carroll, Sylvester, and Jeffrey Osborne. In 1985, Hawkins wrote and produced three songs for the Williams Brothers' album Hand in Hand. During the 1990s, Hawkins was back leading the Love Center Choir on the Grammy-nominated Love Alive V: 25th Anniversary Reunion, released in 1998. His catalog was revitalized in the new millennium, with a number of reissues and an all-new recording, the Stellar Award-winning Song in My Heart, in 2005. Hawkins underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2008, but was well enough to join a subsequent Hawkins Family reunion concert tour. A sixth Love Alive recording was being planned for fall 2010 when Walter Hawkins succumbed to the pancreatic cancer at his home in Ripon, CA on July 11 of that year, at the age of 61. ~ Craig Harris, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Loved his music
I grew up listening to The Hawkins...an d their music has stayed within my heart every since I heard Goin Up Yonder. Miss you Bishop Hawkins.
My favorite!
poms4mom
The Bishop died on the same day that God allowed doctors to is so personal to me. Herbclean out a95% blocked carotid in my body. His music
I will always state the Edwin and Walter Hawkins are the Godfather's of Contemporary gospel music. Love their music.
Tamiia
Jesus First!!!posi t i v e l y
Love God kept me because he picked me up from a dark place in my life and cleaned me up inside and out.
I grew up listening 2 Walter Hawkins & Love Center since the 70's. I'm still so sad that he's passed. It seems every 2 months or so I find myself listening 2 his music for at least 3 days straight. Can't play anything else..And for a real treat, i'll dig out the few videos that he's on..lol Namely Miss. Mass. Hold on Old Soldier. The man was Marvelous. I wish i would've had the opportunity 2 meet him and visit his church. Thank u Lord for blessing us with his talent.
I love every song that has been written by Bishop Walter Hawkins. His talent, his voice, and his spirit has truly been missed. However, he lives in our hearts and through his music. I promise you every Sunday a musician, a vocalist, or a Minister of Music is doing one of his songs. I am one of those Minister of Music who is doing something written by him every Sunday...RIP
My Mother passed very unexpectedly 28 years ago. It left my Father, two older brothers and myself in complete shock and pain. But Bishop Hawkins voice and music was such a great comfort to my entire family. I will forever be grateful to this wonderful man. God Bless the Bishop's soul.
So powerful and so anointedT I thank God that we are very blessed by his legacy. May God continue to bless the entire family!
Miss Bishop Hawkins so much. His Ministry, His Music & His Presence & Spirit!! R.I.Paradise Bishop!!
Good morning lakrisha
I grew up on the hawkins family bishop Hawkins will definitely be missed
Bishop Hawkins was Marvelous
No doubt...he is consummate gospel royalty. I have listened to him and his family for two decades...it s hard to imagine gospel music without him....i never met him, but i will miss him.....
celethia88
He was a very gifted person :)
gmoney11195
so soothing to my soul, during troubled times. I'm never alone!
my favorite song EVER is be grateful
gerald9025
I LOVE HAWKINS FAMILY
May God continue to bless and annoint Gospel Music... to reach the lost.
Jesus is due to come back!!!!!!!
If had not been for a young lady of faith, I would have known about one of the prolific gospel families ever ! Walter Hawkins and The Hawkins Family was LOVE ALIVE to me even now. He is sorely miss and GOD BLESS the rest of the HAWKINS FAMILY!
he is my cousin, and i miss him dearly
h.217
His songs helped me to stay saved and encouraged, I thought he would live forever. praise God one day we will meet in the sweet by and by, and there I will be able to than him personally.
I can't find Words to express my love for Walter Hawkins & The Hawkins Family's music- Today, they are still number one on my list. Tramaine and the whole family...May God continue to bless you all- Good old fashion, soul searching lyrics and music
It was in my younger days that I loved to hear the Hawkins singers as I was playing for Groups and Churchs in Wichita Ka. there music was and inspiration to me.
I am grateful for Bishop Hawkins wonderful God given talent that was loaned to us for a while. Thou good and faithful servant well done.
WORDS CANNOT EXPRESS HOW HIS BODY OF WORK HAS TOUCHED MY LIFE. ON MY DARK DAYS AND NIGHTS I CAN PUT ON "HOLD ON SOLDIER" AND IT LETS ME KNOW THIS ANOINTED MAN OF CHRIST WAS SENT HERE FOR ALL OF US. I WILL TRULY MISS HIM. BUT THE LORD HAS HIS SERVANT BACK NOW. R.I.P BISHOP
THE ANOINTING IS MEASURELESS, EXEMPLIFIED IN THIS MASTERFUL MINISTER OF MUSIC: BISHOP WALTER HAWKINS WHOSE LIFE AND LEGACY CAME FROM THE ONLY TRUE AND LIVING GOD. MY LIFE IN CHRIST IS CONTINUALLY ENRICHED ENPOWERED BECAUSE THE LIVING JESUS CHRIST MY SAVIOR AND LORD COMPLETELY ENBODIED RULED AND REIGNED BY THE HOLY OF HOLIES IN LIFE OF THIS HIGHLY FAVORED "HAWKINS" FAMILY. THIS MUSIC FLOWS FROM THE HEART AND THRONG OF FATHER GOD. ALL GOOD AND PERFECT GIFTS COME FROM ABOVE. THAT SUMS UP THE OIL
What a wonderful gift to the body of Christ!
There are not enough words to express how his music has touched not only me but millions. He will be missed.
My Bishop, I love him
loycejh
I love the Hawkins family. I agree with the expressions of many, Bishop Walter Hawkins will be missed. I would have to say this family really brought Gospel music into my life, spirit, my heart. I am forever Grateful. I thank God for this family and their ministry through music. The song Be Grateful was an incredible lesson in my life.
mizhawkinett e
Hello I am Bishop Hawkins neice, I just read all your wonderful messages about my uncle..it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for loving him as we did.
akrystal4
Bishop Walter Hawkins was and still is the person that caused me to understand who I am in christ through his music. the words that he put in to his music cauesd me to grow and accept my call and my walk in christ. I thank God that Bishop obeyed his calling in the ministry of Christ. He is truly missed .With all humilty Gods Servent Glenda Wilson Marshall Miami Florida.
harris9715
Bishop Walter Hawkins shared his love for God through so many song of praise,and he is miss!
faith3020
I really loved Bishop Walter Hawkins and his music even as a child it blessed me but now as adult its blessing me and my children they too love to listen to his music. Missing him so much, we needed so much more of that gift that God has blessed him with now.
MY PASTOR BISHOP FRIEND AND MENTOR...I MISS YOU
Walter Hawkins and his family changed gospel music as we know it, Thank you.
Walter Hawkins was my favorite Gospel male artist.
I remember as young kid, my brother being mentored by this annointed man of God. His love for the Lord and zeal for young people was just as memorable as his music. He will be sorely and greatly missed. But when we all get to heaven, we'll not only sing and shout the victory but I'm sure he will finish the song 'Goin up Yonder' as it's new title will be 'Together up Yonder'. We love you, we miss you and can't wait to see you.
jcol556921
Bishop Walter Hawkins brought me so much joy and peace by listening to his music, and he will be truly missed by me. It sadde us all that God took him home so young. His music will be an inspiration to thousands for many years to come. May the spirit of peace, and comfort be with his family. God Bless
Walter Hawkins brought me so much joy and peace through his music, and he is so very missed by me. I am so sad that God took him home so young. His music will be an inspiration to thousands for years to come. May the spirit of peace, and comfort be with his family. In Jesus name.
RIP Walter Hawkins. This takes me back to Jr. High Gospel Choir.
I am very thankful for Walter Hawkins and the Hawkins Family for the contribution s of Gospel music they have offered to Christians. The variety of music was so needed back in the 70's and is truly needed today. I find it to be so fitting. I love you Bro. Bishop Walter Hawkins.


I have been so blessed by Bishop Walter Hawkins and his family. The style of harmony, me honing my skills as a Choir director, learning how to sing all vocal parts of a song, knowing the musicians parts and just being a student of gospel music I owe it all to Bishop Walter Hawkins. My heart is heavy but he has Gone Up Yonder directing the heavenly choir!!!!!!
never be another rest in peace u going up to yonder
Oakland has lost a legend. What a great messenger,re s t in peace. May God bless his family.
grandma137
a mighty voice is silenced here on earth, but his voice will sing on in glory. the blessed choir of angels has a great leader.
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