Grammy Award-winning singer Edwin Hawkins died on Monday January 15, 2018 at his home in Pleasanton, Calif.
His publicist Bill Carpenter told news organizations that the cause was pancreatic cancer. Hawkins was 74.
The grammy award winning Edwin Hawkins has been coined, The father of contemporary gospel. He rose to fame when the choir he co-founded,The Northern California State Youth Choir, aka, The Edwin Hawkins Singers , performed a new version of the hymn, O Happy Day (1969) which won a Grammy in 1970. Radio stations in the San Francisco Bay area began playing the song, which was a hit and the choir's album sold over one million copies, becoming an international success. The song O Happy Day was included in the Songs of the Century list. Examples of other successful albums included in Edwin's resume' are I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (1972), New World (1973), Wonderful (1976), and The Comforter (1977).
In the early 1980's Edwin took contemporary gospel music to a new level when he teamed up with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra and produced two albums; one of them featuring a re-make of O Happy Day with cousin Shirley Miller singing the lead. (Dorothy Morrison sang the lead in the original version). In later years, when not supporting his brother Walter's CD production, Edwin has been conducting Music and Arts seminars in different parts of the country. The talented musician survives his famous brother Walter, who passed away July 11, 2010.
Throughout his career, Edwin Hawkins won a total of four Grammys, and he was voted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame in 2007.