Andraé Crouch

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Andraé Crouch
Andrae Crouch cropped.JPG
Crouch in Stavanger, Norway in 2008
Background information
Birth nameAndraé Edward Crouch
Born(1942-07-01)July 1, 1942
San Francisco, California, U.S.
DiedJanuary 8, 2015(2015-01-08) (aged 72)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres Gospel, contemporary Christian
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, arranger, record producer, choir director, pastor
InstrumentsVocals, piano, organ
Years active1966–2014
Labels Light, Qwest/Warner Bros., Verity/Jive
Associated acts Sandra Crouch, Táta Vega, Danniebelle Hall, Kristle Murden
Website Andraé Crouch on Facebook

Andraé Edward Crouch (July 1, 1942 – January 8, 2015) was an American gospel singer, songwriter, arranger, record producer and pastor. Referred to as "the father of modern gospel music" by contemporary Christian and gospel music professionals, [1] Crouch was known for his compositions "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power", "My Tribute (To God Be the Glory)" and "Soon and Very Soon". He collaborated on some of his recordings with artists, such as Stevie Wonder, El DeBarge, Philip Bailey, Chaka Khan, Sheila E. and vocal group Take 6, and many recording artists covered his material, including, Bob Dylan, Barbara Mandrell, Paul Simon, Elvis Presley and Little Richard. [2] In the 1980s and 1990s, he was known as the "go to" producer for superstars who sought a gospel choir sound in their recordings, appearing on a number of recordings by including Michael Jackson's "Man In The Mirror", Madonna's "Like a Prayer", and "The Power", a duet between Elton John and Little Richard. [3] Crouch was noted for his talent of incorporating contemporary secular music styles into the gospel music he grew up with. His efforts in this area helped pave the way for early American contemporary Christian music during the 1960s and 1970s. [4]

Gospel music is a genre of Christian music. The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, and as an entertainment product for the marketplace. Gospel music usually has dominant vocals with Christian lyrics. Gospel music can be traced to the early 17th century, with roots in the black oral tradition. Hymns and sacred songs were often repeated in a call and response fashion. Most of the churches relied on hand clapping and foot stomping as rhythmic accompaniment. Most of the singing was done a cappella. The first published use of the term "gospel song" probably appeared in 1874. The original gospel songs were written and composed by authors such as George F. Root, Philip Bliss, Charles H. Gabriel, William Howard Doane, and Fanny Crosby. Gospel music publishing houses emerged. The advent of radio in the 1920s greatly increased the audience for gospel music. Following World War II, gospel music moved into major auditoriums, and gospel music concerts became quite elaborate.

Stevie Wonder American musician and record producer

Stevland Hardaway Morris, better known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American singer, songwriter, musician and record producer. A prominent figure in popular music, he is one of the most successful musicians of the 20th century. Wonder's "classic period", between 1972 and 1977, is noted for his funky keyboard style, personal control of production, and series of songs integrated with one another to make a concept album.

Eldra Patrick "El" DeBarge is an American Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, producer and musician. During the early to mid-1980s he was the focal point and primary lead singer of the family group DeBarge. Popular songs led by El Debarge include "Time Will Reveal", "Stay with Me", "All This Love", and "Rhythm of the Night". As a solo artist, he is best known for his unique high tenor register, strong falsetto and the hits "Who's Johnny" and "Love Always", and for his collaborations with Tone Loc, George Clinton, Faith Evans, Quincy Jones, Fourplay, and DJ Quik. DeBarge is a three-time Grammy nominee.


Crouch's original music arrangements were heard in the films The Color Purple , for which he received an Oscar nomination, and Disney's The Lion King , as well as the NBC television series Amen . Awards and honors received by him include seven Grammy Awards, induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1998, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. [4]

<i>The Color Purple</i> (film) 1985 drama film directed by Steven Spielberg

The Color Purple is a 1985 American coming-of-age period drama film directed by Steven Spielberg with a screenplay by Menno Meyjes, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1982 novel of the same name by Alice Walker. It was Spielberg's eighth film as a director, and was a change from the summer blockbusters for which he had become famous. The film was also the first feature-length film directed by Spielberg for which John Williams did not compose the music. The film stars Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, Desreta Jackson, Margaret Avery, Oprah Winfrey, Rae Dawn Chong, Willard Pugh, and Adolph Caesar in one of his final film roles.

<i>The Lion King</i> 1994 American animated musical film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation

The Lion King is a 1994 American animated musical film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 32nd Disney animated feature film, and the fifth animated film produced during a period known as the Disney Renaissance. The Lion King was directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, produced by Don Hahn, and has a screenplay credited to Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, and Linda Woolverton. Its original songs were written by composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, with a score by Hans Zimmer. The film features an ensemble voice cast that includes Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Rowan Atkinson, Robert Guillaume, Madge Sinclair, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings. The story takes place in a kingdom of lions in Africa and was influenced by William Shakespeare's Hamlet.

NBC American television and radio network

The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American English-language commercial terrestrial television network that is a flagship property of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast. The network is headquartered at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, with additional major offices near Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia. The network is one of the Big Three television networks. NBC is sometimes referred to as the "Peacock Network", in reference to its stylized peacock logo, introduced in 1956 to promote the company's innovations in early color broadcasting. It became the network's official emblem in 1979.

Early years

Andraé Edward Crouch was born, along with his twin sister, Sandra, on July 1, 1942 in San Francisco, California [5] to parents Benjamin and Catherine (née Hodnett) Crouch. [6] When he was young, Crouch's parents owned and operated Crouch Cleaners, a dry-cleaning business, as well as a restaurant business in Los Angeles, California. [7] In addition to running the family's businesses, Crouch's parents also had a Christian street-preaching ministry and a hospital and prison ministry. [8] When Crouch was 11, his father was invited to speak for several weeks at a small church as a guest preacher. Crouch's father and the church's congregation encouraged the young boy to play during the services. At the piano, Crouch found the key in which the congregation was singing and started to play. After this, Crouch honed his piano-playing skills and, in time, wanted to write his own music. When he was 14 years old, he wrote his first Gospel song. [3] [9] [10]

Sandra Crouch is an American gospel music performer, drummer and songwriter.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of nearly four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.



Crouch's first group musical effort was formed in 1960 as the Church of God in Christ Singers. The group included future recording artist and session musician Billy Preston on keyboards [6] and was the first to record Crouch's song "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power". The song's popularity grew following the initial 1969 recording, becoming a standard in churches and hymnals worldwide. [4] While attending Valley Junior College in the San Fernando Valley to become a teacher, he formed gospel music group "The Disciples" in 1965 with fellow musicians Perry Morgan, Reuben Fernandez, and Bili Thedford. [11] The group became a frequent attraction at "Monday Night Sing" concerts in southern California put on by Audrey Mieir, a Christian minister and music composer who frequently sponsored new Christian music groups. [10] Following Mieir's introduction of Crouch to Manna Music Publishing's founders Tim and Hal Spencer, Manna published Crouch's song "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power", written when he was 15 years old. The Spencers helped launch Crouch's recording career by introducing them to Light Records founder and prolific Christian songwriter Ralph Carmichael. After the addition of Sherman Andrus to The Disciples, Light Records recorded and released the group's first album, Take the Message Everywhere, in 1968. [12] Following the group's first album release, Crouch's twin sister, Sandra, joined The Disciples in 1970 after Fernandez' departure. Two more albums would follow, Keep On Singin' and Soulfully, before a major change in the group's lineup in 1972.[ citation needed ]

Billy Preston American singer-songwriter, musician, bandleader

William Everett Preston was an American musician whose work encompassed R&B, rock, soul, funk, and gospel. Preston was a top session keyboardist in the 1960s, during which he backed artists such as Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Rev. James Cleveland and The Beatles. He went on to achieve fame as a solo artist, with hit singles such as "That's the Way God Planned It", "Outa-Space", "Will It Go Round in Circles", "Space Race", "Nothing from Nothing" and "With You I'm Born Again". Additionally, Preston co-wrote "You Are So Beautiful", which became a number 5 hit for Joe Cocker.

Los Angeles Valley College Community college in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC) is a public community college in the Valley Glen neighborhood of Los Angeles, California in the east-central San Fernando Valley. The school is a part of the Los Angeles Community College District.

Manna Music was founded in 1955 by Tim Spencer as a song publishing company. During the early 1970s through the mid 1980s it included its own label, Manna Records.

When Sherman Andrus left the Disciples to join the Imperials he was replaced by singer Danniebelle Hall. More musicians were being added and the group's membership by the early 1970s included Fletch Wiley on trumpet, Harlan Rogers on keyboards, Hadley Hockensmith on guitar, and Bill Maxwell on drums. [10] The group appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1972 [10] and to sold out crowds at Carnegie Hall in 1975 and 1979. [13] By 1985 they had also performed at the Hollywood Bowl and toured 68 countries.[ citation needed ] Crouch's most popular songs from this period include "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power", "Through It All", "Bless His Holy Name", "Soon and Very Soon", "Jesus is the Answer", and "My Tribute".

Sherman Andrus is an American gospel singer, who is probably best known as the man who broke the "color barrier" by becoming the first African-American lead singer of a mainstream Christian music group. He has been a very prolific artist who has been involved in one way or another with forty gospel albums to date.

The Imperials American Christian music group

The Imperials are an American Christian music group that has been active for over 50 years. Originating as a southern gospel quartet, the innovative group would become pioneers of contemporary Christian music in the 1960s. There have been many changes for the band in membership and musical styles over the years. They would go on to win four Grammys, and be inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Danniebelle Hall, was an American gospel musician, recording artist, songwriter.

Solo career

After The Disciples disbanded in 1979, Crouch continued on with a solo career. His backing ensemble included Howard Smith, Linda McCrary, Táta Vega, and Kristle Murden, along with The Andraé Crouch Singers. Joe Sample, Wilton Felder, Dean Parks, David Paich, Phillip Bailey, Stevie Wonder, El DeBarge, and other secular artists were included in Crouch's recording sessions. With former Disciples drummer-turned-producer Bill Maxwell, Crouch co-produced projects for The Winans, Danniebelle Hall, and Kristle Murden. Many musical acts and solo performers covered his more popular works, including Elvis Presley with I've Got Confidence. In 1986, Crouch composed the theme music for the Sherman Hemsley sitcom Amen , sung by Vanessa Bell Armstrong.

Táta Vega is an American vocalist whose career spans theater, film, and a variety of musical genres.

Kristle Murden also known as Kristle Edwards is an American singer-songwriter, musician, music producer, vocal coach and ordained minister. Murden is best known for her featured solo on the Oscar winning song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" on Disney's animated film, The Lion King. Murden made her professional debut in 1979 singing the duet "I'll Be Thinking of You" with 7-time Grammy Award winner Andraé Crouch, which also featured Stevie Wonder on harmonica. She signed as a solo artist with Light Records, also in 1979. Murden went on to achieve two Grammy nominations of her own. Her solo album I Can't Let Go was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1980. In 1984, she was Grammy nominated for her solo vocal performance for "Jesus Come Lay Your Head on Me" from Andraé Crouch's No Time to Lose album. In 1981 Murden was nominated for a Dove Award for her I Can't Let Go album in the category of Best Soul Black Gospel album.

Joe Sample American pianist

Joseph LeslieSample was an American pianist, keyboard player, and composer. He was one of the founding members of the Jazz Crusaders, the band which became simply the Crusaders in 1971, and remained a part of the group until its final album in 1991.

In 2006 Crouch released Mighty Wind , a 40th anniversary album featuring guest performances by Lauren Evans, Crystal Lewis, Karen Clark Sheard, Táta Vega, and Marvin Winans.


Crouch has been credited as a key figure in Jesus music of the 1960s and 1970s and, as a result, helping to bring about contemporary Christian music into the church. [14] As well, he is also credited with helping to bridge the gap between black and white Christian music and revolutionizing the sound of urban Gospel music. Though sometimes criticized for diluting the Christian message by using contemporary music styles, his songs have become staples in churches and hymnals around the world and have been recorded by mainstream artists such as Elvis Presley and Paul Simon. [6]

His affiliation with Light Records was instrumental in bringing Walter and Tramaine Hawkins, Jessy Dixon and The Winans to the label, from where they all enjoyed successful gospel music careers. [15]

In 1996, Crouch and his music were honored on the Grammy Award-winning CD, Tribute: The Songs of Andraé Crouch, released by Warner Bros. Records. The album featured a wide range of artists performing Crouch's classic songs and featured the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Take 6, Twila Paris, and Michael W. Smith. [16]

Crouch and his sister Sandra had a friendship and music relationship with Michael Jackson. [17] In 1987, the Andraé Crouch Choir sang background vocals along with Siedah Garrett and The Winans on Jackson's hit single "Man in the Mirror" from the Bad album. The Andraé Crouch Singers were also featured on the songs "Keep the Faith" and "Will You Be There" from Jackson's 1991 Dangerous album. On Jackson's HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I project in 1995, the Andraé Crouch Choir is heard on "Earth Song." They are also heard on "Morphine" from HIStory's remix album Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix , and one last time on "Speechless" from the Invincible album. Crouch's composition, "Soon and Very Soon" was performed by the Andraé Crouch Choir at the public memorial service for Jackson held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on July 7, 2009. [18]

Personal life

On November 12, 1982, Crouch was arrested in Los Angeles for possession of cocaine after being stopped for erratic driving. Sheriff's deputies discovered a substance in the vehicle which Crouch said was instant chicken soup powder. After consenting to a search, he was found to be carrying a vial of cocaine in his pocket. Crouch was arrested and released several hours later on $2,500 bail, maintaining the drugs belonged to a friend who had been staying in his apartment. Police declined to press charges. [19] [20]

Between 1993 and 1994, Crouch suffered the loss of his father, mother, and older brother. [6] After his father's death, Crouch and his sister took over the shared duty of senior pastor at the church his parents founded, Christ Memorial Church of God in Christ in Pacoima, California. [6] [21]

Failing health and death

Crouch survived a number of personal attacks from four different forms of cancer, which claimed the life of his mother, father and brother in 1993 and 1994. He was also hospitalized for complications from diabetes in his last few years of life. [22] [23] In early December 2014, Crouch was hospitalized for pneumonia and congestive heart failure. As a result, his December 2014 tour was postponed. [24] [25] He was hospitalized again on January 3, 2015, in Los Angeles, as the result of a heart attack. [26]

On January 8, 2015, Crouch died at Northridge Hospital Medical Center. [13] [25] He was 72. On the same day, his sister, Sandra, released the following statement: "Today my twin brother, womb-mate and best friend went home to be with the Lord. Please keep me, my family and our church family in your prayers. I tried to keep him here but God loved him best." [27]

Following Crouch's death, Christian recording artist Michael W. Smith told Billboard Magazine, "...I'll never forget hearing Andraé for the first time. It was like someone had opened a whole new world of possibilities for me musically. I don't think there is anyone who inspired me more, growing up, than Andraé Crouch. The depth of his influence on Christian music is incalculable. We all owe him so much and I'll forever be grateful for the times we got to work together." [28]


Andraé Crouch and The Disciples

Solo recordings

Other credits

Crouch later worked as a producer or arranger with Michael Jackson, Madonna, Quincy Jones, Mika (We Are Golden), Diana Ross, Elton John, Rick Astley ("Cry for Help") and Prefab Sprout. Crouch also had a long relationship with the Oslo Gospel Choir, which he occasionally produced, arranged [29] for and performed with. [30]


Crouch won numerous awards throughout his career that included seven Grammy Awards [15] and four GMA Dove Awards. He was also the recipient of ASCAP, Billboard , and NAACP Awards.[ citation needed ] In 2004, he became the only living Gospel artist – and just the third in history – to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[ citation needed ]

On November 11, 2011, Sandra and Andrae Crouch were granted an honorary "Artist-in-Residence" Award by the International Center of Worship for Global Day of Worship Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA. [31]

Grammy Awards

Crouch has won seven Grammys: [32]

GMA Dove Awards

Other honors



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