Today, January 8, 2015, music legend, the Grammy and Dove award winning Andraé Crouch died in California. According to his twin sister, Sandra, the gospel singer, songwriter, arranger, record producer and pastor had been hospitalized since January 3, 2015 for unspecified, yet "serious" health issues. He died at approximately 4:30pm PST at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in the Los Angeles area. The news comes as a shock as Sandra had reported just this past Monday via Crouch's official Facebook that the medical team had given the family "encouraging news."
Crouch began singing gospel music at the age of 14 and was a staple in the music industry for over four decades. During his long career, he won seven Grammy Awards and four GMA Dove Awards, as well as ASCAP, Billboard and NAACP Awards. In 2004, he became the only living Gospel artist – and the third in history – to have a star on placed the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Andraé also had an Academy Award nomination for "The Color Purple" and an induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame on his resume.
The man who was often called "the father of modern gospel music" worked with many of the biggest names in music. He led the choirs that sang on Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" and Madonna's "Like a Prayer." He worked as a producer and arranger for Quincy Jones, Diana Ross, Elton John and many others. Bob Darden from Billboard magazine once said, ”Along with Larry Norman, Crouch is one of religious music’s original groundbreakers. Indeed, as contemporary gospel’s perennial frontrunner, Crouch is most widely recognized as the first black gospel artist to appeal to both religious and secular audiences across multiracial lines. A prolific songwriter with some 300 titles to his credit—many of which have become industry standards—Crouch has been a driving force since he appeared on the music scene in the late 1960s."
As a songwriter, he wrote several gospel favorites that will live on as a part of his legacy. His songs were recorded by everyone from Elvis to Paul Simon while "Soon and Very Soon" was the song that the Jackson family chose to be sung at Michael Jackson's public memorial service.
Not a stranger to health issues, Crouch fought and beat cancer in 2006. During an interview at the time with CBN, he said that his mother, father, and brother all died of cancer and he would not follow in those footsteps. He said that he told the devil, "The buck stops here," and that no matter what he would praise God. Though he went on to battle cancer again and suffer from congestive heart failure as well as diabetes, he continued to praise and had a new tour, the "Let the Church Say Amen Celebration Tour," with CeCe Winans, Marvin Sapp, Israel Houghton, Gerald Albright, Marvin Winans, Rance Allen, Leon Timbo, Keith Staten, Vonnie Lopez and Marcus Cole scheduled. His hospitalization required the tour's postponement.
The co-pastor of the New Christ Memorial Church in San Fernando, California never married and had no children. His family has requested privacy as they grieve for their loss and celebrate his life.
Please join the MusicTimes family in sending our deepest condolences to Mr. Crouch's family.