The sound of music pauses to acknowledge the passing of Bishop Walter Hawkins.
May 18, 1949 – July 11, 2010
Arguably one of gospel music’s most legendary figures, Bishop Walter Hawkins was a beloved figure in contemporary gospel music. In the thirty plus years of his career, he has created one of the most prolific and outstanding catalogs of hit gospel recordings and published songs, which we are all still singing today.
Recordings and published songs that you might know include such great hits as: Marvelous, Going Up Yonder, Changed, Be Grateful, Thank You, He’s That Kind Of Friend, Until I Found The Lord, Jesus Christ is the Way, I’m Not The Same, Holy One, Spirit Now, Battle, I Love You Lord, Special Gift, Set Me Free.
Then came the hits such as Is There Any Way, Everybody Ought To Know, My Gratitude, It’s Right and Good, Cry On, I’m So Thankful, Just In The Nick of Time, Jesus Made A Way, Thank You Lord, I Must Go On, I’m Going Away, Lord Give Us Time, Try Christ.
Walter Hawkins was also known for the gospel tunes I Feel Like Singing, Dear Jesus, God is Standing By, I Love Jesus More, Follow Me, All You Need is Christ, He Brought Me, He’ll Be There, Goin’ To a Place, I’m A Pilgrim, Never Alone, On & On, and so many more.
At the age of 19, this Bay Area native hadn’t considered a musical life. His recording debut actually came anonymously when he sang in the Ephesians Church of God in Christ’s youth choir, a Berkeley, California-based church. To raise money to attend a convention in Washington, DC, the choir, directed by Hawkins’ older brother, Edwin, recorded an album, Let Us Go Into The House of the Lord, in 1968 to sell locally. Astonishingly a song from that album, “Oh Happy Day,” became a pop hit the following year selling over a million copies. In the next few years, the Edwin Hawkins Singers toured nationally and internationally before Walter set out on his own.
He entered the ministry and in 1973 founded the Love Center Church in Oakland. With $1,800 borrowed from his mother-in-law, Hawkins returned to Ephesians with his Love Center Choir and recorded a live album, Going Up Yonder, released on Light Records which rode the gospel charts for months in 1975 and became a mainstay on Billboard’s Gospel Top 40 Chart for three consecutive years, making it one of the decade’s biggest selling gospel albums. More that 300,000 units were purchased.
Continue to read more of the official biography as well as learn about the career accomplishments and the journey Walter Hawkins took to continue spreading the gospel by clicking on the links below:
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