Andraé Edward Crouch (July 1, 1942 – January 8, 2015) was an American gospel singer, songwriter, arranger, record producer and pastor.
Andraé Edward Crouch was born along with his twin sister, Sandra, on July 1, 1942 in San Francisco, California to parents Benjamin and Catherine (née Hodnett) Crouch. 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. In addition to running the family’s businesses, Crouch’s parents had a Christian street-preaching ministry and a hospital and prison ministry.
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
Career And Influence
Referred to as “the father of modern gospel music” by contemporary Christian and gospel music professionals, 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”.
In secular music, he was known for his collaborative work during the 1980s and 1990s with Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Quincy Jones as well as conducting choirs that sang on the Michael Jackson hit “Man in the Mirror” and Madonna’s “Like a Prayer”.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
Crouch and his sister Sandra had a friendship and music relationship with Michael Jackson. In 1987, the Andraé Crouch Choir sang background vocals along with Siedah Garrett, Glen Ballard, 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.” 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.
Personal life And Death
Between 1993 and 1994, Crouch suffered the loss of his father, mother, and older brother. 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.
In early December 2014, Crouch was hospitalized for pneumonia and congestive heart failure. As a result, his December 2014 tour was postponed. He was hospitalized again on January 3, 2015, in Los Angeles, as the result of a heart attack.
On January 8, 2015, Crouch died at Northridge Hospital Medical Center. 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.”
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.”
Crouch won numerous awards throughout his career that included seven Grammy Awards and four GMA Dove Awards. He was also the recipient of ASCAP, Billboard, and NAACP Awards. 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.
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.
Crouch has won seven Grammys:
- 1975: Best Soul Gospel Performance – Take Me Back
- 1978: Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album – Live in London
- 1979: Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album – I’ll Be Thinking of You
- 1980: Best Gospel Performance, Contemporary or Inspirational – “The Lord’s Prayer” (collaborative)
- 1981: Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album – Don’t Give Up
- 1984: Best Soul Gospel Performance, Male – “Always Remember”
- 1994: Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album – Mercy
GMA Dove Awards
- Soul/Black gospel album
- 1977 – This is another day(Light)
- 1978 – Live in London (Light)
- Contemporary gospel album of the year
- 1985 – No Time to Lose (Light)
- 1998 – Pray (Qwest/Warner Bros.)
- Traditional gospel album of the year
- 1993 – With all of my heart; Sandra Crouch and Friends (Sparrow)
- Contemporary gospel recorded song of the year
- 1997 – “Take me back”; Tribute – The Songs of Andrae Crouch (songwriter) (Warner Alliance)
- Inducted into the Gospel Music Association’s Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1998
- 1985: Oscar nomination for music compositions featured in The Color Purple
- 2005: NARAS’ Inaugural Salute to Gospel Music Lifetime Achievement Award recipient
- 2007: Christian Music Hall of Fame and Museum inductee
- 2012: How Sweet the Sound Living Legend Award