The seven-time Grammy award-winning gospel singer, songwriter and choir director died at Northridge Hospital Medical Center on Jan. 7 at the age of 72.
On Tuesday night, hundreds of fans and loved ones gathered to remember Crouch at a musical tribute memorial event. Marvin and Bebe Winans attended the service and recalled how inspiring Crouch’s work was to the music industry, “Andrae was that bridge; he brought old and new, cutting edge and traditional, together.”
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, 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 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 were what helped in paving the way for early American contemporary Christian music during the 1960s and 1970s.
Crouch’s original music arrangements were heard in the films The Color Purple and Disney’s The Lion King, as well as the NBC television series Amen. Awards received by him include seven Grammy Awards, being inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1998, and receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004.
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.