Some of Gospel music’s biggest stars are heading to the Bay Area to pay tribute to one of the genre’s true legends – Oakland native Edwin Hawkins – who died in January at the age of 74.

Donnie McClurkin, Marvin Winans, Bebe Winans, Beverly Crawford, Anita Wilson, LaShun Pace, Ted Winn, Melonie Daniels-Walker, Chrystal Rucker, BSlade, Chrystal Rucker, Minister Carole King, Tibari and Bishop Yvette Flunder are among the artists set to perform during the two-night “Celebration of Life” tribute concert on Feb. 6-7 at the Harbor Light Church, 4760 Thornton Ave., Fremont.

The event starts at 7 p.m. each night. The public is invited to attend and admission is free. Those who can’t attend in person are welcome to live stream the “Celebration of Life” on Hawkins’ faceook page, https://www.facebook.com/iamedwinhawkins/.

The artists will be performing from Hawkins’ deep catalog, which includes such favorites as “Worship the Lord” and “Imagine Heaven.”

Gospel fans can also expect to hear Hawkins’ best-known offering, “Oh Happy Day,” which was released in 1969 and went on to win a Grammy Award. He song remains incredibly popular to this day, having reportedly remained on Billboard’s Gospel Digital Songs sales chart for 275 weeks and counting. After his death, the song even reportedly rocketed back up the charts for a two week stay at the No. 1 spot.

Hawkins died at his home in Pleasanton on Jan. 15, following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

He’s remembered as one of the pioneers of modern gospel music (sometimes referred to as urban contemporary gospel music).

While many other artists borrowed from gospel to create hit pop/R&B tunes, Hawkins openly celebrated his Christian faith in his music and still managed to top the charts.

His first album, “Let Us Go into the House of the Lord,” came out in 1968 and he’d continue to make hit records into the ’90s.

This death drew an outpouring from the music industry, including a statement from Grammy/Recording Academy President Neil Portnow.

“Edwin Hawkins was a celebrated recording artist recognized as a founder of modern gospel music,” Portnow said. “He earned 19 GRAMMY nominations between 1969–1996, winning his first award for Best Soul Gospel Performance for `Oh Happy Day,’ the crossover hit that solidified his status as a leading force in gospel music. He earned three more GRAMMY Awards during his career in the Best Soul Gospel Performance and Best Gospel Album By A Choir Or Chorus categories.

“Edwin’s contributions to the contemporary …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News

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Gospel music greats gather in Fremont for Edwin Hawkins tribute

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