Andrae Crouch, Legendary gospel figure, dies at 72

By Post Nigeria January 9, 2015 21:51

Andrae Crouch, Legendary gospel figure, dies at 72

Gospel music legend Andrae Crouch has passed away.

Crouch, 72 died this afternoon at Northridge Hospital Medical Center, where he was earlier admitted on Saturday last week after suffering a heart attack.

Crouch was a pastor, gospel performer, prolific song writer and choir director whose stellar career spanned more than half a century, during which he won seven Grammy awards.

Crouch was born in San Francisco. He wrote his first gospel song at the age of 14 and went on to write and perform dozens of hit songs during his lifetime, including gospel favorites, “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power,” ”My Tribute (To God Be the Glory)” and “Soon and Very Soon.

His debut album in 1960’s, pioneered the burgeoning “Jesus Music” movement from the late 1960’s and 70s, and started the spread of contemporary Christian music.

The Recording Academy in a statement issued said Crouch was “a remarkable musician and legendary figure” who was “fiercely devoted to evolving the sound of contemporary, urban gospel music.”

Crouch was also a pastor at the New Christ Memorial Church in Los Angeles suburb of San Fernando lived in the Pacoima area of Los Angeles.

Pastor Sandra Crouch, while paying tribute to the legend said, “Today my twin brother, womb-mate and best friend went home to be with the Lord. “I tried to keep him here but God loved him best.”

“We’ve lost a true pioneer and he will be missed,” said Jason Crabb, another Grammy-winning gospel singer.

Crouch’s influences crossed over to mainstream music as Elvis Presley performed one of his songs “I’ve Got Confidence” for a 1972 gospel album and Paul Simon recorded “Jesus Is the Answer” for a 1974 live album.

He worked with many influential artists from the 70’s including Diana Ross and Ringo Starr. He was one of very few gospel artists whose work earned him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Crouch’s accomplishment came despite a lifelong struggle with dyslexia. To create, he would make drawings that allowed him to grasp the concept.

“I memorized everything through sight, the shape of the word,” Crouch told The Associated Press in 2011.

“Some things that I write, you’ll see a page with cartoon pictures or a drawing of a car — like a Ford — or a flag. I still do it on an occasion when a word is strange to me.”

“So when I finish a song, I thank God for bringing me through,” he continued. “You have to press on and know your calling. That’s what I’ve been doing for all my life. I just went forward.”