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edwin hawkins

Edwin Hawkins

b. Edwin Reuben Hawkins, 19th August 1943, Oakland, California, U.S.A.

d. 15th January 2018, Pleasanton, California, U.S.A.

Born in Oakland, California in 1943, Edwin performed in his local choir as a child.

At the age of five, Edwin began playing piano.

When he was 7, he started playing piano accompaniment for the family gospel group.

The Hawkins family made their recording debut in 1957.

Edwin and Betty Watson founded the Northern California State Youth Choir of the Church of God in Christ.

Edwin HawkinsEdwin Hawkins

let us go into the house of the lord - 1969

The choir recorded their debut album ‘Let Us Go into the House of the Lord at the Ephesian Church of God in Christ’ in Berkeley, California.

‘Oh Happy Day’ was a featured song on the album.


Local radio stations began playing ‘Oh Happy Day’ as a stand-alone melody.

Dorothy Morrison

dorothy combs morrison

Featuring Dorothy Combs Morrison, the single released went on to sell over a million copies.

In 1969, ’Oh Happy Day’ reached No.4 on the U.S. charts, and No.2 on the U.K. charts.

‘Oh Happy Day’ was one of the first gospel songs that achieved mainstream success. 

Edwin was awarded his first Grammy for the song.

Edwin Hawkins

By 1969, the choir became known as the Edwin Hawkins Singers.

‘Oh Happy Day’ was followed by the 1970 Melanie with The Edwin Hawkins Singers single ‘Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)’.

The single reached No. 6 in the U.S. charts.

In 1972 the group were awarded a second Grammy for ‘Every Man Wants to Be Free’.

A third Grammy followed in 1980, when they were awarded a third Grammy for ‘Wonderful’, which was followed by another, for the song ‘If You Love Me’.

In 1982, Edwin founded the Edwin Hawkins Music and Arts Seminar.

Leap Of Faith

In 1992, in the Steve Martin movie ‘Leap of Faith’, Edwin is featured as the choir master for the gospel songs.

Although his time spent in the studio slowed down, in 1995, Edwin toured on dates with the Swedish choir Svart Pa Vitt.

In 2002, the Edwin Hawkins Music and Arts Seminar toured the World.

He released ‘All the Angels’ in 2004, and ‘Have Mercy’ in 2008.

Edwin Hawkins

Edwin Hawkins passed away from pancreatic cancer in Pleasanton, California in 2018 at the age of 74.

Edwin Hawkins was the brother of Gospel singer, Walter Hawkins, who is married to the Gospel singer, Tramaine Hawkins.

Edwin Hawkins Singers

Real Player


Northern California State Youth Choir, Director: Edwin R. Hawkins - Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord ‎(Century Records 1969)

He's A Friend Of Mine ‎(Century Records 1969)

Jesus, Lover of My Soul (Century Records 1969)

Hebrew Boys (Century Records 1969)

Lord Don't Move That Mountain (Century Records 1969)

Ain't It Like Him (Century Records 1969)

Live at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam ‎(Queen City Albums Records 1971)

Candles in the Rain with Melanie Safka ‎(Queen City Albums Records 1971)

Try the Real Thing with Melanie Safka ‎(Queen City Albums Records 1971)

Pray For Peace ‎(Queen City Albums Records 1971)

Freeing the Spirit ‎(Queen City Albums Records 1971)

More Happy Days ‎(Queen City Albums Records 1971)

Peace Is Blowin' In The Wind ‎(Queen City Albums Records 1972)

Children Get Together ‎(Queen City Albums Records 1972)

I'd Like To Teach the World To Sing ‎(Queen City Albums Records 1973)

New World (Birthright Records 1974)

Edwin Hawkins Presents the Matthews Sisters (Birthright Records 1975)

Edwin Hawkins & The Edwin Hawkins Singers - Wonderful! (Birthright Records 1976)

Edwin Hawkins And The Edwin Hawkins Singers - The Comforter (Birthright Records 1977)

Edwin Hawkins Presents The Mathews Sisters - Edwin Hawkins Presents ...(Birthright Records 1977)

Edwin Hawkins Live at the Symphony (Myrrh Records 1979)

Edwin Hawkins / Oakland Symphony Orchestra - Edwin Hawkins Live With The Oakland Symphony Orchestra (Myrrh Records 1981)

Imagine Heaven (Lection Records 1981)

Edwin Hawkins With The Oakland Symphony Orchestra - Edwin Hawkins Live With The Oakland Symphony Orchestra ‎(Myrrh, Canyon Records, Inc. 1981)

Imagine Heaven (Lection Records 1982)

Edwin Hawkins With The Oakland Symphony Orchestra - Edwin Hawkins Live With The Oakland Symphony Orchestra Volume II  (Myrrh Records 1982)

Edwin Hawkins And Music & Arts Seminar Mass Choir - Edwin Hawkins Music & Arts Seminar Mass Choir (Lection Records 1983)

Edwin Hawkins And The Music & Arts Seminar Mass Choir - Angels Will Be Singing ‎(Birthright Records 1984)

The Edwin Hawkins Christmas Album ‎(Birthright Records 1985)

Edwin Hawkins With Music & Arts Seminar Mass Choir - Have Mercy ‎‎(Birthright Records 1985)

Edwin Hawkins And The Music & Arts Seminar Mass Choir - Give Us Peace ‎(Birthright Records 1987)

Edwin Hawkins & The Edwin Hawkins Music And Art Seminar Mass Choir - That Name ‎‎(Birthright Records 1988)

Face To Face (Lection Records 1990)

Seminar '91 ‎(FIXIT Records 1992)

"Kings and Kingdoms" with the Music and Arts Seminar Mass Choir ‎(FIXIT Records 1994)

Anything is Possible ‎(FIXIT Records 1995)

Love Is the Only Way ‎(FIXIT Records 1998)

All The Angels ‎(FIXIT Records 2004)

Svart På Vitt & Guestsinger Edwin Hawkins - The Best Is Yet To Come ‎(Naxos Sweden Records 2005)

Have Mercy ‎(FIXIT Records 2008)

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