July 11, 2010
by Robert Hasan James
The Gospel Music world has lost another icon in the person of Bishop Walter Hawkins. Hawkins, 61, passed away on Sunday, July 11, 2010 from a brief battle with Cancer. Like so many people across the world who was reared in church, I grew up singing Walter Hawkins songs in my church choir. One of the reasons I am a gospel music journalist is because people like Walter Hawkins inspired me to have such a love for this music through the way he wrote and ministered in song. I had the pleasure of meeting Hawkins in 1997 while singing with Hezekiah Walker & The Love Fellowship Crusade Choir in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. I must admit that I was a bit star struck because this was the man behind some of the greatest songs in Christendom! Songs like: “Changed”,”Marvelous”, “Going Up Yonder”, “Be Grateful”, “Try Christ”, “I’m Not The Same”, “Special Gift” and so many more have literally blessed people all over the world. Gospel Star, Kirk Franklin, paid homage to Walter Hawkins via his Twitter page stating, “Every door I’ve ever walked through was because God used Walter Hawkins as a key to unlock it”. We lost a pioneer. Rest Well”.
About Walter Hawkins
Walter Hawkins was born May 18, 1949 in Oakland, California as the seventh of eight children and become one of the most recognizable voices in Contemporary Gospel Music. In the Forty plus years of his career, he has created one of the most prolific and outstanding catalogs of hit gospel recordings and published songs. In the late 1960’s, Walter accompanied his brother Edwin and formed The Edwin Hawkins Singers, which produced the biggest selling and most popular gospel song ever, “Oh Happy Day”. However, in 1973, Hawkins founded The Love Center Church and spawned a series of Love Alive albums, which would go on to sell over one million copies collectively. Hawkins was formerly married to Tramaine Hawkins and out of that union came two children, Walter “Jamie” Hawkins and Trystan Hawkins. He is the recipient of one Grammy Award, two Dove Awards and countless Stellar Awards.