People from around the world made a special trip to West Angeles Church of God in Christ to pay their respects to Andraé Crouch, who recently passed away. The gospel singer, songwriter, arranger, record producer and pastor was referred to as “the father of modern gospel music.”
Last month, Crouch was hospitalized for pneumonia and congestive heart failure and had to cancel a tour. He was readmitted to the hospital in early January.
A star-studded tribute celebration and funeral service were held at the church, and the service was officiated by Bishop Kenneth Ulmer. Pastor Marvin Winans gave the eulogy, and Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr. Bobby Jones and Kirk Franklin spoke. There were performances by CeCe Winans, BeBe Winans, Shirley Caesar, Yolanda Adams, Donnie McClurkin, Fred Hammond, Hezekiah Walker, Kim Burrell, Erica Campbell, Israel Houghton, Ledisi and others.
Crouch’s accolades include seven Grammy awards, six GMA Dove awards, an Academy Award nomination for “The Color Purple,” induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His songs have been recorded by everyone from Elvis Presley to Paul Simon, and he worked as a producer and arranger with many of music’s top artists, including Michael Jackson, Madonna, Quincy Jones, Diana Ross, Elton John and many others. Crouch can also be heard on Michael Jackson’s hit singles “Man in the Mirror,” “Keep the Faith,” “Will You Be There” and “Earth Song.”
Crouch, who was born in San Francisco, honed his piano-playing skills as a child, while performing at church. At the age of 14, he wrote his first gospel song. The first group that he performed with was the Church of God in Christ Singers, when he was 18. Five years later he formed a group called The Disciples. With this group he appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” and he performed in front of sold out crowds at Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl.
Crouch had an illustrious solo career, and he opened the door for some of the biggest names in gospel music.