THE JUICE WITH JEM
Legendary gospel musician Andraé Crouch, who bridged the worlds of church and mainstream music for more than 50 years, died Thursday afternoon. The 72-year-old singer, songwriter and choir director had been hospitalized since last Saturday at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in the Los Angeles area after suffering a heart attack.
Crouch, who is sometimes called “the father of modern gospel music,” led the choirs that sang on such hits as Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and Madonna’s “Like a Prayer”. As a songwriter, he wrote several gospel favorites, most notably “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power”, “My Tribute (To God Be the Glory)”, “Take Me Back”, “Through It All, Soon and Very Soon”, [song sung at Jackson’s public memorial service] and most recently “Let the Church Say Amen”.
The legendary singer who is a native of San Francisco grew up in the Church of God in Christ and wrote his first gospel song at age 14. By 1960, he had formed the Church of God in Christ Singers, a group that featured R&B/Soul artist Billy Preston on keyboards. In 1995 he started another group, Andraé Crouch & the Disciples, and eventually signed to the contemporary Christian label, Light Records.
Crouch brought a contemporary pop and R&B melodic sensibility to gospel, making him uniquely suited to appeal to both black and white audiences during the early days of the countercultural “Jesus movement” and also bringing him attention beyond the church.
Crouch’s gospel albums often featured guests from the R&B and Jazz worlds, including Stevie Wonder, El DeBarge, Wilton Felder and Earth, Wind & Fire’s Philip Bailey. Chaka Khan, Sheila E. and vocal group Take 6 appeared on his most recent album, 2011’s “The Journey”.
Throughout his career, his recordings have earned him seven Grammy awards, and an Academy Award nomination for his arranging work on the 1985 film “The Color Purple.” Throughout his life, Crouch survived multiple bouts with cancer, suffered from diabetes and struggled with dyslexia, sometimes memorizing words by the shapes of their combination of letters. He often drew simple pictures to help him comprehend words and write songs.
In early December 2014, the late singer was hospitalized with pneumonia and congestive heart failure, forcing him to cancel his “Let the Church Say Amen” Celebration Tour, which had been scheduled to begin December 6 2014 in Philadelphia. He was re-admitted to the hospital Saturday with what his sister characterized in a statement as “serious health complications.”
Source: usatoday.com/Photo: bet.com, riverphlo.com