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  1. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    I only now realized that the Edwin Hawkins Singers must have been the inspiration for the Rush Hawkins singers and “Thank the Lord Rush Limbaugh’s On.”

    • #1
  2. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    I loved the song when it came out.  I guess I was 12, but heavily into popular music.

    The story behind the song is fascinating, too.  From Wikipedia:

     

    Hawkins was born in Oakland, California, on August 19, 1943. At the age of seven, he was already the keyboardist for the family’s gospel music band.

    Together with Betty Watson in May 1967, he founded the Northern California State Youth Choir of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), which included almost fifty members. This ensemble recorded its first album, Let Us Go into the House of the Lord, at the Ephesian Church of God in Christ in Berkeley, California (on the Century 70 custom label owned by LaMont Branch). The choir used this LP to raise funds to travel to the 1968 Youth Congress for COGIC in Washington, D.C. to compete in the Congress’ annual choir competition, representing the Northern California region. The choir finished in second place at the contest, and that was the first of many surprises coming their way. Upon their return to California, their LP found its way into the hands of a KSAN underground rock DJ in San Francisco who happened to pick “Oh Happy Day” to play on his station; the song became an instant hit. The soloists on the album were Elaine Kelly, Margarette Branch, Dorothy Combs Morrison (the original lead singer on “Oh Happy Day”), Tramaine Davis (Hawkins), Reuben Franklin, Donald Cashmere, Betty Watson, and Ruth Lyons.

    Once “Oh Happy Day” received radio airplay in other parts of the U.S. and the ensemble learned of the song’s rising success, they began to contact people in the recording industry who helped them obtain a major contract. The ensemble signed with the newly created Pavilion label (distributed by Buddah), and released a second LP, entitled He’s A Friend of Mine, in 1969. But it was “Oh Happy Day” that rocketed to sales of more than a million copies within two months. The song crossed over to the pop charts, making U.S. No. 4, UK No. 2, Canada No. 2, No. 2 on the Irish Singles Chart, and No. 1 on the French Singles Charts, the Netherlands  and the German Singles Charts in 1969. It became an international success, selling more than 7 million copies worldwide, and Hawkins was awarded his first Grammy for the recording. His arrangement of the song was eventually covered by The Four Seasons on their 1970 album Half & Half.

    The choir’s second LP Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 charts was the 1970 Melanie single “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain),” on which the label listed the performers as “Melanie with The Edwin Hawkins Singers”. The song peaked at No. 6 in the U.S. and Top 10 in several other countries.

    In 1990, Hawkins, credited as a solo performer, had a number 89 hit on the R&B chart with “If at First You Don’t Succeed (Try Again)”.

    In the 1992 movie Leap of Faith, Hawkins is the choir master for the gospel songs.

    The Edwin Hawkins Singers performance of “Oh Happy Day” at the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival appears in the 2021 music documentary, Summer of Soul.

    Hawkins died of pancreatic cancer on January 15, 2018, in his home, in Pleasanton, California, at the age of 74.

    • #2
  3. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Great call, AMD.

     I’ve never heard that song before. I dig it.

    • #3
  4. AMD Texas Coolidge
    AMD Texas
    @DarinJohnson

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    Great call, AMD.

    I’ve never heard that song before. I dig it.

    That makes my day. Glad you liked it.

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I love gospel music and this is a great one.

    • #5
  6. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I love gospel music and this is a great one.

    It’s certainly gospel, but it’s got some magic in it that broadens its appeal.  At least more than you’d expect.

    (That said, the popular music market was more open to a wider variety of genres back then.)

    I’ve certainly had the song in my head since it came out.  You know, where it sits in your brain, and you can turn to it when it can bring comfort.  

    And it has a timeless quality.

    I played it on guitar some months ago, just out of the blue.  

    • #6
  7. AMD Texas Coolidge
    AMD Texas
    @DarinJohnson

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I love gospel music and this is a great one.

    It’s certainly gospel, but it’s got some magic in it that broadens its appeal. At least more than you’d expect.

    (That said, the popular music market was more open to a wider variety of genres back then.)

    I’ve certainly had the song in my head since it came out. You know, where it sits in your brain, and you can turn to it when it can bring comfort.

    And it has a timeless quality.

    I played it on guitar some months ago, just out of the blue.

    It is timeless for me. It’s been about 45 years since I first heard it and it still gives me goosebumps. 

    • #7
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