This post is about someone who died three days ago, whose contribution to music, this world and my own life is significant, whose death I mourn – Andraé Crouch. “Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of music legend Pastor Andrae Crouch. Pastor Crouch grew up the son of a minister in California and discovered at a young age that he was blessed with extraordinary musical talent which would lead to an iconic career that spanned over 50 years. As a leading pioneer of contemporary gospel music, the soulful classics that Pastor Crouch created over the years have uplifted the hearts and minds of several generations and his timeless influence continues to be felt in not only gospel but a variety of music genres. We are grateful that his music and spirit will continue to live on for years to come and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fans during this time.” Barack Obama (USA President) – 9 January 2015.
According to Wikipedia: “Andraé Edward Crouch (July 1, 1942 – January 8, 2015) was an American gospel singer, songwriter, arranger, record producer and pastor. Referred to as “the father of modern gospel music” by contemporary Christian and gospel music professionals, Crouch was known for his compositions “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power”, “My Tribute (To God Be the Glory)” and “Soon and Very Soon”. In secular music, he was known for his collaborative work during the 1980s with Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Quincy Jones as well as conducting choirs that sang on the Michael Jackson hit “Man in the Mirror” and Madonna’s “Like a Prayer”. Crouch was noted for his talent of incorporating contemporary secular music styles into the gospel music he grew up with. His efforts in this area were what helped in paving the way for early American contemporary Christian music during the 1960s and 1970s … Crouch has been credited as a key figure in Jesus music of the 1960s and 1970s and, as a result, helping to bring about contemporary Christian music into the church. As well, he is also credited with helping to bridge the gap between black and white Christian music and revolutionizing the sound of urban Gospel music. Though sometimes criticized for diluting the Christian message by using contemporary music styles, his songs have become staples in churches and hymnals around the world and have been recorded by mainstream artists”
I love music, yet am not musical. I follow music and have many likes from many genres, yet find difficulty recalling details. I believe music to be important, yet am sporadic when it comes to playing music. In the Christian context, I appreciate music, ancient and modern, but have difficult recognising much more than a handful of musicians, especially the modern ones. But one musician that has stood out, who among his many remarkable feats was able to bridge the gap between the sacred and the secular, black and white, old and new, appealing to Christians of all shades and also non-Christians, was Andraé Crouch, whose death I learnt about yesterday. He is in my view a true music legend, and one as far as I could make out bore a good Christian witness. While I haven’t heard much about him in recent years, I was very much aware of him in my youth. It is right and proper that I endorse President Obama’s moving tribute as no doubt will many others. Andraé touched many lives, including my own, and made a huge contribution to his craft and to the world of music generally. God bless you Andraé and thank you for all what you have done for me and countless others. May you rest in peace!
I will leave the final word to Michael W Smith, another gospel music great. “I’ll never forget hearing Andraé for the first time. It was like someone had opened a whole new world of possibilities for me musically. I don’t think there is anyone who inspired me more, growing up, than Andraé Crouch. The depth of his influence on Christian music is incalculable. We all owe him so much and I’ll forever be grateful for the times we got to work together.“