Andraé Crouch Biography

Andraé Edward Crouch, 1 July 1942, Los Angeles, California, USA. Crouch’s 70s legacy is one of the richest in the gospel genre, yet he has never appealed to the music’s purists. The conservative elements in gospel music have seen his incorporation of rock ‘n’ roll showmanship and riffs as inappropriate at best, and blasphemy at worst. A gifted singer, songwriter and keyboard player, Crouch undertook a traditional apprenticeship by playing piano and singing in church. Later he formed COGICS (Church Of God In Christ Singers) in the early 60s with twin sister Sandra, Blinky Williams, Gloria Jones, Frankie Spring, Edna Wright and Billy Preston. Together they recorded one album for Vee-Jay Records and won numerous awards and competitions throughout California.

While members of that group moved on to successful solo careers, Crouch concentrated on launching the Disciples in 1965. Although only a few albums emerged, the group toured widely and was the first to play gospel rock, the music with which Crouch’s name would become synonymous. When Sandra returned from back-up singing duties with Diana Ross in 1970 she reunited with her brother (they are cousins to poet, actor and drummer Stanley Crouch). They made a series of recordings together throughout the 70s that were highlighted by guest slots from the Crusaders and Stevie Wonder.

In the late 70s Crouch launched his solo career, quickly establishing himself as one of the genre’s most successful and innovative artists. Crouch was awarded several Grammy awards for his songs, some of which were recorded by Elvis Presley, Paul Simon, the Imperials and Pat Boone. He has also worked as a producer and arranger with pop and soul artists including Elton John, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Diana Ross, and worked on soundtracks for movies including The Lion King and Free Willy. In 2004, he was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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