Andrae Crouch, RIP

Andrae Crouch, the towering gospel pioneer whose legendary career spanned over five decades, passed away on Thursday at the age of 72, following complications from a heart attack last week.

The San Francisco native was called “the father of modern Gospel music,” and became famous for bridging the gap between Contemporary Christian Music and the mainstream at a time when it was frowned upon. He displayed a keen talent for writing catchy pop hits, but married it with a deep faith he held dear. Elvis recorded his “I’ve Got Confidence” in 1972, sending Crouch on a path he would follow for the rest of his life: pop music’s go-to composer for a gospel influence. He led choirs for Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and Madonna’s “Like a Prayer,” but also wrote Gospel classics like “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power,” “My Tribute (To God Be the Glory),” “Jesus Is the Answer” and “Soon and Very Soon.” He was daring, dangerous, inspired and very, very talented. To call him one of the founders of the modern praise and worship movement is not too high a compliment. If you like your church music to have a little guitar and drums in it, you have Crouch to thank for that.

His work earned him seven Grammys and a 1985 Oscar nomination for his work on the music for The Color Purple. He worked with pop luminaries like Elton John, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, The Commodores, Diana Ross and Ringo Starr. He leaves behind a magnificent body of work, and any contemporary music that bears a hint of gospel influence almost certainly owes a debt to his incredible legacy …

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