ANDRAE CROUCH

Born JULY 1, 1942

Andrae Crouch. Image: Sparrow Records (2003)

Andrae Crouch. Image: Sparrow Records (2003)

A young Andrae Crouch had strong romantic feelings for a female who sang in his group. During three days of ministry at a church in California, he purchased an engagement ring.

To his surprise, the young lady didn’t show up the first and second nights of services. On the third evening, she appeared, overflowing with joy. She announced that a man she loved had proposed to her.

It wasn’t Andrae.

Someone had beat him to it. Recovering from that experience led Andrae to write the song, “Through it All.”

Here’s Andrae singing “Through it All”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPI35MohOKU.

Andrae Crouch left this life on January 8, 2015. By then, he’d learned to trust God through plenty. As a child, he’d stuttered and was dyslexic. God helped him overcome those limitations. As an adult, Andrae’s devotion to creating scripture-based, Christian music with a contemporary sound earned him four Dove Awards, seven Grammy Awards, and the title “the father of modern gospel music.”

Andrae Took the Message Seriously

Andrae’s father, Benjamin Crouch, made a deal with God. The Los Angeles street preacher was asked to fill in at a Church an hour from where they lived. He prayed, “If you will give Andrae the gift of playing the piano, I will be a full-time minister.”

Image by Wendy Darling.

Image by Wendy Darling.

During a service three weeks later, Andrae’s father asked his 11-year-old son to come to the piano. Andrae sat on the piano bench and listened to the congregation sing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” He searched for the right notes. He began to play. For the next sixty-one years Andrae praised God with piano music.

When Andrae was fourteen, he attended a Memorial Day cookout. To the young teen’s horror, some of the guests, including church choir members, were not acting in ways he believed honored Jesus Christ. It made Andrae cry.

That episode also strengthened Andrae’s own personal commitment. He sat at a piano in the house and told God he’d love to write Christian songs. He noticed a different backyard sight that inspired him. He saw someone pouring a red sauce onto the meat on the grill. It reminded him of Jesus’ blood. Sitting at the piano, he wrote the song “The Blood Will Never Lose it’s Power.”

Blood dropThe first verse celebrates with the lyrics, “The blood that Jesus shed for me, way back on Calvary, the blood that gives me strength from day to day, it will never lose its power.”

Here’s Andrae Crouch and the Disciples singing “The Blood Will Never Lose it’s Power”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYaAbXTPit0.

Andrae Took the Message Around the World

In 1965, Andrae formed a gospel music group called the Disciples. His twin sister, Sandra, joined the group in 1970.  The Disciples released their first album, Take the Message Everywhere, in 1971 on Light Records.

Andrae Crouch and the Disciples: Keep On Singing. Image by Light Records.

Andrae Crouch and the Disciples: Keep On Singing. Image by Light Records.

Their second album, Keep On Singing, included the song “My Tribute.” Andrae wrote it in response to a phone call from a former Teen Challenge student he’d helped when he worked a few months for that ministry. The young man suggested Andrae read John chapter 17. Andrae awoke the next day singing a phrase from that chapter: “To God be the glory.” He wrote the rest of the single-verse song and its chorus within a ten minute period. Elvis Presley chose another song from that album, “I’ve Got Confidence,” for his 1972 album He Touched Me.

That same year, Andrae Crouch and the Disciples were among the Christian singers featured at Explo ’72, hosted by Campus Crusade for Christ. Thereafter, they frequently appeared at Jesus festivals.

Andrae began a solo career while continuing to tour with the Disciples. Together, they appeared at Carnegie Hall and toured around the world. During that time, some of Andrae’s songs began appearing in hymnals.

A Grammy Award.  [Photo by Dave Gomez.]

A Grammy Award.
[Photo by Dave Gomez.]

Lives were being touched. The awards began coming in 1975. The first was a Grammy Award for the song “Take Me Back.” Andrae’s first Grammy Award for a solo album was  in 1979 for “I’ll be Thinking of You.” He entered the 1980s with a full-time solo career.

Along with four other Grammy Awards, Andrae received four Dove Awards between 1980 and 1994. In 1997, Tribute: The Songs of Andrae Crouch, recorded by leading Christian singers of that decade, won a Grammy Award. The Gospel Music Association inducted Andrae into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1998.

Andrae Took the Message Beyond the Church

God opened doors for Andrae that hadn’t opened for other Christians. In 1972, the Disciples were invited  to sing on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show. In 1980, he appeared as a musical guest on the TV show Barbara Mandrell & the Mandrell Sisters.

Non-believers in the music and film community contacted Andrae. He wrote music for the 1985 motion picture, The Color Purple, for which he received an Oscar nomination. In 1986, Andrae wrote the theme for the T.V. show, Amen. He was tapped for his expertise on, among other musical projects, Michael Jackson’s 1987 social conscience song, Man in the Mirror. His choral arrangements appear in the 1994 animated film, The Lion King.

Some of Andrae’s longtime fans saw his secular efforts as a compromise rather than as a positive witness. But he didn’t turn to writing songs that betrayed his convictions. The messages of the songs he sang always maintained strong Biblical themes.

The last ten years of Andrae’s life, he and his twin sister, Sandra, assumed dual pastorship of the New Christ Memorial Church of God in Pacoima, California. It’s the church their father had founded and pastored until his death.

Here’s a list of Andrae’s best-loved songs not already linked to Youtube.

  LET ME KNOW:  How has Andrae’s story informed, encouraged, or otherwise helped you? I welcome your comments.

Bibliography—————————————————————————————————————-

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About William E. Richardson

I'm married to a wonderful woman named Deb. We're the parents of a son and daughter who bring great joy to our lives. I currently pastor the Assembly of God church in Afton, Iowa.
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