Gospel singer Edwin Hawkins dies aged 74

He was best known for his 1969 hit "Oh Happy Day"

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American gospel music star Edwin Hawkins has died at his home in California, at the age of 74. He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer.

In the 1960s, Hawkins co-founded the Northern California State Youth Choir, who merged traditional gospel with rhythm’n’blues. Their arrangement of a traditional hymn, “Oh Happy Day”, became a runaway hit in 1969 under the name The Edwin Hawkins Singers.

It reached No. 2 in the UK, eventually selling over seven million copies worldwide and winning Hawkins a Grammy.

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The Edwin Hawkins Singers enjoyed a second top ten hit backing Melanie on her 1970 single “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)”.

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