At the age of 19, Walter Hawkins had not considered a musical life for himself. His recording debut actually came anonymously when he sang in the Ephesians Church of God in Christ’s youth choir – based in Berkeley, Calif., and directed by older brother Edwin. The choir recorded the song, “Oh, Happy Day,” one of the most popular gospel songs of all time. Because of the world-wide success of “Oh Happy Day,” the Edwin Hawkins Singers toured nationally and internationally before Walter Hawkins set out on his own. He entered the ministry and in 1973 founded the Love Center Church in Oakland, Calif. With his Love Center Choir, Hawkins recorded a live album, Going Up Yonder released on Light Records. The album became a mainstay on Billboard‘s Gospel Top 40 chart for three consecutive years, making it one of the decade’s biggest selling gospel albums. Between 1978 and 1989, the multiple Dove and Grammy-winning Hawkins recorded more than a dozen albums, among them Love Alive, Love Alive II, Love Alive III and Love Alive IV, selling millions of records in the process and earning numerous awards. In addition to his own recordings, Hawkins was also an adept songwriter and producer and has collaborated with a number of other artists including Edwin Hawkins, Van Morrison, Lee Oskar, Diahann Carroll, Jeffrey Osborne, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, The Williams Brothers, Tramaine Hawkins, Shirley Miller, and Lynette Hawkins.
Brother Edwin Hawkins
Love Center Church in Oakland, CA (founder)
“Goin Up Yonder”
“Thank You Lord”
Walter Hawkins singing “Going Away”