Monday, March 18, 2013

Three Renditions Of The Edwin Hawkins Singers - Oh Happy Day

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases a sound file and two videos of the Edwin Hawkins Singers' Gospel song "Oh Happy Day".

The content of this post is presented for historical, religious, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

"Oh Happy Day" is a 1967 gospel music arrangement of an 18th century hymn. Recorded by the Edwin Hawkins Singers, it became an international hit in 1969, reaching No. 4 in the US and No. 2 in the UK pop charts. It has since become a gospel music standard.

Edwin Hawkins’ funk style arrangement of the hymn "Oh, Happy Day" has a long pedigree: It began as a hymn written in the mid-18th century ("O happy day, that fixed my choice") by English clergyman Philip Doddridge (based on Acts 8:35) set to an earlier melody (1704) by J. A. Freylinghausen. By the mid-19th century it had been given a new melody by Edward F. Rimbault, who also added a chorus, and was commonly used for baptismal or confirmation ceremonies in the UK and USA. The 20th century saw its adaptation from 3/4 to 4/4 time and this new arrangement by Hawkins, which contains only the repeated Rimbault refrain (all of the original verses being omitted).

The Edwin Hawkins Singers began as The Northern California State Youth Choir of the Church of God in Christ, Inc. and was founded in 1967 by Hawkins and Betty Watson. Members were aged 17–25. As was common in gospel circles they produced and distributed their own LP: Let Us Go Into the House of the Lord, recorded live in church. "Oh, Happy Day", featuring Dorothy Morrison as lead vocalist, was picked up by a local DJ, KSAN's Bob Mcclay, and subsequently released commercially.Aretha Franklin had already brought strong gospel stylings to the pop charts with songs such as "Think" (1968), but a hymn had never “crossed over” before. "Oh Happy Day" soared into the US Top 5, winning a Grammy and massive sales worldwide."
Click information about Edwin Hawkins (born 18 August 1943, Oakland, California)

Edwin Hawkins' brother, Walter Hawkins (May 18, 1949 – July 11, 2010) also composed Gospel songs and led a Gospel choir. Click for a sound file of Walter Hawkins & The Love Center Choir's Gospel song "I'm Going Up Yonder". Like Edwin Hawkins' composition of "Oh Happy Day", that Walter Hawkins song has also become a standard Gospel song.

Example #1: The Edwin Hawkins singers in concert part 1 O Happy Day [1967]

thejazzsingers, Uploaded on Mar 22, 2010

From my gospel collection The Hawkins singers with o Happy Day later more of this b/w concert. Enjoy it.

For Part II of this concert, click "The Edwin Hawkins singers in concert part 2 ( praise him )"


luckysmusic,Uploaded on Mar 16, 2010

Oh happy day - When Jesus washed all my sins away.........
A commenter to this video's viewer comment thread wrote that in 1969 Edwin Hawkins performed "Oh Happy Day" on the American Bandstand" television show. This may be a video of that performance.

Example #3: Oh Happy Day - Edwin Hawkins Singers

JohannaFavorites, Uploaded on Jun 21, 2010

The soloist in this rendition is Lynnette Hawkins Stephens.
Click for the lyrics to the Edwin Hawkins Singers' "Oh Happy Day"

Thanks to Edwin Hawkins and the Edwin Hawkins Singers for their musical legacy. My thanks also to the uploaders of this sound file and these videos.

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Viewer comments are welcome.

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