Gospel Radio Remembers Walter HawkinsPublished by Torrence Glenn on Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 7:40 pm.
Yesterday, many artists and executives in the gospel industry shared memories of Walter Hawkins and paid tribute to him here. Today, I wanted to do something a little different and give the gospel radio community it’s own space to honor Bishop Walter Hawkins. Radio has always been important to the success of gospel artists and unlike music in other genres is STILL vitally important to how music in this industry is shaped. You’re not an artist if no one hears your songs. You can’t think of Walter Hawkins without thinking about the long list of incredible songs he gave to us. So if anyone knows the incredible contribution Walter Hawkins gave to us, it’s the gospel radio community. Today, I’ll pass the mic to them…
During this 20 year journey in radio I’ve interviewed hundreds of artist. Many of whom are now friends. However, to me Bishop Walter Hawkins was royalty. Excellence exuded from him through his appearance, interviews, his preached word and through his music!
Gerard Bonner (Gospelflava.com, Host – Bonnerfide Radio)
Walter Hawkins embodied the true definition of a music ICON. His music was YEARS ahead of its time and literally shaped the gospel music industry as we know it. He gave us timeless music and a blueprint for success. Simple words and melody fused with musical nuances that made his presentation special. Without his contributions, there would be a vast chasm in the musical foundation of our industry.
He will be sorely missed but his music and influence lives for generations to come.
My first encounter with the sound of Walter Hawkins was at Pastor Tucker’s church in Norfolk, Va. (not sure of his whole name) I remember they were singing ‘I’m Going Away’ and they were on the part that says ‘It won’t be long… Someday we’ll be away’. I was probably 8 or 9 years old, but will never forget how those words and the melody made me feel. Bishop Walter Hawkins certainly possessed a special and unique gift that will NEVER be duplicated. May his spirit forever live on in our hearts through his songs.
5. There is No way that anyone not totally into gospel music andor under 40 years old can possibly understand the IMPACT of Walter Hawkins’ music and ministry on all things gospel– MAJOR Impact. I promise its tantamount to M Jacksons impact and influence on POP! No he did not wear a glove or do the moon walk, but he conducted with a masterful hand and those of us in gospel music thought he WALKED ON THE MOON! or some heavenly creation
4. My Daddy who was STRAIGHT hymn book AME would listen to Walter Hawkins , I mean pull out an album and play it in its entirety- He NEVER went to ONE gospel concert but he would play Walter Hawkins and thoroughly enjoyed it!
3. Back in da DAY, when a new Walter Hawkins/Love Alive was released, we would have LISTENING PARTIES (and we did not even know what a listening party was at that time) we would play the WHOLE ALBUM as many times as we could and try to learn every song and all parts RIGHT THEN! We would fix cheese dip and chips, sodas, popcorn or what ever— It was an EVENT! Then we would try to pick the song that would be THE HIT in our area nd try to be the first community choir to KILL IT at the next musical!
2. I was working at HEADSTART and made a TAPE of WALTER HAWKINS songs for the kids to get ready for NAP TIME. “He’s That kind of Friend,” “I’m Going Away”( yep for the 3 and 4 year olds) “The Just Shall Live,” “Grateful,” “Changed”, etc. and the kids would be sooooo peaceful and rest well!
1. When GMWA Gospel Announcers Guild honored Walter and Edwin a few years back at our LIVING LEGENDS event, people that were making tributes kept on using words like PIONEER, ICON,TRAILBLAZER. I was sitting next to him and he whispered ” Donna are they talking about ME?” I was like HECK Yeah, you da man, dont you know????
OK, when Michael Jackson left us, the world got together did a simultaneous dance to THRILLER. So , of course , my question is this, When is the national Hawkins Tribute MASS Choir gonna sing, what song, what key and what time?
I thank God for the privilege of having had the opportunity to be enriched by his music and ministry and know that his impact on gospel will live on and on and on and on and on!
Walter Hawkin’s unmistakeably Christian music has also managed to be universal. Songs like “Oh Happy Day” are gospel at the core and never watered down, but so pure in intent that they have transcended culture and time. Simple enough in structure for everyone to pick up immediately, but complex enough in structure to garner the respect of great musicians. It’s music that I sang in the Junior Choir as a child and music that is still in daily rotation on my Ipod. Walter Hawkins’ music is beyond classic music…it’s forever music.
I remember as a little girl singing to my collection of Love Alive albums holding a hairbrush as my microphone straining to sing Changed, I’m Going Away, He’s That Kind of Friend and many other classic hits not realizing that the powerful anointed words from Walter Hawkins were being deposited into my spirit to live for, honor and depend on Christ and also elevated me toward my path in gospel radio. Walter Hawkins music is timeless and will breathe life forever.
I always felt like my radio show was never complete until I played a Walter Hawkins song. “Marvelous” which is one of my favorites has taken the listeners through many corporate prayers at 12noon. His music sets the atmosphere for God to do what He needs to do. I am honored to bring such a pioneer, legend, mentor, songwriter and so much more to the airwaves. Walter Hawkins is a jewel who’s contributions will be everlasting. I thank God for his life and all that he has done to be a blessings to me, the kingdom of God and to the world.
Thanks to the all the gospel announcers and programmers for sharing with us. And while we’re discussing Walter’s songs and the people who play them, let’s listen to a Donald Lawrence and Tri City Singers with the live version of “Seasons” featuring Walter Hawkins.