Walter Hawkins

Walter Lee Hawkins (May 18, 1949 – July 11, 2010) was an American gospel music singer and pastor. He was consecrated to the bishopric in 2000.

Walter Hawkins
Hawkins performed on stage in the East Room of the White House, where he was joined on stage by his brother Edwin, Tuesday, June 17, 2008, in honor of Black Music Month.
Hawkins performed on stage in the East Room of the White House, where he was joined on stage by his brother Edwin, Tuesday, June 17, 2008, in honor of Black Music Month.
Background information
Birth nameWalter Lee Hawkins[1]
Born(1949-05-18)May 18, 1949[1]
Oakland, California, U.S.[1]
DiedJuly 11, 2010(2010-07-11) (aged 61)
Ripon, California, U.S.
Occupation(s)Pastor, singer, songwriter, producer
InstrumentsVocals, piano, keyboards
Years active1960s–2010
LabelsLight, Birthright, Malaco, GospoCentric, Interscope, Coda Records
Associated actsTramaine Hawkins, Edwin Hawkins, Andraé Crouch


The 7th of 8 children born to the late Dan Lee and Mamie Vivian Hawkins, Walter Lee Hawkins was born on May 18, 1949 in Oakland, California. Hawkins was the brother of Edwin Hawkins (d. 2018) , Marava Ladale Hawkins (d. 1988), Carol Lee Hawkins (d. 2020), Feddie Joyce Hawkins, Jervis Ersell Hawkins (d. 1952), Daniel Lee Hawkins (Marcia) and Lynette Gail Hawkins-Stephens (Reginald). Bishop Hawkins was married to Tramaine Hawkins from 1971 until their divorce in 1994. They had two children, a son Walter Lee "Jamie" Hawkins, Jr., who is married to Myiia "Sunny" Davis-Hawkins, and a daughter Trystan Lynette Hawkins. Bishop Hawkins also had a granddaughter, Jahve Neru Deana Hawkins, and a grandson, Jamie Daniel Hawkins.

Bishop Hawkins started his career in one of his brother's chorales, the Northern California State Youth Choir of the Church of God in Christ. The choir recorded an album in 1968 as a local fundraiser. When a song from that album, "Oh Happy Day", became a crossover hit, Buddah Records purchased the master and released it as "the Edwin Hawkins Singers". This led to him accompanying his brother Edwin to establish the Edwin Hawkins Singers.

Walter Hawkins left the Edwin Hawkins Singers in the early 1970s to establish the Love Center Church in Oakland, California. He and his Love Center Choir had considerable success with their Love Alive series of recordings, which sold well over a million copies from the 1970s through the 1990s. Love Alive IV, released in 1990, was No. 1 on the Billboard Gospel Album charts, where it stayed for 33 weeks. In all, Walter Hawkins produced and/or collaborated on 116 hit songs which were listed on the Billboard Gospel Music charts.[citation needed]

Walter Hawkins and his groups were frequent musical collaborators, and recorded with Van Morrison, Diahann Carroll, Sylvester, and Jeffrey Osborne, among many others.[citation needed]

One of those who regularly attended the Love Center church was Sylvester, who had been introduced to it in the early 1980s by Jeanie Tracy.[2]


On July 11, 2010, Walter Hawkins died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 61 in his house in Ripon, California.



  • 1972: Selah (Fantasy)
  • 1972: Do Your Best (solo album)
  • 1975: Love Alive – Love Center Choir (Light)
  • 1977: Jesus Christ Is the Way – The Hawkins Family (Light)
  • 1978: Love Alive 2 – Love Center Choir (Light)
  • 1980: The Hawkins Family (Light)
  • 1982: Gospel (Savoy)
  • 1982: I Feel Like Singing (Light)
  • 1984: Love Alive 3 – Love Center Choir (Light)
  • 1988: Special Gift Hawkins Family (Birthright)
  • 1989: Love Alive Reunion (Light)
  • 1990: Love Alive 4 – Love Center Choir (Malaco)
  • 1996: New Dawning – Hawkins Family (Bellmark)
  • 1998: Love Alive, Vol. 5: 25th Anniversary Reunion – Love Center Choir (Interscope)
  • 2000: Take Courage – Hawkins Family (Bellmark)
  • 2005: A Song in My Heart (solo) (Coda/Red-Sony)

Compilation albumsEdit

  • 1990: Only The Best (Light)
  • 1995: Light Years (Light)
  • 1995: The Hawkins Family Collection (Platinum)
  • 2002: The Best of Love Alive (Light)
  • 2002: Legends of Gospel (Light)
  • 2002: Mega 3 Collection: Love Alive (Light)
  • 2005: The Very Best of Walter Hawkins and the Hawkins Family (Artemis Gospel)

Appearances on other albumsEdit

  • 1975: This Moment – Danniebelle
  • 1976: David SoulDavid Soul
  • 1980: The Lord's Prayer – Various artists; duet with Tramaine Hawkins on "Thy Kingdom Come" (Light)
  • 1982: Imagine Heaven – The Edwin Hawkins Singers
  • 1983: I'm On Your Side – Angela Bofill
  • 1986: The Search Is Over – Tramaine Hawkins
  • 1986: I Must Go On – Shirley Miller
  • 1986: Hand in Hand – The Williams Brothers (producer, keyboards)
  • 1986: Just DarylDaryl Coley (background vocals, keyboards)
  • 1986: Frantic Romantic – Jermaine Stewart (background vocals)
  • 1987: The HungerMichael Bolton (background vocals)
  • 1987: Touch the WorldEarth, Wind & Fire
  • 1990: Face to Face – Edwin Hawkins
  • 1990: Live – Tramaine Hawkins (producer, choir director, keyboards)
  • 1991: Gospel Music Workshop of America
  • 1991: Gentlemen of Gospel, Vol. 2
  • 1992: A Salute to The Caravans – Various artists (performer on "Where Is Your Faith in God")
  • 1993: It Remains to Be Seen – The Mississippi Mass Choir (producer)
  • 1993: Hold on Old Soldier – The Mississippi Mass Choir (producer)
  • 1994: Choirs En Masse – Various artists (performer, producer)
  • 1994: Job – Bay Area Mass Choir
  • 1995: On & OnJennifer Holliday (producer, background vocals, piano)
  • 1996: Music in Me – Larry Coleman (producer)
  • 1996: Be Encouraged – Los Angeles Chapter of the G.M.W.A.
  • 1997: Jesus Loves Me – The Western Michigan Mass Choir
  • 1997: Leaning on Jesus – Cogic International Mass Choir
  • 1997: Live Gospel Experience, Vol. 3 – Various artists
  • 1997: Live Gospel Experience, Vol. 4 – Various artists
  • 1997: KeepersMerl Saunders & Friends (background vocals)
  • 1998: Love Is the Only Way – Edwin Hawkins
  • 1998: I Get LiftedKelli Williams (producer, keyboards)
  • 1998: Unconditional LoveDarlene Love
  • 1999: World Class Gospel Experience, Vol. 1 – Various artists
  • 2002: Go Get Your Life Back – Donald Lawrence
  • 2005: Get Thee Behind Me – Sacramento Metropolitan GMWA
  • 2005: Journey-Live in NY – Richard Smallwood
  • 2006: Praise & Worship – Daryl Coley (producer)
  • 2006: Finale Act I, Finale Act II & The Grand Finale by Donald Lawrence and The Tri-City Singers
  • 2008: The SoundMary Mary
  • 2010: The Gospel Music Celebration: Tribute to Bishop G.E. Patterson – Various artists ("What is This")
  • 2010: The Gospel Music Celebration, Pt. 2: Tribute To Bishop G.E. Patterson – Various artists ("I Love You, Lord")


  • 1982: Gospel
  • 1983: Oh Happy Day
  • 1991: Love Alive, Vol. 4 (Malaco)
  • 1998: Walter Hawkins & The Hawkins Family (Monterey Video)
  • 1998: Love Alive, Vol. 5: 25th Anniversary Reunion, Vol. 1 (Interscope)
  • 1999: Love Alive, Vol. 5: 25th Anniversary Reunion, Vol. 2 (Interscope)
  • 2006: Song in My Heart (Coda)


Hawkins was nominated for nine Grammy Awards, and won the 1981 Grammy for Best Gospel Performance, Contemporary or Inspirational for the special project album The Lord's Prayer.

Hawkins won three Gospel Music Association Dove Awards:

  • 1980: Soul Gospel Album of the Year for Love Alive II; Walter Hawkins and the Love Center Choir
  • 1982: Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year for The Hawkins Family Live
  • 1991: Traditional Song of the Year for "The Potter's House" (co-songwriter)

He won two Stellar Awards:

  • 2006: Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year
  • 2006: Traditional CD of the Year for A Song in My Heart


  1. ^ a b c California Birth Index. "Walter Lee Hawkins, Born 05/18/1949 in California". California Birth Index. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  2. ^ Gamson, Joshua (2005). The Fabulous Sylvester: The Legend, the Music, the 70s in San Francisco. New York City: Henry Holt and Co. pp. 225–227. ISBN 978-0805072501.

External linksEdit