Edwin Hawkins (born 18 August 1943, Oakland, California) is a Grammy Award-winning American gospel and R&B musician, pianist, choir leader, composer and arranger. He is one of the originators of the urban contemporary gospel sound. He (and the Edwin Hawkins Singers) are best known for his arrangement of "Oh Happy Day" (1968-69), which was included on the Songs of the Century list. The Edwin Hawkins Singers are somewhat less well-known for backing Melanie one year later on the song, "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)". At the age of seven Hawkins was already the keyboardist to accompany the family's gospel choir. Together with Betty Watson he was the co-founder of the Northern California State Youth Choir, which included almost 50 members. This ensemble recorded its first album Let Us Go Into the House of the Lord at the Ephesian Church of God in Christ in Berkeley, California, hoping to sell 500 copies. "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 US #4 and UK #2 on the pop charts. It has since become a gospel music standard. Edwin.