Award-Winning Gospel Artist and Pastor Sandra Crouch Passes at 81


      Sandra Crouch, Grammy® Award winning twin sister of gospel legend Andraé Crouch, senior pastor of New Christ Memorial Church and an artist in her own right, passed away on Sunday, March 17 at Northridge Hospital of complications from radiation for a non-cancerous brain lesion. She was 81. 

      Crouch was an integral partner in her brother’s trailblazing career and co-wrote one of his biggest hits, “Jesus is the Answer,” a huge crossover hit that has since been covered by over 75 artists including Paul Simon. She was also a percussionist and/or vocal conductor on recordings by artists such as The Jackson 5, Madonna and Neil Diamond before stepping into the spotlight on her own with a trio of Grammy® Award-nominated albums that produced modern church standards such as “We Need to Hear From You.” 

      Sandra Elaine Crouch and her twin brother, Andraé Edward Crouch, were born on July 1, 1942, in Los Angeles. Their parents, Benjamin E. and Catherine Crouch, owned two dry cleaning operations and a restaurant before selling their businesses to go into ministry and subsequently found Christ Memorial Church C.O.G.I.C. in 1951.

      While attending San Fernando Valley High, the twins formed The COGICS circa 1960 with friends including Billy Preston. Their first recording was “It Will Never Lose Its Power”. After Preston left to tour with Ray Charles, the group disbanded and Andraé formed Andraé Crouch & the Disciples while Sandra worked as a percussionist in Hollywood. Among the notable recordings she played on included The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.”

      By the 1970s, Sandra Crouch had rejoined her brother and the Disciples. The group dominated the gospel airwaves with hits like “Take Me Back,” “Soon and Very Soon,” “Through It All,” and “My Tribute (To God Be the Glory).”  

      In 1983, Sandra Crouch bankrolled, composed, and produced her first solo LP, We Sing Praises, earning a Grammy® Award and featuring the radio hits “He’s Worthy,” “There is Power in the Blood,” and “We Need to hear From You.” Her next set, We’re Waiting, appeared in 1985 and included the massive hit “Completely Yes”.  Her final solo album, With All of My Heart, was released in 1992.  

      In 1985, Andrae and Sandra were tapped by Quincy Jones to work on “The Color Purple Soundtrack.” They wrote “Heaven Belongs to You” and sang “Maybe God Is Trying to Tell You Something”. That led to other scores for the films “The Lion King” and working with Michael Jackson on “You Are Not Alone”. They also backed him on “Man in the Mirror”.

      In 1998, Andraé Crouch—who assumed leadership of his parents’ church when his brother, Pastor Benjamin Crouch Jr. passed—defied the COGIC denomination’s policy against female preachers, ordaining Sandra as co-pastor. They renamed Christ Memorial COGIC as New Christ Memorial Church and upon his death in 2015, Sandra assumed the role of senior pastor. She is set to be funeralized at New Christ Memorial Church in San Fernando, April 16-17.

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