Joel Smith Homegoing Services Posted

By Bob Marovich

As many readers already know, gospel drummer, bass player, bandleader and producer Joel Smith passed away on September 8 at age 58.

Smith cut his teeth on gospel music by accompanying his uncles Edwin and Walter Hawkins. In 1977, at age thirteen, he played drums on Edwin’s Wonderful album. That was only the first; Smith would participate on many other Edwin Hawkins albums, including the classic Christmas album for Birthright. He participated in Walter’s historic Love Alive series and accompanied Tramaine Hawkins on bass and drums for her solo recordings.

Smith also played bass guitar on Kurt Carr’s 1997 GospoCentric CD No One Else, which featured the megahit “For Every Mountain.” He was a musician for albums by the Reverend James Moore, the Williams Brothers, Helen Stephens, Lynette Hawkins Stephens, and so many others too numerous to name. Among his music inspirations was Bill Maxwell, who provided the beat behind Andrae Crouch and the Disciples.

Joel Smith’s passing leaves a void in the gospel music community in artistry and mentorship.

Below are the homegoing service details.

About Bob Marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.


  1. “Wonderful” was released in 1976. Before that, Joel Smith played drums on Uncle Walter Hawkins’ Love Alive album released in 1975

    • The Facebook Page for his late uncle also states that he was born in 1959, making him 16, when Love Alive was released.