Gwen McCrae

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Gwen McCrae
Birth nameGwen Mosley
Also known asThe Queen of Rare Groove
Born (1943-12-21) December 21, 1943 (age 80)
Pensacola, Florida, U.S.[1][2]
Years active1969–2012

Gwen McCrae (née Mosley, December 21, 1943) is an American singer, best known for her 1975 hit "Rockin' Chair".[1]

Life and career[edit]


Gwen was the youngest of five children,[1][3] She began performing in local clubs as a teenager, and singing with local groups like the Lafayettes and the Independents. In 1963, she met a young sailor named George McCrae, whom she married within a week.[1]

From 1963, she recorded as a duo with her husband George; the couple got a recording contract with Henry Stone's TK Records.[1] In 1967, singer Betty Wright, who helped get them signed to Stone's Alston record label.[1]

Signed to TK subsidiary Cat, as a solo artist, she found success on the U.S. R&B charts with a cover of Bobby Bland's "Lead Me On" in 1970, followed by "For Your Love".[1] Following husband George's solo success with "Rock Your Baby", Gwen went on to have a major hit of her own in March 1975 with "Rockin' Chair" which reached number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached number one on the R&B chart. The follow-up "Love Insurance" also made the R&B chart (#16).[1] Music critic Robert Christgau said "Rockin' Chair" is "almost as irresistibly Memphis-cum-disco-with-a-hook as hubby's 'Rock Your Baby.'"[4]

In 1972, she recorded the song "Always on My Mind". The song was later popularized by Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, and the Pet Shop Boys and also covered by several other artists.[5]


After TK Records collapsed, McCrae moved to New Jersey and signed with Atlantic Records, recording two albums and saw one of her singles, "Funky Sensation", reach #22 on the R&B chart in 1981.[6] In 1982, she had a moderate R&B hit with "Keep the Fire Burning". She continued to record and some of her earlier recordings on the UK's Northern Soul scene maintained her popularity as a live act in Europe.[1] McCrae moved back to the United States, to Florida, recorded a one-off single for the small Black Jack label in 1984 called "Do You Know What I Mean", and then temporarily retired from the music industry.[1]

McCrae traveled to the UK to record a couple of singles for Rhythm King Records in 1987.[1] She also recorded an album for a British label called Homegrown Records in 1996, titled Girlfriend's Boyfriend. Upon returning to the U.S., she signed with the revived Goldwax label, distributed by Ichiban Records, and recorded another album, Psychic Hot Line.[1]

In 1999, the French house music duo Cassius released the single "Feeling for You", which sampled the vocals of McCrae's "All This Love That I'm Giving". It was a Top 20 hit on the UK Singles Chart.[7] The track also appeared on Cassius' album, 1999. In 1999, her single "Funky Sensation" was sampled in the German single "Get Up," by DJ Thomilla featuring Afrob.

2000s and beyond[edit]

In 2004, McCrae released her first gospel album. In 2008, rap DJ and producer Madlib released his album, WLIB AM: King of the Wigflip which includes the song "Gamble on Ya Boy", based on a "I Found Love" sample, from McCrae's album, Melody of Life.[citation needed]

In 2005, McCrae teamed up with the Soulpower organization,[8] which is also responsible for the comebacks of Marva Whitney, Lyn Collins, Martha High, Bobby Byrd and RAMP. Her collaboration with Soulpower resulted in various live performances with the Soulpower All-Stars.[8]

In 2007, she appeared on several songs on Sounding Rick’s “Living in the Acoustic Projects” and again on his 2009 album “Blabbermouth”.

Gwen McCrae released her latest single "Now I Found Love" in December 2010, released through Plain Truth Entertainment. "Now I Found Love" was mixed and produced by Steve Sola and composed by David Seagal.[citation needed]

In June 2012, after performing on stage in England, she had a stroke which resulted in paralysis on the left side of her body and the inability to walk.[9][10]



Year Album Peak chart positions
1974 Gwen McCrae
1975 Rockin' Chair 121 18
(with George McCrae)
1976 Something So Right
1978 Let's Straighten It Out
1979 Melody of Life
1981 Gwen McCrae 38
1982 On My Way
1996 Psychic Hotline
1997 Girlfriend's Boyfriend
1999 Still Rockin'
2004 I'm Not Worried
2006 Live in Paris at New Morning
(with the Soulpower All-Stars)
Gwen McCrae Sings TK
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.


Year Single Peak chart positions
US Pop
US Dance
1970 "Lead Me On" 32
1972 "You Were Always on My Mind"
"Leave the Driving to Us"
1973 "For Your Love" 17
"He Keeps Something Groovy Goin' On"
1974 "Move Me Baby"
"It's Worth the Hurt" 66
1975 "Love Insurance" 16
"Rockin' Chair" 9 1
"Let's Dance, Dance, Dance"
(with George McCrae)
1976 "Cradle of Love" 53
"Damn Right It's Good" 72
"Winners Together or Losers Apart"
(with George McCrae)
1978 "Starting All Over Again"
1979 "The Melody of Life"
"All This Love That I'm Giving" 63
1981 "Funky Sensation" 22 15 92
1982 "Keep the Fire Burning" 60 5
"I Need to Be with You"
1984 "Do You Know What I Mean?" 83
1993 "All This Love That I'm Giving"
(with Music and Mystery)[13]
2000 "Gittin' What I Want" 92
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Huey, Steve. "Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved February 19, 2009.
  2. ^ "Gwen McCrae Page". Archived from the original on December 25, 2002. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  3. ^ Maria Granditsky. "Gwen McCrae interview (Part 1)". Retrieved April 15, 2012.
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: M". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 7, 2019 – via
  5. ^ Hilburn, Robert (April 24, 1988). "The Surprising Saga of 'Always on My Mind'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  6. ^ "Classic Soul - Gwen McCrae". Archived from the original on February 25, 2004. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London, UK: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 97. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  8. ^ a b "A review of Gwen McRae feat Soulpower All-Stars". Soul Source. June 24, 2005. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  9. ^ Rizik, Chris (May 5, 2007). "Gwen McCrae - Biography". SoulTracks. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  10. ^ "Funky Sensation: An All-Star Benefit for Gwen McCrae". August 9, 2012. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Gwen McCrae - Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on September 27, 2013. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  12. ^ "Gwen McCrae Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography". Music VF. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
  13. ^ a b "GWEN MCCRAE - full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 12, 2022.

External links[edit]