She sang, as many Black Children did at the time, in the Church. Gwen attended a Pentecostal Church.
Gwen first met George in Pensacola and the pair married in 1964, after a relationship that was only a week old!
George was in the Navy at the time and, after leaving the services, he reformed his old group The Jiving Jets, and offered Gwen a role within the group.The duo soon left the group to perform as a husband and wife team, with Gwen later relocating to West Palm Beach, Florida, up until 1975.
Along with George, Gwen was part of the Miami based T.K. Records operation during the Seventies.
The duo was, originally discovered by the singer Betty Wright back in 1967.Betty aided the duo, by helping them get a deal with the Henry Stone owned Alston imprint. In 1969, they released their debut single ‘Three Hearts In A Tangle’. This was followed up by ‘Like Yesterday Our Love Is Gone’.The duo had now collaborated with Clarence Reid and Willie Clarke, a team that was later to blossom under the T.K. umbrella. A third single entitled ‘No One Left To Come Home’ was released and the pair began session work alongside Betty Wright.
Gwen first found solo success in 1970, remake of the old Bobby Bland gospel-blues song, ‘Lead Me On’ (R & B number 32).
The record was recorded for TK Records.
Alston leased her contract to Columbia where she recorded several more singles over the next few years.
Columbia then declined to renew Gwen’s contract in 1973, and she was signed to a different Henry Stone label, the T.K. subsidiary, Cat.
At that imprint, she followed with a remake of the Ed Townsend oldie, ‘For Your Love’ (R & B number 17).
Gwen had a minor 1974 hit with the song ‘It’s Worth the Hurt’, however, the song’s success was overshadowed by George’s recording, namely, the enormous pop hit ‘Rock Your Baby’. Gwen had her only pop hit with the song ‘Rockin’ Chair’ in 1975, with the number 1 R & B hit crossing over to reach the U.S. Top 10.
During this period, George and Gwen’s marriage went through some turbulent times, with George, allegedly, beating his wife, however, they did record the album ‘Together’ as a duo. After a 1976 duet single, ‘Winners Together, Losers Apart’, the couple separated. The same year Gwen scored what turned out to be her last chart hit for the Cat imprint, ‘Damn Right, It’s Good’ and released the album ‘Something So Right’.
1978 saw the release of the album ‘Let’s Straighten It Out’, the title song being a fine cover of the Latimore original.
‘Love Insurance’ (R & B number 16) followed with ‘Cradle Of Love’ in 1978, both taken from the ‘Let’s Straighten It Out’ album, additionally.
Back at the CAT label, Gwen released the, much in demand, album ‘Melody Of Life’.The set included the excellent dancer ‘All This Love That I’m Giving’ and the floater ‘I Can Only Think Of You’.
TK folded in 1980, and Gwen relocated to New Jersey, and while there signed with Atlantic, after which she entered the charts with ‘Funky Sensation’ (number 22 R & B) in 1981, produced by Kinton Knix.
1982 saw the release of the album ‘On My Way’, containing the excellent, Willie Hutch penned, Webster Lewis produced ‘Keep The Fire’s Burning’.
Gwen then relocated back to Florida, and recorded a single for the Black Jack label in 1984 entitled ‘Do You Know What I Mean,’ and then retired from the music business.
Her last U.S. chart record was in 1984, however, in the U.K. she had a hit with the re-released, ‘All This Love That I’m Giving’ (number 63), in 1988.
In 1990 the U.K. based Expansion label released ‘I Can Only Think Of You’ from the ‘Melody Of Life’ album as a single.
Gwen then recorded an album for the British Homegrown label in 1996, entitled ‘Girlfriend’s Boyfriend’.
After returning home, Gwen then signed for the Goldwax label, distributed by Ichiban, and recorded another album later that year, entitled ‘Psychic Hot Line’.
In 1998, Ichiban reissued ‘Girlfriend’s Boyfriend’ in the U.S.
In 1999, she issued the album ‘Still Rockin’ for the Phat Sound imprint, which was well received.
Gwen then recorded a gospel album entitled ‘I’m Not Worried’ in 2004, for the U.S. Lewmar label, and is due to tour Europe in 2005.
A new song entitled ‘Latter Day Rain’ is due for release during April 2005, on a compilation entitled ‘Volume 22 SIMS RECORDS’, advertised in America’s Number 1 Gospel Music Newspaper ‘U.S Gospel News’.
Gwen returned to the recording studio, and, along with several veteran TK artists, recorded the album ‘Gwen McCrae Sings TK’.