Ronnie Hawkins, an Arkansas-born rock and roll legend, was a mentor to young Canadian and American musicians and later became known as the Band.
Hawkins, described in tribute notes as the most important rock ‘n’ roller in Canadian history, died of an illness at the age of 87, his wife Wanda said Sunday.
“He went quiet, he was as beautiful as ever,” he told the Canadian Press.
In a tribute to Hawkins on Sunday, the band’s Robbie Robertson said Hawkins taught himself and his band members the “rules of the road.”
Robertson said on Twitter, “He was not only a great artist, an amazing artist and band leader, but also had a style of comedy.” Funny and completely unique. Yes, God created only one of them. And he will live forever in our hearts. My deepest condolences to his family. “
Canadian writer Margaret Atwood tweeted the news, saying “it’s so sad to hear.”
Born January 10, 1935, in Huntsville, Arkansas (two days after Elvis Presley was born), Hawkins became a well-structured showman and a rising force in the 1950s, a rising rocker on the ‘roll’ circuit.
Nicknamed “The Hawk”, he had minor successes with Mary Lou and Odessa and hosted a club in Fayetteville, Arkansas, including early rock stars such as Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Conway Twitty.
“The only person I’ve ever heard of a beautifully catchy song like My Gale is Red Hot Sound Zodiac” is Hawkins, who wrote in his acclaimed book Mystery Train about music and American culture, “Know” more back roads than any other man from Newark to Mexico, then Rooms and backs.
Hawkins himself, “The King of Rockabilly” and “Mr. Dynamo” did not have the gifts of Presley or Perkins, but he had ambition and talent.
He played first Canada In the late 50s, he realized that he would stand out more in a country where inland rock was still scarce. Canadian musicians often traveled to the United States to improve their lives, but Hawkins was the rare American who tried the opposite.
Along with drummer and fellow organist Levon Helm, Hawkins formed a Canadian support group that included guitarist-songwriter Robbie Robertson, keyboardists Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel and bassist Rick Tanko. They studied at the Hawkins School of Rocks and became Hawks.
Robertson told Rolling Stone in 1978, “When the music went a little too far for Ronnie’s ears, or he could not tell when to sing, no one but Tolonius Monk could understand what we were playing. But he trained us to rehearse a lot. The big thing with him is that we often go and play until 1am and then rehearse until 4am.
Robertson and friends supported Hawkins from 1961-63, performing around Canada and recording Bo Ditley’s Who Do You Love’s scream card, which became one of Hawkins’ handwriting songs.
But Hawkins did not sell many records and Hawks surpassed their leader. Joined Bob Dylan They were superstars in the mid – 60s and late’s, and they renamed themselves the band.
Hawkins, meanwhile, settled in Peterborough, Ontario, and had a few of the top 40 singles, including Bluebirds in the Mountain and Down in the Alley.
In writing on Sunday, Canadian music journalist and blogger Eric Alber Hawkins said he would be deeply mistaken.
“The most important rock and roller in the history of Canada, Ronnie Hawkins, died at the age of 87,” Alber wrote. “Band, Dale Hawkins, Bob Dylan and thousands would not be the same without him. The music would not be the same. He will be so missed, and thank you, Hawk.
He did not follow the latest sounds – he was horrified when he first heard Canadian Neil Young – but in the late 1960s he befriended John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono. Hawkins and his wife Wanda and their three children were staying when they moved to Canada.
“At the time, I thought I was doing them a favor,” he later told the National Post. “I thought the Beatles were an English band, I’m lucky. I did not know much about their music. I thought it was Yoko’s (funny). To date, I have never heard the Beatles album. At a cost of $ 10 billion, I could not name a single song on Abe Road. Beatle never picked up the album.Never.But John is so powerful.I loved him.He’s not one of those hot shots, you know.
Hawkins was in contact with the band and was one of the guests at the all-star, farewell concert in 1976, which was the basis for Martin Scorsese’s documentary The Last Waltz.
For a few moments he took charge again, smiling and twirling under his station hat, tearing up his ex-slaves saying “big time, big time” who they want.
In addition to The Last Waltz, Hawkins also appeared in Dylan’s Renault and Clara, the big-budget failed Heavens Gate and Hello Mary Lou. The 2007 documentary about Hawkins, Alive and Kickin ‘was narrated by Dan Ackroyd and featured another famous organzone Bill Clinton’s cameo.
Hawkins’ albums include Ronnie Hawkins, The Hawk and ‘Kant Stop Rockin’, and Helm and Robertson appeared on the 2001 single Blue Moon in My Sign. Helm and Robertson no longer speak, leaving after The Last Waltz and recording their contributions in separate studios.
Over time, Hawkins guided many young Canadian musicians, including guitarist Pat Travers and future Janice Joplin guitarist John Dill.
He has received numerous honors from his adopted country and, in 2013, was named a member of the Order of Canada for his contributions as a rock and roll musician to the development of Canada’s music industry. Support for charitable causes. “
“Communicator. Music aficionado. Certified bacon trailblazer. Travel advocate. Subtly charming social media fanatic.”