HomeTop NewsRonnie Hawkins, Rockabilly Road Warrior, Is Dead At 87.

Ronnie Hawkins, Rockabilly Road Warrior, Is Dead At 87.


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Ronnie Hawkins, who mixed the stage presence of a natural showman with a devotion to turbocharged rockabilly music spanning more than a half-century, died on May 15, 2022. During that time, he was 87 years old. His spouse, Wanda, exposed his death to The Canadian Press. She did not specify the cause, and she did not say that she had been unwell for a few days.

Early Years Of Ronnie Hawkin’s Life

Mr. Hawkins started acting in his birthplace of Arkansas in the late 1950s and rose to fame as a roadhouse entertainer in Canada in the 1960s. His music has the authentic rock ‘n’ roll rhythm of Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry.

Ronnie Hawkins, Rockabilly Road Warrior, Is Dead At 87

His greatest fame was from the musicians he attracted and mentored, rather than the songs he produced. Their backup musicians, Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel, and Rick Danko, shaped the band during the early 1960s. This supported Bob Dylan and has become one of the most celebrated bands in music history.

Ronald Cornet Hawkins was born on January 10, 1935, in Huntsville. When he turned 9, his own circle of relatives moved to nearby Fayetteville, where his father, Jasper, opened a barbershop and his mother, Flora, taught school. His musical training started in the barbershop, wherein a shoe shine boy named Buddy Hayes had a blues band rehearsing with a piano player named Little Joe.

It was there that he began to assimilate the crazy cover music of the South, with blues and jazz filtering through country snatches and minstrel shows. Mr. Hawkins introduced a detail of risk to all of that—as a teenager, he drove bootleg whiskey from Missouri to Oklahoma’s dry counties in a souped-up Model A Ford, making as much as $300 a day.

He put the band together, registered and dropped out of the University of Arkansas, and combined forces in 1957. Within the military, he encountered a rock ‘n’ roll band, the Black Hawks, composed of African American musicians, a bold and typically welcome attempt in the segregated South. Over the years, his trademark has become the Camel Walk, which many years later has become an early model of Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk.

He created a faithful, magnetic stage presence through the performance of his band and the power of music. His altered versions of Chuck Berry’s Thirty Days and Mary Lou reached the top of the US charts. Concerned by Mr. Levy’s methods, Mr. Hawkins chose to own a street in Canada rather than swing for the fence as a recording big name inside the US, constructing a lucrative career.

Mr. Hawkins changed into something greater than a rockabilly street warrior. In 1969, they hosted John Lennon and Yoko Ono at their farm outside Toronto at some stage in their global excursion to sell global peace through the Plastic Ono Band. In 1975, Bob Dylan, an established fan, cast Mr. Hawkins in the role of Bob Dylan in the film Renaldo & Clara.

He was also regarded as a requested big name in Martin Scorsese’s 1978 live performance film The Last Waltz, becoming a member of the band at the group’s very last overall performance at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco on Thanksgiving.

Mr. Hawkins featured in Michael Cimino’s disastrous 1980 western Heaven’s Gate, and tailored as a reputable elder statesman of Canadian track. He invested wisely, lived on a sprawling lakeside property like a rustic square, and owned numerous businesses. Nonetheless, he shifted from being skilled at gambling to being kind and honoring his bad-boy image, as detailed in his 1989 autobiography, “Last of the Good Ol’ Boys.”

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