Ronnie Hawkins, the Arkansas-born rock legend who directed the young Canadian and American musicians who came to be known as the band, has died.
Hawkins, described in tributes as the most important rocker in Canadian history, died at the age of 87 due to illness, his wife Wanda said on Sunday.
“He walked peacefully and looked as handsome as ever,” she told Canadian media.
In a tribute to Hawkins on Sunday, the band’s Robbie Robertson said Hawkins taught him and his bandmates “the rules of the road”.
“Not only is he a great artist, performer and bandleader, but he has an unparalleled style of humor,” Robertson said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Falling is fun and completely unique. Yes, God created only one of them. He will live on in our hearts forever. My deepest condolences to his family.”
Canadian author Margaret Atwood tweeted the news, saying it was “so sad to hear”.
Born in Huntsville, Arkansas, on January 10, 1935 (two days after Elvis Presley was born), the burly Hawkins was a natural performer and soon flourished on the rock tour in the 1950s The game earned a hellish reputation.
Nicknamed “The Eagle,” he worked with Mary Lou and Odessa and ran a club in Fayetteville, Arkansas, that included early rock stars Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Conway Twitty.
“Hawkins is the only person I’ve ever heard who can write a beautifully sexy song like My Gal is Red Hot that sounds dirty,” Greer Marcus said in his critically acclaimed essay on music and American culture. The book, Mystery Train, wrote, adding that Hawkins allegedly “knows more back roads, chambers and asses than anyone from Newark to Mexicali”.
Hawkins calls himself the “King of Rock and Roll” and “Mr.” Dynamo”, doesn’t have the talent of Presley or Perkins, but he does have ambition and insight into talent.
he first Canada In the late ’50s, he realized he would stand out in a country where homegrown rock was almost non-existent. Canadian musicians often move to the United States to develop their careers, but Hawkins is one of the few Americans who try the opposite.
Hawkins formed a Canadian support team with drummer and Arkansas’ Arkansan Levon Helm, which included guitarist and songwriter Robbie Robertson, keyboardists Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel and Bethrick Danko. They became the Eagles and were educated at the Hawkins School of Rock.
In a 1978 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Robertson said, “When the music was too far from Ronnie’s ears, or when he didn’t know when to start singing, he would tell us that except Thelonious Monk, no People understand what we’re playing. But the most important thing for him is that he makes us rehearse and practice a lot. We’ll often go and play until 1am and then rehearse until 4am.”
Robertson and friends supported Hawkins from 1961-63, putting on raucous shows across Canada and recording a roaring cover of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love,” It became one of Hawkins’ signature songs.
But Hawkins didn’t sell many records, and the Eagles grew more than their leader.they hooked up bob dylan In the mid-’60s and late 20th century, they had become their own superstars, and they renamed themselves the band.
Meanwhile, Hawkins settled in Peterborough, Ontario, where he had a handful of top 40 singles, including Bluebird in the Hill and Down the Lane in the Alley.
Canadian music journalist and blogger Eric Alper wrote Sunday that Hawkins will be greatly missed.
“Ronnie Hawkins, the most important rocker in Canadian history, dies at 87,” wrote Alper. “The band, Dale Hawkins, Bob Dylan and thousands of others wouldn’t be the same without him. The music wouldn’t be the same. He will be sorely missed, thank you Hawke.”
He didn’t keep up with the latest voices – he was horrified the first time he heard Canadian Neil Young – but in the late 1960s he met John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono. They lived with Hawkins and his wife Wanda and three children when they visited Canada.
“At that particular time, I thought I was doing them a favor,” he later told the National Post. “I think the Beatles are a lucky British band. I don’t know much about their music. I thought Yoko was (stupid). To this day, I’ve never heard a Beatles album. For 10 Billion Dollar, I can’t name a song on Abbey Road. I’ve never picked up a Beatles album in my life and never heard it. Never. But John is so strong. I love him. He Not one of those hits, you know.”
Hawkins also remained in touch with the band, and in 1976 was one of the guests at the all-star farewell concert for Martin Scorsese’s documentary The Last Waltz.
For a moment, he’s back in power, grinning under his Stetson hat, swaggering, and yelling “big time, big time” to his former subordinates as they tear up who you love.
In addition to the final waltz, Hawkins also starred in Dylan’s films “Reinaldo and Clara,” the big-budget flop “Heaven’s Gate” and “Hello Mary Lou.” A 2007 documentary about Hawkins, Living and Playing was narrated by Dan Aykroyd and featured another prominent Arkansas Bill Clinton.
Hawkins’ albums include Ronnie Hawkins, The Hawk and Can’t Stop Rockin’, a 2001 album known for Helm and Robertson appearing on the same song, Blue Moon in My Sign. Hulme and Robertson stopped speaking, and they fell out after The Last Waltz, recording their contributions in separate studios.
Over time, Hawkins mentored a number of young Canadian musicians who achieved career success, including guitarist Pat Travers and future Janis Joplin guitarist John Thiel.
He has received several honorary awards from his adopted country and was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 2013 in recognition of his “contribution to the development of the Canadian music industry as a rock musician and support for philanthropy”.