Rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins dead at 87

Music fans were confronted by sad news this weekend when it was revealed that legendary rockabilly artist Ronnie Hawkins passed away at the age of 87.

According to the Toronto Star, Hawkins’ wife Wanda confirmed during a telephone interview with The Canadian Press that her husband died on Sunday at a hospital in Peterborough, Ontario following long-standing health problems.

“He looked as handsome as ever”

“He went peacefully and he looked as handsome as ever,” she was quoted as saying from her home.

The Star noted that Hawkins was born in Arkansas and went on to join the United States Army Reserve after he graduated from high school. It was during this time that he began playing with a band called the Black Hawks.

Following his military service, Hawkins opened the Rockwood Club in Fayetteville, an establishment that attracted the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Conway Twitty.

After failing to secure a record contract in America, Hawkins embarked on a Canadian tour in 1958. He subsequently had several songs make the Billboard Top 100 and appeared on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand.

Hawkins also formed a band called the Hawks along with fellow musicians Levon Helm and Robbie Robertson. Robertson was quoted as telling The Canadian Press that Hawkins had a special talent for working with other artists.

Music “was addictive”

“He was really good at gathering musicians that he thought were the best around,” Robertson explained. “It was like a bootcamp for musicians to go through, learn the music and when to do certain things and not do certain things. He just played a real pivotal part in all of it.”

Robertson spoke fondly of his former bandmate’s musical prowess, saying, “It was the most violent, dynamic, primitive rock ‘n’ roll I had ever witnessed and it was addictive.”

Guitarist Gary Lucas praised Hawkins’ abilities as well, saying, “He was doing double backflips on a stage in the middle of a song — I’ve never seen that before or since.”

Hawkins eventually made Canada his home although he frequently traveled back to his native Arkansas for the winter.

“There’s no place in the world more beautiful than Canada. I’ve made a lot of good friends here. A lot of outlaws,” the Star quoted him as saying 2000.

Share on facebook
Share To Facebook

Welcome to our comments section. We want to hear from you!

Any comments with profanity, advocacy of violence, harassment, personally identifiable information or other violations will be removed. If you feel your comment has been removed in error please contact us!

Latest Posts