Born: Ronald Hawkins on January 10, 1935 in Huntsville, Arkansas, United States.
Hawkins passed his time away in high school with a pick-up band. After graduation he put together a semi-pro band that toured around Arkansas. This was the first edition of Hawkins' The Hawks who stayed with the singer through his starving years in Memphis (not even Elvis nor Carl Perkins could catch a break in Memphis - until Elvis' "Heartbreak Hotel" in 1956).
In 1958 a friend of Hawkins, Harold Jenkins (aka Conway Twitty) was playing in a rockabilly band called the Rock Housers who was brought to Hamilton, Ontario to play a club called The Grange by booking agent Harold Kudletts.
Hawkins played the same brand of rock and roll and was also invited up to Canada to play the club as well. One gig led to another which rolled over into a permanent residency at the club and in Canada. By this point The Hawks had been reformed three times and with Hawkins setting up shop in Canada, many of the members became homesick and returned to the US.
Drummer Levon Helm did stick it out and a new Hawks was formed that included Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, and Garth Hudson. They would soon grow tired of Hawkins' straight ahead rockabilly and branch out on their own, first as Bob Dylan's backing group during his 'electric' period, but as prominent superstars The Band.
Hawkins was unphased and began recruiting new members to become yet another version of The Hawks. This group would appear on three singles in 1964 and 1965 for Hawkins' own Hawk Records. They would leave shortly thereafter and become Robbie Lane & The Disciples.
Without missing a beat, Hawkins brought in harmonica legend Richard Newell (aka King Biscuit Boy) who was then in charge of recruiting the new musicians. By the late '60's Newell had assembled a stellar group of musicians in Larry Atamniuk (drums), Roly Greenway (bass), Kelly Jay [aka Blake Fordham] (vocals, piano), Rheal Lanthier (guitar), Richard Bell (keyboards) and John Gibbard (slide guitar).
Hawkins named these guys And Many Others and used them for the recording of an album. They too grew tired of the low paying job of entertaining in some of the worst dives Canada had ever seen and split from him.
As with the band, And Many Others would record one album with Newell under the name Crowbar. Once Newell went solo, Crowbar established a career of their own culminating in the Daffodil Records hit single "Oh! What A Feeling".
Hawkins again shrugged off the defectors, wished them luck and set about trying to organise a peace festival with John Lennon in 1969. Lennon and Yoko Ono would visit Hawkins on his northern Ontario farm for several days.
Hawkins and Australian music journalist Ritchie Yorke were later recruited as Lennon peace emmissaries and toured the world spreading Lennon's message of 'Love Not War' all around the globe. The two were nearly arrested in China when they waved a banner with this slogan on the Great Wall Of China.
With his return to Canada and rock and roll, Hawkins put together another ad hock version of The Hawks -- this time with Hugh Brockie (guitar, banjo) and Dwayne Ford (guitar) as Ronnie's Rock 'n' Roll Revival And Traveling Medicine Show. By the early '70's Brockie and Ford had quit Hawkins' employ and formed Atkinson, Danko, and Ford before changing several members and re-christening themselves Bearfoot.
The critically acclaimed album 'The Hawk And Rock' was recorded live in England in 1982; He won a Juno for 'Country Male Vocalist' for his 1984 LP 'Making It Again'.
His most recent album, 1995's 'Let It Rock' went gold and gave him a 1996 Juno Award nomination. Also in 1996, Ronnie won the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award as CARAS' Industry Builder. Earlier, he went to The White House as a guest of President Bill Clinton, and to launch 'Let It Rock' in Washington.
Hawkins is also an accomplished actor in the television/film industry. He has hosted a number of television shows and has been the guest star on countless television variety shows. In 1981/82 he hosted his own television show called 'Honky Tonk', followed by the release of an award-winning documentary film on his career entitled 'The Hawk'. In 1983, he hosted a nationally syndicated special, 'In Concert', which marked his 25th year in Canada. Until the last few years, Hawkins had been the host of CITY-TV's New Years Eve Countdown from Nathan Philips Square in Toronto.
Hawkins' screen appearances include: 'The Last Waltz', a documentary film about the final concert by The Band; the controversial 1979 cinematic disaster 'Heaven's Gate', in which Hawkins played Major Walcott in a cameo; 'Renaldo & Clara' produced by Bob Dylan, wherein Hawkins portrays Dylan himself; 'Snakeater' with Lorenzo Lamas featuring Hawkins playing multiple rolls as well as musical contributions to the soundtrack.
Hawkins made a comeback shortly after a cancer scare in 2001 with a celebration at Massey Hall featuring a long list of musical friends. Bullseye Records of Canada released his long delayed 2002 'Still Cruisin'' studio CD in 2006 which included appearances by members of The Tragically Hip, Wide Mouth Mason, Goddo, David Foster, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson and long-time backing vocalist Beverley D'Angelo.
as RONNIE HAWKINS
Home From The Forest/Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Yorkville) YV-45016
Mary Jane/Reason To Believe (Yorkville) YV-45019
Down In The Alley/Matchbox (Cotillion) 45-44060
One More Night/Little Bird (Cotillion) 45-44076
Matchbox/Little Bird (Hawk) IT-301
Down In The Alley/Home From The Forest (Hawk) IT-302
Forty Days/Bitter Green (Hawk) IT-305
Patricia/Black Sheep Boy (Hawk) 1205-01
Cora Mae/Lawdy Miss Clawdy (Monument - UK) MNT-S-8292
Lonesome Town/Kinky (Monument) ZS7-8561
Bo Diddley/Lonely Hours (Monument) ZS7-8573
Diddley Daddy/Cora Mae (Monument)
Will The Circle Be Unbroken/Lady Came From Baltimore (Polydor) 2065-303
Home From The Forest/[B Side by Terry Jacks] (Arc)
(Stuck In) Lodi/Brown-Eyed Handsome Man (Quality) Q-2392X
Only The Lucky/300 Lbs Of Heavenly Joy (Quality) Q-2399X
Wild Little Willy/Johnny B. Goode (Quality)
Hit Record/Ode To A Truck Drivin' Man (Trilogy)
Making It Again/Patricia (Epic) E4-7080
Good Timing Song/Look Out Time (Epic) E4-7104
as RONNIE HAWKINS AND THE HAWKS
Hey! Bo Diddley/Love Me Like You Can (Quality) K-1827
Forty Days/One Of These Days (Apex) 76499
Mary Lou/Need Your Lovin' (Apex) 76561
Southern Love/Love Me Like You Can (Apex) 76623
Lonely Hours/Clara (Roulette - US) R-4228
Ruby Baby/Hayride (Roulette - US) R-4249
Ballad of Caryl Chessman (Let Him Live, Let Him Live, Let Him Live)/Death of Floyd Collins (Roulette - US) R-4231
Summertime/Mister And Mississippi (Roulette - US)
Cold Cold Heart/Nobody's Lonesome For Me (Roulette - US) R-4311
Come Love/I Feel Good (Roulette - US) R-4400
Bo Diddley/Who Do You Love (Roulette - US) R-4483
High Blood Pressure/There's A Screw Loose (Roulette - US) R-4502
Honey Don't (Roulette - US) RET-1024
Got My Mojo Workin/Let The Good Times Roll (Hawk) HR-002
Bluebirds Over The Mountain/Diddley Diddley Daddy (Hawk) HR-106
Goin' To The River/Little Red Rooster (Hawk) HR-107
Mary Lou/Girl With The Dark Brown Hair (Epic) E4-3022
Days Gone By/Mama Come Home (Epic) E4-3026
as RONNIE HAWKINS
Ronnie Hawkins (Roulette) R-25078
Mr. Dynamo (Roulette) R-25102
The Folk Ballads of Ronnie Hawkins (Roulette) SR-25120
Sings The Songs of Hank Williams (Roulette) SR-25137
Best of Ronnie Hawkins featuring His Band (Roulette) SR-42045
Mojo Man (Roulette) SR-25390
Ronnie Hawkins (Yorkville) YVS-33002
Ronnie Hawkins (Cotillion - US) SD-9019
The Hawk (GRT) 9205-9039
Rock & Roll Resurrection (Monument) Z-31330
Giant of Rock'n'Roll (Monument) BZ-33855
The Hawk In Winter (Polydor) 2424-121
Sold Out (Roulette)
Rockin' (Pye - UK) NSPL-28238
Rrrracket Time (Charly - UK) CR-30180
The Hawk (United Artists) UA-LA968-H
Greatest Hits (Quality) SV-2074
Legend In His Spare Time (Quality) SV-2092
Premonition (Accord) SN-7213
The Hawk And Rock (Trilogy) TR-50000
Making It Again (Epic) PEC-80104
Greatest Hits [3 LPs] (Silver Eagle) SE-10873
Treasure Chest (Polygram) 871-739-2
Rock'n'Favourites (Silver Eagle) SED-10873
Greatest Hits/Rock 'n' Roll Faves (Polytel) 847-051-2
Then and Now (Elite - EU) 845-648-2
Let It Rock (Quality) QCD-2104
Can't Stop Rockin' (Sony) 24110
Still Cruisin' (Hawk/Bullseye) BLR-CD-8106
Mary Lou (Collectables) 9940
as RONNIE HAWKINS & THE HAWKS
Rock Story Volume 1 (Bellaphon - Germany) BI-1566
Rock Story Volume 2 (Bellaphon - Germany) BI-1569
Hello Again... Mary Lou (Epic) PEC-80127
Best of Ronnie Hawkins And The Hawks(Rhino - US) RZ-70966
The Roulette Years [2CD] (Sequel - UK) WED-CD-266
The EP Collection (See for Miles) SEECD-709
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