HomeNewsRonnie Hawkins, the Rock and Roll Legend Dies Aged 87

Ronnie Hawkins, the Rock and Roll Legend Dies Aged 87

Ronnie Hawkins, an American/Canadian rock and roll singer-songwriter who played a pivotal role in the setting up of the pioneering Americana group “The Band”, passed away on 29th May, Sunday. He was 87.

His spouse, Wanda, confirmed his death to the media however the root cause of his death was not disclosed except that he was not keeping well for the last many weeks. “He went peacefully and he looked as handsome as ever,” she told the Canadian Press. He reportedly died after a prolonged illness.

Tributes pour in via Social Media

The Band offered tributes to the legend on Twitter by writing, “Ronnie could really work a crowd on a Friday night. He was an entertainer rather than a musician. He had an instinct for crowd psychology and could start a rumble across the room if he wanted to just by flicking his wrist. – Levon Helm. Rest in peace, Ronnie Hawkins.”

Margaret Atwood, the Canadian author, paid his tributes to the late singer on Twitter sharing it was “very sad to hear”.

The Band’s Robbie Robertson also remembered him saying Hawkins trained him along with his bandmates.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Robertson said, “He was not only a great artist, tremendous performer and bandleader, but had a style of humor unequaled. Fall down funny and completely unique. Yep, God only made one of those. And he will live in our hearts forever. My deepest condolences to his family.”

Who was Ronnie Hawkins?

Ronnie Hawkins, also referred to by few as “the father of Canadian rock ‘n’ roll,”  was born in the year 1935 in Huntsville, Arkansas. He formed his first band, the Hawks when he was studying at the University of Arkansas.

Music Career

He started touring in Ontario in 1958 and established himself in Canada. Nine years later he was featured in a CBC Telescope documentary.

Hawkins was instrumental in getting a group of backup musicians in Canada that later became famous as The Band. The Band played with legendary icon Bob Dylan and gained prominence.

Guitarist Robbie Robertson said: “We should thank Ronnie Hawkins in being so instrumental in us coming together and for teaching us the ‘code of the road,’ so to speak” when The Band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The musician nicknamed The Hawk did not earn his reputation in the studio. His stage shows were full of loud noise, characterized by his booming voice, and popular for his acrobatic moves like his “camel walk.”

In his career spanning more than five decades, Hawkins has mentored several young Canadian musicians like guitarist Pat Travers and future Janis Joplin guitarist John Till.

Awards

  • In 1996, he received the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award during the Juno Awards ceremony.
  • The city of Toronto has declared 4th Oct as “Ronnie Hawkins Day” as he was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2002.
  • He was later inducted into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame for his contribution to the music industry in 2004.
  • Hawkins was awarded an honorary degree from Laurentian University in 2005.  He was named an honorary Officer of the Order of Canada in 2013.

Hawkins is survived by his wife of 60 years Wanda and their three children, Ronnie Jr., Robin, and Leah. He is also survived by his four grandchildren.

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Archana Kabra
Archana Kabra is a Freelance Writer and has been extensively writing stuff related to Entertainment, Lifestyle, and Technology. She is also an ardent music lover. Twitter handle: @archana153sarda
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