||Ronnie Hawkins was
born in Huntsville, Arkansas, on January 10, 1935,
two days after Elvis Presley. Hawkins' mother was a
teacher; his father, a barber.
affectionately over the years as "Mr. Dynamo," "Sir
Ronnie," "Rompin' Ronnie," and "The Hawk," Hawkins'
love of music started in high school. He formed the
first version of his band The Hawks while studying
at the University of Arkansas in the 1950s.
In 1958, on the recommendation of Conway Twitty –
who considered Canada to be the promised land for a
rock'n roll singer – Hawkins came to Hamilton,
Ontario to play a club called The Grange. He never
left. Adopting Canada as his home, Hawkins became a
permanent resident in 1964.
In 1958 his hit, “Hey, Bo Diddley” was released.
This was followed by "Marylou", which turned Hawkins
into a teenage idol. In 1959, Morris Levy signed him
to Roulette Records for five years and tried to lure
him back to the United States but Hawkins had
fallen in love with Canada and didn't want to leave
his new home.
the years, Hawkins gained recognition for recruiting
and grooming outstanding Canadian talent. The
membership of his band, The Hawks, kept changing as
the talent flowed in and out, but the
name stayed the same. One edition of The Hawks (with
Canadians Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson, Rick Danko,
and drummer Levon Helm) moved on to become Bob
Dylan's backup band and later achieved superstardom
as The Band. Another incarnation became Janis
Joplin's Full Tilt Boogie Band, and another Robbie
Lane and the Disciples. Other famous Hawk alumni
include David Clayton Thomas of Blood Sweat and
Tears, actor Beverly D'Angelo, musician Lawrence
Gowan, and fellow Canadian Music Hall of Fame
inductees Burton Cummings and David Foster. Hawkins
has befriended many of the music industry's greats.
At the height of the 1960s peace movement, Hawkins
invited John Lennon and Yoko Ono to his Ontario farm
to plan a peace festival during the couple's peace
crusade. He also accompanied them on the train to
Ottawa for their famous visit with Prime Minister
Trudeau. Hawkins later toured the world at Lennon's
request as a peace emissary for Lennon's "Love Not
In 1989, Ronnie was reunited with The Band at the
concert marking the destruction of the Berlin Wall.
In 1992, he performed at the inaugural party of
former President Bill Clinton, one of The Hawks'
biggest fans. Hawkins has also performed for every
Canadian prime minister since John Diefenbaker and
even played for Solidarity Leader and former
president of Poland, Lech Walesa.
won a Juno for best Country Male Vocalist in 1984
for his hit, “Making It Again”. Eight years later he
received another Juno nomination for "Let it Rock". In
1996, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and
Sciences honored him with the Walt Grealis Special
Achievement award for his contribution to developing
Canada's music industry.
Ronnie Hawkins is also an accomplished television
and film actor. He's hosted his own television show
and made guest appearances on television variety
shows and on many Canadian dramatic and comedy
series. Hawkins has also performed in a handful of
films including, The Last Waltz (with The Band),
Heaven's Gate (with Kris Kristofferson), Renaldo &
Clara (which Bob Dylan produced), and One More Time
(with the late greats, John Candy and Dean Martin).
Ronnie Hawkins released his 27th album Still Cruisin'
in Canada in 2002.
Hawkins currently has a promotional relationship
with Cambria, a Minnesota based company specializing
in the production of quartz surfaces. As a
spokesperson for Cambria, Ronnie will perform at the
grand opening of their first fabrication facility in
Canada on August 18th in Bolton, Ontario.
In November 2007, Ronnie was honored with the
Special Achievement Award at the Society of
Composers, Authors and Music Publishers (SOCAN)
Awards. This award is given to individuals who have
greatly contributed to Canada’s music industry over
the course of their careers.