Dale Hawkins dies | Rock Candy

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dale Hawkins dies

Posted By on Sun, Feb 14, 2010 at 3:33 PM

unknown.jpg


Rockabilly pioneer Dale Hawkins, who'd made his home in Central Arkansas since the early '80s, died last night after a long battle with colon cancer.

The funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m., Thursday at the North Little Rock Funeral Home on Main Street. Visitation will held between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Born in tiny Goldmine, La., Hawkins famously wrote and recorded the 1957 hit "Suzy Q," the first release by Chess Records of a white artist. Later, as Lauren Wilcox Puchowski's fine profile in the 2005 Oxford American Music Issue details, the swamp rocker took a winding route through the music business to get to Little Rock (and later, and more lastingly, North Little Rock), where in 1999 he released the essential album "Wildcat Tamer":

Dale made the most of the attention he got from “Susie Q” and a few other releases. He appeared at record hops around the country, and by the end of the '50s, he was the host of The Dale Hawkins Show, out of Philadelphia, with guests like Dizzy Gillespie and the Isley Brothers. When the craze for rockabilly—what writer Bill Millar calls a “mayfly era”— began to wane after a few years, Dale found work as a producer — in part, he said, to “quit the road” after his two sons were born.

Dale was quite successful as a producer, with hits like “Western Union” by the Five Americans, “Judy in Disguise” by John Fred & His Playboy Band, and several well-received albums by the Uniques. At one point, three songs he had produced made the Billboard Top 100 at the same time: “Western Union,” “Do it Again a Little Bit Slower,” by Jon & Robin, and “Sound of Love,” also by the Five Americans. Neither band had ever been in a studio before.

Along the way, two things happened. One was that Dale became addicted to the stimulant Benzedrine. The other was that “Susie Q,” to which Dale had sold his share of the rights to Stan Lewis for two hundred dollars a few years before, had become a hit again for groups like Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Rolling Stones. It is hard to know, from the stories Dale tells and the way he tells them, what, exactly, persuaded him that he'd had enough of the music business, but in the early '80s he moved to Little Rock and entered a rehab program there.

For a while, he eschewed music altogether. An aptitude test administered in rehab suggested he might have a talent for motivational speaking, and for a couple of years he gave seminars for businessmen at insurance companies. He started Little Rock's first crisis center, with a suicide hotline for teenagers. In 1986, Dale received an envelope in the mail from MCA, which had bought the entire catalog of Chess Records. envelope held his share of this transaction, a check for sixty-four thousand dollars, after which he began to entertain thoughts of putting together his own studio and making music again.

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Lindsey Millar

  • An Arkansas-themed gift guide

    Get out your shopping list.
    • Nov 23, 2017
  • The Marshmallows on Sweet Potatoes Edition

    The legacy of Bill and Hillary Clinton and answers to readers' questions on politics, ancient canoes and more — on this week's podcast.
    • Nov 22, 2017
  • The Tom Cotton's Bright Idea Edition

    The downfall of Jeff Long, Tom Cotton’s terrible contribution to the Republican tax plan, a no-bid consulting contract in state government and #metoo in Arkansas — all covered on this week's podcast.
    • Nov 17, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Judge anticipates punishment of lawyers in Fort Smith class action case

    Federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith issued a 32-page ruling yesterday indicating he contemplates punishment of 16 lawyers who moved a class action lawsuit against an insurance company out of his court to a state court in Polk County after a settlement had been worked out.
    • Apr 15, 2016
  • John Goodson and others add lawyers for hearing on forum shopping

    Lawyers facing federal court sanctions for forum shopping a class action insurance case have brought in new legal guns from out of state to fight potential sanctions.
    • May 26, 2016
  • Lawyers plead for mercy in Fort Smith forum shopping case

    Twelve of the lawyers facing punishment by federal Judge P.K. Holmes in Fort Smith for moving a class action case against an insurance company out of his court to a state court where it was speedily settled have filed their argument against sanctions.
    • Jun 16, 2016

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation