"My dad was a champion redneck, liked to drink, chase women, fight, and do all those things that rednecks like. My mother was the complete opposite - she was a religious fanatic who never missed church in 40 years and used to give 10 percent of all she earned to the church, which really pissed my dad off."

Ronnie Hawkins
on his parents, Jasper and Flora Hawkins.

"When we were kids, we used to slip around here and there and get into those watermelon patches to get one to eat. Well, Mr. Winters - he's the farmer who owned all those watermelon patches and had a '37 Ford pickup that I wanted - one day that old farmer caught us and said, 'Now look, boys, I know you been taking those melons, so I'm going to give you a warning now. I poisoned one of those watermelons out there in that field and I'm the only one who knows where it is. If you want to take a chance and eat the fucker, and kill yourself, well you just go on ahead.

"Damn. And he knew where it was, too! Well, I had to do something. Just had to. The next morning I came to that old farmer. "Let me tell you something, Mr. Winters," I said. "Now there are two poisoned watermelons out there in that patch and I'm the only one who knows where the other one is. So do you want to negotiate?'

"Damn, but we were young and wild and rockin' in those days."

Ronnie Hawkins
on his childhood.

"I raced hot rods at the Santa Ana Drag Strip and clocked my fastest time at 71 m.p.h. I thought I was going to be the world's greatest racing driver, but baby, did I get beaten! Cars were backing up faster than I could go forward! I could beat everybody in Arkansas, but believe me, California was a little different."

Ronnie Hawkins
on his 1954 visit to California.

"There were three guys in those days who would really knock you out when you went to see them. That was Elvis, Jerry Lee and Ronnie Hawkins. He would do all kinds of crazy stuff. If there was a wall at the side of the stage, he'd run up it and turn a back flip off it, still holding the mike if the cord was long enough."

Sonny Burgess
on the early days of rockabilly.

"A good band is like a team. You want to have the right balance. It's not always the best people you need, but the right ones for the job."

Ronnie Hawkins
on creating a band.

"Canadia - You ever been to Canadia, Mr. Hawkins? It's cold all the time. They've got ten months of winter up there, and two months of bad sledding. Canadia - I don't know..."

Diamond Helm, Levon's father
when Ronnie asked him to allow Levon to join his band and play in Canada.

"It's a rough place, son. In fact, you have to puke twice and show your razor just to get in. Better grow some whiskers if you wanna go to Canada. I don't know how the hell I'm gonna get you into those clubs up there if you keep looking like a damn choirboy. Stick with me, son. Soon you'll be fartin' through silk."

Ronnie Hawkins
to Levon Helm before a show in Osceola, Arkansas in 1957.

"I enjoyed that trip. We were pulling a U-haul trailer with all our equipment, and this poor old '55 Chevy would only do 55 m.p.h. downhill. When we were going uphill we could maybe get 25. It was a great experience. Ron was the type of guy who would site in the back seat and let us chauffeur him while he told us which way to go."

Jimmy Ray Paulman
on The Hawks' first trip to Canada, in Ronnie's sister Winifred's borrowed car.

"They had a little room at the side of the stage where we had to wait until the car arrived. When we came out we saw a line of people who were roped off and so we went over to shake hands and talk to them. The girls just grabbed at us. They ripped my wrist watch off, and peeled the skin off my arm to get at it. They tore out lumps of our hair for souvenirs and were trying to tear our clothes off. They had security guards who were trying to hold them back and get us to the car. We finally got inside but the fans had broken through and were surrounding us, and started rocking the car back and forth. The driver was really scared and had to take off up the hill with the crowd of girls running behind us until eventually the police were able to form a line and hold them back."

Jimmy Evans
on a Cleveland concert before 87,000 fans in 1959.

"We pulled up in the Cadillac with the trailer behind us that had 'Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks' printed on the side of it, and there was Paul Anka sitting outside the place wearing a t-shirt, a pair of blue jeans, and tennis shoes. Levon was driving, and Ron leaned out of the window, clicked his fingers and said, 'Hey boy, come here.' Paul Anka came over and said, 'Hi, what do you want?' Hawkins replied, 'I want you to help carry this stuff in for us. Aren't you the bellboy in this place?' He responded 'Don't you recognize me, I'm Paul Anka.' 'So what', he said, 'I'm Ronnie Hawkins. Come over and grab these suitcases.' "

Jimmy Ray Paulman
on a Chicago Civic Opera House concert headlined by Paul Anka,
and including The Hawks, Anita Bryant, The Coasters, Brook Benton and Mark Dinning.

"This band played the fastest, most violent rock 'n' roll that I've ever heard. It was very exciting and very explosive. I loved the dynamics, the style. Anyway, it was just the way they looked. How young they were. They weren't as young as me but they were pretty young so I could relate to that. And Ronnie was like this animal, lunging around with one arm hanging down, being very neanderthal about it, very primitive about it. I liked it a lot."

Robbie Robertson
on seeing The Hawks perform for the first time.

"You won't earn much, but you'll get more pussy than Frank Sinatra."

Ronnie Hawkins
to Robbie Robertson, trying to convince him to join the band.

"We were playing, not for the drunks, but for the musicians, because it was more intellectually challenging. We needed somewhere to put our energy to show that we were growing, and as we started to achieve this, people came to hear us musically."

Ronnie Hawkins
on the Canadian incarnation of The Hawks.

"When Jimmy Luke left, Robbie more or less became my understudy. At one stage he actually challenged me. He said, 'One of these days I'm gonna be better than you, I'm gonna cut you. I'm gonna beat you.' I told him his guitar lessons were over. From then on I would hide my fingers from him on stage so that he couldn't see what I was playing. When I would practice, I'd do it with my back to him. Hawk used to have fun on stage trying to turn me around to face Robbie when I was taking a solo."

Fred Carter, Jr.
on his memories of a young Robbie Robertson.

"It was a mob scene when we used to film the 'Dick Clark Show' with Hawkins. He used to crack Dick Clark up so that he couldn't even MC his show. He'd be on the floor from Hawkins cutting up and doing all his acrobatics. Hawk is the funniest stage performer that I've ever worked for, bar none."

Fred Carter, Jr.
on The Hawks' 'Dick Clark Show' appearances.

"They had moved a grand piano onto this makeshift plywood stage. Ronnie was very athletic. It was mesmerizing. Robbie was down on his knees and Ronnie was fanning his guitar. Rebel (Paine) had these finger picks on playing his electric bass. Levon (Helm) was pretty flashy and was smashing all the cymbals and twirling his sticks, but the one who really stood out was Stan (Szelest). He just kept bouncing up and down. He was the most incredible musician to watch even back then. He had this Jerry Lee Lewis, curly, blond long hair. His collar was up and he was kicking the piano at the same time as playing it. It was mesmerizing."

John Till (a later guitarist for The Hawks)
on a live performance by The Hawks in 1960.

"I was a big fan of Elvis Presley at that stage and thought that Elvis was the most gorgeous thing that I'd ever seen, so I can't really say whether it was love at first sight with Ron. He had many girls. I remember coming into the room once while he was in the bedroom. There were girls lined up on the couch waiting their turn to go in and see him. I don't know what the heck he was doing with them but they were taking turns to go into the bedroom. I thought it was hilarious."

Wanda Hawkins
on her introduction to her future husband, Ronnie, in September 1960.

"I could see he was going to make it. He was just like Robbie - he wanted to learn. The Danko boys all have weird ears. They hear harmonies that nobody else can."

Ronnie Hawkins
on recruiting a young Rick Danko.

"They had two Cadillacs. I got in with The Hawk. We made two stops. I said good-bye to my boss and told him I was going to Toronto with a famous rock and roll band. Then we went home to get some clothes. I told my mom I was leaving town for a couple of weeks. I kissed 'em good-bye and that was it. I was on the road. Hawk was telling me that I was gonna play a little rhythm guitar, and later I'd play bass. I'd never played either in my life! Meanwhile I noticed that the driver, Bill Avis, has us cruising down Highway 3 at maybe 75, and all of a sudden I saw car lights coming on fast behind us. I thought it was the Mounties. But no.
'Pull over, son,' Hawk said to Bill. 'That's Levon - give him plenty room!' Sure enough, in ten seconds Levon blows by us at 110, windows rolled down with bare legs sticking out. Young girls' legs. He had a beautiful '54 two-door. Filled with young women! This was Levon on his way to Grand Bend, where The Hawks were playing next. Yaa-hoooooo!!!! Away we went!"

Rick Danko
on his first night with Ronnie.

"From the beginning, I was The Hawk's right-hand man. To this day he's a good friend and a great leader, with an uncanny ability to pick the best musicians and build them into first-rate bands. He was immediately likable, trustworthy, and just naturally an entertainer; one of the funniest guys I ever met. The Hawk had been to college and could quote Shakespeare when he was in the mood. He was also the most vulgar and outrageous rockabilly character I've ever met in my life. He'd say and do anything to shock you. I'd grown up on crude country jokes, but Hawk's sense of humor was unbelievable."

Levon Helm
on Ronnie Hawkins.

"I'll never forget the time I saw Ronnie in New York. Just a coupla country boys walking down Broadway, that was me and Ronnie. He would walk with one foot on the sidewalk and one off and say it was just like walking in the mountains. We had everybody looking at us like we were crazy, which we were at the time."

Dale Hawkins, cousin of Ronnie and writer of 'Suzie-Q'
on a trip to New York City with Ronnie.

"It happened in Arkansas, in my own home town. We came through there and stopped at this shitty motel. We'd been playing a fraternity and they paid some pretty good money, enough to stay at the motel and swim in their swimming pool. Pools at motels were a new thing back then. Anyway, I knocked on the door and asked if they had rooms. When they realized who we were, they went and got the owner who was the most redneck, reborn, conniving, lying mother that you ever saw in your life. He saw our rig out there and said, 'Oh we don't allow no musicians in this house, and would never allow any who play that rocky roller stuff.' So, I went and found an old friend of mine, a cat named Ken Brooks and was telling him about this motel. I was really mad. I was never rude to anybody in those days and went out of my way to be nice until some ignorant fucker kicked me or pushed me. Until then I'd be almost Jesus, except for the slap. I did not turn the other cheek after they hit me.

"For a joke, Kenny had collected 100 or 150 black water snakes in a couple of sacks. They were not cotton mouth moccasins, which are poisonous. These were just black water snakes, which are there by the billions. We loaded the car with them gunny sacks and waited 'til Sunday morning, then unloaded them into that pool. It was just full of snakes, and because the sides were steep, they could not get out. The chlorine made them sick, like they were swarming. They looked like killers.

"Anyway it was a sunny afternoon after church, and this big fat fucking lady in a bathing suit came out with her kids and a bunch of other women. They were all yapping like a load of bees on benzedrine. We were hid watching them as she walked out on that diving board. She bounced good and then looked into the pool, and, baby, a scream came out of that woman that would have made Tarzan sound like he was whispering when he was giving his call to the apes - she could've just walked off the board but panicked so much that she fell off into the pool when she saw those fucking snakes. That woman was swimming so fast, she was shitting herself, screaming, drowning, I mean there was some commotion. The cat came out of his motel with guns, bats, everything. The snakes were already sick. They weren't about to bite that fat bitch. He was on the phone and soon you heard sirens everywhere. It was like you were in downtown Manhattan. I never knew that Fayetteville, Arkansas, had so many sirens. Here came every police car that they had within a 50 mile radius. Then there was a fire department and all those volunteer mothers who don't get no money, but still get a siren. They were all there.

"I said to Kenny, 'It might be better if we are not here to answer any questions. Let's get the fuck out of here baby.' We were gone and that story made the front page of the 'Northwest Arkansas Times' newspaper. Nobody could figure out if somebody had put 'em in or if some mysterious growth had come out of this new pool."

Ronnie Hawkins
on the infamous snakes in the swimming pool affair.

"I guess I was 27 years old by then. I wouldn't have got married any other way. I just didn't want to break all those millions of hearts. The price of razor blades went up with all them little girls cutting their wrists."

Ronnie Hawkins
on the news of his 'secret' marriage being made public.

"I wanted to bring Ronnie back to America. Elvis was in the Army, Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran were dead. There was a vacuum, and I knew there was only one guy who could fill it. Not Jerry Lee, not Roy Orbison, not any of the rockers of the time. Ronnie was the one. He moved better than Elvis, sang better than Elvis, looked better than Elvis. When Ronnie was up and bucking and singing, the girls used to scream and go crazy. But he went back to Canada right when he was on the verge of universal acclaim, and we never saw him again. Just vanished. I tried, but he wouldn't come home. Loved Canada, he said. Broke my heart."

Morris Levy, of Roulette Records
on trying to convince Ronnie to set up base in the United States.

"On three separate times they offered me a million dollars to move to Nashville and go country. But I'm a rocker and I hate all that she-shit-in-my-left-saddle-bag-nasal-country stuff."

Ronnie Hawkins
on certain kinds of country music.

"I am a cross between Carl Perkins and Led Zeppelin."

Ronnie Hawkins
on himself.

"I don't know if you've ever tried to get a phone installed on a Sunday night? Once John and Yoko were there people came out and installed all these phones for them in the middle of the night. They even had a supervisor with them to give instructions. Yoko would be on two phones at once and John would be on two as well. Ron came down to the kitchen one night when he could not sleep. He caught John and Yoko in the peanut butter jar. They were digging into that peanut butter as if it was going out of style. You can be sure that was not on the microbiotic diet.

"One night we were downstairs watching television. John and Yoko went off to have a bath. After a while we heard a dripping sound, and when I went to check found it was water coming through the ceiling in the hallway. They had turned on the bath tub and fallen asleep. I'm sure that they must have smoked something and then passed out. We went upstairs and knocked on the door, but could not wake them. They were in our bedroom and I knew that the window did not lock real tight, so I figured that I could climb out onto the roof top, crawl along and get in through my bedroom window. I was standing there in the dark thinking about it and then decided I had better not. We kept banging on the door and hollering until finally they got up and turned it off. It was too late, though. The ceiling had already caved in by then. It was full of water and a complete disaster."

Wanda Hawkins
on the John Lennon/Yoko Ono stay with her and Ronnie in 1970.

"This track, 'Down In The Alley', came on and it really buzzed me. It sounded like now and then, and I like that."

John Lennon
on the Hawkins recording with Duane Allman, 'Down In The Alley'.

"For a long time I knew of Ronnie before he ever knew me. It seemed he was a sort of a farm club for Albert Grossman at that time. He had The Hawks - Levon Helm and Robbie Robertson. Then when I met Janis (Joplin), she was working with her Full Tilt Boogie Band which came from Ronnie Hawkins. He was a legend before I ever met him."

Kris Kristofferson
on The Hawk's legend.

"We'd heard bits of the legend before we ever met The Hawk. A vague, intriguing portrait of an Arkansas "Rocky-Roller" living in Canada who'd busted his way through the brass-knuckle days in some of the roughest clubs outside of Phoenix City ('you have to puke twice and show your razor to get in'), carving himself out an empire in some thirteen years North of the Border with muscle, music and the vastest sense of humor in the land, and leaving a string of more tall stories in his wake than Davy Crockett or Jerry Lee Lewis.

"Graduates of his school of Hard-Rock include a remarkable number of today's superstars (e.g. The Band, Full Tilt Boogie, et al, 'Hell, I begin to call my place Albert Grossman's Farm Club') who did their basic training under The Hawk's heavy wing before they left the limb to soar on their own. The working conditions are notorious: Seven days a week, five shows a night. ('These young pickers are spoiled; Hell, I give 'em sixty bucks a week and they don't even want to rehearse after the show.') Yet he consistently manages to put together some of the toughest Rock groups making music. His explanation: 'Son, when you've got as little talent as I do, you've gotta surround yourself with the biggies." Which is, of course, bullshit; but it shows his inability of unwillingness to take himself seriously (a characteristic uncommon to Living Legends).

"A dangerous fighter, a disarming fool, a loyal friend. One minute he looks as deadly as the devil, the next he's smiling as innocent as an Arkansas schoolboy. He wears all the faces well, combining backwoods cunning with a simple honesty not to be found north of the Mason-Dixon line.

"A legend's usually bigger than life, but he lives up to it with more purpose, intensity, and obvious pleasure than your run-of-the-mill hero. This energy flows over into his music, as you will hear on this album. There's more to the man, so stay tuned for whatever happens tomorrow."

Kris Kristofferson
'Rock & Roll Resurrection'
Ronnie Hawkins
Monument Records, 1972

"Now look Bob, you didn't invite me up to play with you, so I'm not inviting your ass to come and play with us."

Ronnie Hawkins
to Bob Dylan in 1974 at a Hawks' performance following a Dylan and The Band set in Toronto.

"I almost lost my band over Pat Travers. He had the spirit but he was so cocky. The rest of them couldn't understand why I let somebody like that into the band. Even Al Brisco couldn't handle him and he is the nicest, most easy-going cat. Pat was just a wild punk but I thought he had something."

Ronnie Hawkins
on allowing Pat Travers into The Hawks.

"Hawkins is a legend. We went over to Cajun's Wharf on Tuesday night and then again on Saturday. They set us up with a little table six feet from the amp. It was perfect. My wife had never met Ronnie but all of a sudden he saw us and came over and started propositioning her. It was chaos but she was tickled to death. When we went back on Saturday I must have seen a hundred people who I had been at school with in Fayetteville 25 years earlier."

Former Hawk, Jimmy Evans
after watching a 1982 Little Rock, Arkansas, gig.

"I told Ronnie that I didn't want to go with him. He wanted me to sit in with them but I didn't want to go to Springdale because they don't like colored folk up there. We drove up to the club door and this girl was waiting there. She told him that she did not like colored folk. Ronnie told her that he didn't care what she goddamn liked. He raised hell up there and didn't play that night at all. He wouldn't work for them people.

Later I was gonna go with him to Canada. I said that I would and had all my clothes packed. He came by in the car and asked if I was ready. I told him that I was and he said that we've got to drive out to the airport. He was in this Cadillac, driving 'round seeing everybody he knew. I thought he was driving that back to Canada. I said that I ain't going to no airport and I ain't flying. I'm not going on no airplane. Shit, no."

Fayetteville, Arkansas, blues musician, Jo Jo Thompson
on an earlier incident in Springdale, Arkansas, and Ronnie's proposal to come to Canada with him.

"You can't put two hillbillies in a Rolls Royce and not have something drastic things happen on live television. There were millions watching the show and the Prime Minister was in the front row. Everybody was watching this limousine, and the chauffeur was supposed to get out and walk 'round to open the car door for Ronnie. Then he was supposed to let me out. The car doors were all locked and the chauffeur could not get them free, so we were all stuck in the car. The band had probably played about 20 bars of 'Bo Diddley', although they were only meant to play eight bars to let us get out and start singing. I said, 'Ronnie, jump over the side.' He got up and was sliding over the side of the car when suddenly the door opened and took him with it. He had a tuxedo on, and it got ripped all the way down the side of his pants so that his rear end was hanging out. Then he reached over to let me out and the car door slammed shut on me. I was bruised from my hip down to my knee and could barely walk. Everybody was killing themselves laughing.

"We got over to the podium and were supposed to read from these cue cards, but Ronnie had forgotten his glasses so I had to help him read his lines. It was hysterical, and made the front page of the newspapers the next day. Both of us were pictured doubled up, him showing his backside and me hanging on to my leg. CBC received some letters over that."

Canadian country star Carroll Baker
on the 1983 Juno Awards ceremony, when Ronnie and Baker made their entrance to the stage in a Rolls Royce convertible.

"I hope the Canada Pops can play in E and A. I do 'Forty Days' and 'Bo Diddley'. I don't change songs, just bands."

Ronnie Hawkins
on his first performance with the Canada Pops Orchestra in February 1984.

"I haven't got into false eyelashes and panty hose yet. But for the right money I could be Girl Ronnie."

Ronnie Hawkins
on trying to compete with the likes of Boy George for the teen audience in 1984.

"I've spent 90% of my money on booze and broads. The other 10% I've squandered. I'm in so much debt that I've got bankers getting me gigs. They don't want anything to happen to me."

Ronnie Hawkins
on claiming to be bankrupt.

"I played The Rockwood Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas. In fact, I fought my way out of that place with Ronnie swinging. Yeah, Ronnie Hawkins is a fantastic singer, a great performer, and probably one of the finest guys I ever knew in my life. I love to be around him. I'd hitchhike to his house to sit and listen to Ronnie Hawkins. He is amazing. I've always wondered why he is not one of the biggest stars in the world."

Carl Perkins
on playing The Rockwood Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

"Wherever there are rock 'n' rollers, we'll play. That's what we've been doing for more than 30 years - rock 'n' roll. It's made me everything from an honorary mayor to honorary member of a motorcycle gang."

Ronnie Hawkins
The Ambassador of Rock 'n' Roll.

"The teenagers of the Fifties are now ruling the world."

Ronnie Hawkins
on Bill Clinton's election to President of The United States in 1992.

"Well he's seen enough to fill a book, but he don't have time to write.
He can't find an hour to put it down cos he's up and rocked all night.
He's an old rockin' outlaw that grew up on the blues,
Still reaching for that pot of gold to keep asking for them dues.
Buddy Hayes played and from Muddy Waters he learned a lick or two,
Trying to make his way from Arkansas, learning something new.
It only took him forty days to close down all the stills,
and to head off to those bright lights, pretty girls and all them pills.
That Memphis Sun never shone on him. He was playing Rock Roulette.
New York City never stopped to know. Your Hawk is rocking yet.
Looking for more good times, no complaints and no regrets
Still looking for more good times. Got to gamble, place your bets.
Ruby Baby is a grandma now. The Hawk's still rock 'n' roll.
He paid his dues and it would be a shame if his story wasn't told.
Cos he's seen those days of the promised land. Some say he's cheated fate.
He's rocked on the stage of the old Coq d'Or and he's walked through Heaven's Gate.
Went out to the West Coast for that golden chance.
Found all it was was a closing night and another southern dance
Still looking for more good times. And he will till he finds success.
Still looking for more good times, he gives them out and then he gets.

Mel Shaw, former manager of The Stampeders, a long-time admirer of Ronnie and The Hawks
Lyrics to a song Shaw wrote called 'Looking For More Good Times'.

"This is the song that took us from the hills and the stills, and put us on the pills."

Ronnie Hawkins
on the song 'Bo Diddley'.

"They just call and ask if I want to be in a film and I do if it sounds good. I don't take the heavy scripts as I don't want to overmatch myself. I've spent all my life in honky tonks and won't ever give up singing as long as we can draw a couple of people. Acting is easier than being a Geritol Gypsy, but it can be hard. I'm sure I've got Sir Laurence Olivier scared to death. He's taking acting lessons again."

Ronnie Hawkins
on his acting career.

"They can't find anybody in Hollywood good looking enough. Sean Penn and Jeff Bridges were too expensive and too ugly. Back in school, I could do all those back flips which Michael Jackson can't do yet. I was rockin' in 1957. Maybe they need to hire one of them Russian gymnasts to do the stunts."

Ronnie Hawkins
on the search to find someone to portray him in the as-yet-filmed movie 'Black Hawks Story'.

"Bill Clinton is a big music fan and they were trying to get as many Arkansas people together as possible. This was the party for the Clinton/Gore campaign staff. It was rather exclusive and took place in this fabulous museum building. The main floor was just standing room, but there were three levels in all. The VIP area for all the entertainers and the heroes was at the top. There were food stations - Tyson Foods, obviously. It was very Arkansas. I was invited to appear so Robin and Leah went with me. The Band backed me. It was quite exciting. Bob Dylan was there and so was Clinton's mother and his family. The President was to appear, but it got out of hand. There were only supposed to be 1200 people but 3500 or 4500 turned up. It was crammed and a real rock 'n' roll party. It was not a stuffy black tie affair. But they wouldn't let him come in because of the crush, for security reasons. It was just full of Arkansas people.

"The following night, the Blue Jean Bash occurred, hosted by Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson. Appearing were Dr. John, Stephen Stills and Fayetteville's own Cate Brothers. Two days later Don Tyson organized a private party in a Washington club. The Band and The Cate Brothers were there. Suddenly it was a good time to have been born and raised in Madison County, Arkansas. I got three letters from Bill Clinton himself. I'm getting them framed. It ain't everyday that I get an invite from the President of the United States."

Ronnie Hawkins
on the Blue Jean Bash and parties for Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1992.

"I don't know who's left to hear us. But if there are people who want the real thing, we've got it. My band rocks, and I plan to keep doing it 'till nobody shows up to see it anymore."

Ronnie Hawkins
on his first show in New York City in 30 years in 1994.

"It was pretty wild. We played in a giant carport with a dance floor. I was just in awe of all these people. We got over there too late to hear Waylon Jennings but I just sat and watched Willie Nelson, and the next night they had the Cate Brothers. These guys have done it all."

Hawk's guitarist Mike Eastman
on an Arkansas party to celebrate Ronnie's lifelong friend Don Tyson's 65th birthday.

"Them blue haired gals go for me. They can't resist a teenage idol."

Ronnie Hawkins
from a 1995 interview.

"Whereas, you are known as THE HAWK, you are, by definition and this declaration, from this day forward, designated an ENDANGERED SPECIES....
The Hawkins good humor, musicianship, generosity and longevity clearly establish and qualify him as a unique NATURAL RESOURCE of our State and Nation. As to his value, he is, therefore, PRICELESS."

Bill Clinton
President of The United States of America, 1995

"There isn't a Canadian musician or performer anywhere who doesn't owe a debt of gratitude to Ronnie Hawkins, because without him being who he was at the time, without his talent and effort and dedication to the cause of developing Canadians for stardom of their own, we probably wouldn't be where we are today."

Sylvia Tyson
on Ronnie's influence on Canadian music.

"Ronnie Hawkins, I would say, is, beyond a shadow of a doubt in my mind, one of the greatest kings of rock and roll."

Jerry Lee Lewis
on Ronnie Hawkins at Ronnie's 60th birthday concert.

"Ronnie is the guy who made it possible for Canadians to happen in America."

Burton Cummings, former leader of The Guess Who
on Ronnie's influence on Canadian music.

"Ronnie was a wild and crazy guy but he always had the best bands. He has always been as nice to me as a guy could be, but in those days the cat was dangerous. I am talking about capitol D dangerous. I mean if you were female or not on the right side of his personality, he was a seriously heavy guy. There were the infamous parties with I don't even want to repeat here. That cat was really partying and making things happen in Toronto. He was a mover and a shaker."

John Hammond
on Ronnie Hawkins.

"Hawk still calls me and I cancel stuff for him. He's able to con me into doing whatever he wants. One time he was planning a big concert in Toronto and trying to get The Beatles back together. He had Lennon and was trying to get Elvis in on the show as well. He called and asked me for Elvis' home phone number, which I didn't have, but he insisted that if anybody in the United States could get it for him, it would be me. So I rang Presley's producer, Felton Jarvis, and got the number, even though he swore he'd kill me if I gave it out. Ronnie even called Elvis, who wished him well and told him that he was a big fan of his but that it would have to be cleared through the Colonel."

Fred Carter, Jr.
on Ronnie Hawkins.

"I spent a lot of time in California, played guitar in the first Muppet movie, and even auditioned for Frank Zappa, but playing for Ronnie Hawkins was the most fun."

Ernie Corallo
on playing for Ronnie.

" 'The bigtime for you is just around the corner.' They told me that first in 1952 - boy, it's been a long corner. If I don't hit the bigtime in the next 25 or 30 years, I'm gonna pack in the music business and become a full-time gigolo."

Ronnie Hawkins
Since 1952.

"It's Saturday night. Let's get drunk."

Ronnie Hawkins
The Workin' Girls' Favorite,
The Housewives' Companion,
The First and Last of the Teenage Idols.