Ronnie Hawkins, musician and mentor of The Band, dead at 87

Ronnie Hawkins, musician and mentor of The Band, dead at 87

Ronnie Hawkins, musician and mentor of The Band, dead at 87

Robbie Robertson, the one-time fellow member of The Band, has announced the death of the founder, musician and mentor Ronnie Hawkins.

The 87-year-old Hawkins is understood to have passed away on Sunday, May 29, although no details have been provided of how or where he died. Hawkins had suffered from pancreatic cancer but was believed to have been cured.

Robertson posted on their Facebook page, “The story of The Band began with Ronnie Hawkins. He was our mentor. He taught us the rules of the road.

“Ronnie was the godfather. The one who made this all happen. He had us rehearsing constantly into the wee hours. We baulked about it, but we got better and better. Our goal whether we knew it or not.”

The Hawks disbanded when the majority of the members left to form The Band, who ultimately went on to play as the backing group for Bob Dylan.

Hawkins carried on as a session musician, composer and talent scout achieving significant success writing for amongst others Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, John and Yoko Lennon.

In 2002, October 4 was declared “Ronnie Hawkins Day” by the city of Toronto as he was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame

Robertson finished with a tribute to the great man saying: “He was not only a great artist, a tremendous performer and bandleader but had a style of humour unequalled. Fall down funny and completely unique. Yep, God only made one of those. And he will live in our hearts forever.”

Ronnie Hawkins will be remembered for his voice his leadership and for his work in working with developing many great bands and artists.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at