Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Bad Day For Country Music

Nowadays, if anyone can even place the name Hawkshaw Hawkins, it's only for one reason. Hawkins and Cowboy Copas were the other two country singers killed in the same plane crash that killed Patsy Cline on the evening of March 5, 1963. The three singers were returning to Nashville after performing at a benefit concert in Kansas City.

Hawkshaw Hawkins, who was from Huntington, West Virginia, was born Harold Frankin Hawkins in 1921. Hawkins served in the military during World War II before his singing career took off when he joined the cast of the Wheeling Jamboree in 1946. A recording contract with King Records in Cincinnati followed and produced his first top 10 country hits, "Pan American" and "Dog House Boogie". Hawkins recorded for RCA, Columbia and then King again up until the time of his death. In late 1962, Hawkins recorded "Lonesome 7-7203" for King. After his death, it would become his only number one hit.

Although Hawkins wasn't a star on the level of Cline, he doesn't deserve the "also died in the crash" status that is often pinned upon him. At the time of his death, Hawkins was married to Grand Ole Opry member Jean Shephard who had a succesful career run from the early 1950's until the mid 1970's and who still performs on the Opry today.

Here is Hawkins performing "Car Hoppin' Mama". And, to add just a tad bit of levity to this entry, there is no truth to the rumor Vince Vaughn is going to play Hawkins if and when a biopic is made about him.

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