Airdate – May 15, 2022
In 1957, a pioneering rockabilly singer/songwriter released a tune that captured the hearts of mainstream America. This rhythm guitarist is often referred to as the architect of “swamp rock boogie” which was prominent in Louisiana.
In 2008 at the age of 70, two years before his passing, he was the opening act for one of the greatest 50s shows ever to play in Vancouver at the Centre for Performing Arts.
He opened that show with his 1957 hit and had the people standing thirty seconds into his performance. It’s no wonder, as his song was chosen as one of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that shaped Rock & Roll …
Our featured artist began recording in 1956 and was heavily influenced by Elvis Presley and Presley’s guitarist, Scotty Moore. He also claims to have performed at the Apollo Theatre in July 1957, one month before Buddy Holly did.
However, his talents were not just writing and performing. After hosting his own teen dance party in Philadelphia, Pa, he became a record producer garnering success with Joe Stampley & The Uniques’ “Not Too Long Ago,” the Five Americans’ “Western Union,” and Bruce Channel’s “Hey! Baby.”
His 1957 breakout recording has been covered by many artists over the years, including the Rolling Stones, the Trashmen, Johnny Rivers, Bobby Vee, Jose Feliciano, the Everly Brothers and his first cousin, Ronnie Hawkins.
However, the most successful cover and the one that this classic song is most commonly associated with is the 1968 version by Creedence Clearwater Revival and it too was their breakout record.
What more of tribute could you give to swamp rocker Dale Hawkins, other than to say, “Thanks for “Susie-Q,” we love you,” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.
YouTube video of this song: