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Dale Hawkins of Susie Q fame dies at 73

Thursday, February 18, 2010 – Rockabilly singer Dale Hawkins, best known for his 1957 swamp rock hit Susie Q, died Saturday in Little Rock, Ark. at 73 of colon cancer.

The song was known by a variety of titles, including Susie-Q, Suzy-Q and others. Among the bands who recorded the song were Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Rolling Stones.

Then 15-year-old James Burton played guitar. He would later go onto fame with Elvis Presley.

Hawkins apparently was forced to share songwriting credits with Stan Lewis, who owned a record shop in Shreveport, La., and aided Hawkins' career, and E. Broadwater, a pseudonym for Nashville DJ Gene Nobles. Hawkins lost out on royalty payments as a result.

Despite the success of the song, Hawkins claimed he never received money for the song until MCA bought the Chess Records catalogue in 1985. Hawkins recorded for Chess.

Hawkins was born Aug. 223, 1936 in Gold Mine, La. His father and other family members were musicians, who toured Oklahoma and Arkansas in the 1930s and 1940s.

Hawkins formed a band shortly after serving in the Korean War. He recorded for Checker, a subsidiary of Chess Records. He later became a record producer, overseeing such acts as Bruce Channel and the Five Americans, whose Western Union was a 1967 hit.

In 1999, just in time for his first appearance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Hawkins released his first album of new material in 30 years, "Wildcat Tamer" (Mystic).

Hawkins also opened a crisis center for teens in Little Rock. He was treated from a prescription drug addiction in the 1980s. Hawkins battled colon cancer for about four years.

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