Hawkins, whose full name was Delmar Allen “Dale” Hawkins, was considered the architect of “swamp rock boogie” and recorded his first hit in 1956 with a 15-year-old guitarist by the name of James Burton.

One of Hawkin’s more well-known accomplishments was writing the song “Susie Q.” His own version of the tune climbed up the charts in 1957, and was covered by bands like The Rolling Stones and Creedence Clearwater Revival as well as by Gene Vincent and Lonnie Mack.

“I wrote that little guitar lick when I was 14,” Burton said, according to the Shreveport Times. “It got to be so pop in the club that Dale decided to write some lyrics to it and that became ‘Susie Q.’”

Hawkins recorded more than 40 songs for the Chess record label and was the third artist to appear on “American Bandstand.”

Hawkins is also credited as being the first white performer to appear at the Cotton Club in Harlem and the Regal in Chicago.

He also had a famous musician cousin – Ronnie Hawkins – who watched his own group of backing musicians go on to success in during the 1960s under the moniker The Band.

“Dale and I played at the and the House of Blues at Jazzfest in New Orleans last year,” Burton said. “He was in great shape then, he was singing great and jumping all over the stage. He was in rare form.”

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