Hawkshaw Hawkins Biography

Harold Franklin Hawkins, 22 December 1921, Huntingdon, West Virginia, USA, d. 5 March 1963, Camden, Tennessee, USA. Hawkins started on guitar but became proficient on many instruments. Success in a talent contest in 1937 led to paid work on radio stations in Huntingdon and Charleston. In 1942, he performed on radio in Manila when stationed in the Philippines. After his discharge, he signed with King Records and did well with ‘Sunny Side Of The Mountain’, which became his signature tune. He was a regular member of the WWVA’s Wheeling Jamboree from 1946-54, which he left to join the Grand Ole Opry. In 1948 he became one of the first country artists to appear on network television. He had US country hits with ‘Pan American’, ‘I Love You A Thousand Ways’, ‘I’m Just Waiting For You’ and ‘Slow Poke’.

The tall, handsome country singer married fellow artist Jean Shepard, and they lived on a farm near Nashville where Hawkins bred horses. Their first son, Don Robin, was named after their friends Don Gibson and Marty Robbins. In 1963 Hawkins released his best-known recording, Justin Tubb’s song ‘Lonesome 7-7203’. The song entered the US country charts three days before Hawkins died on 5 March 1963 in the plane crash that also claimed Patsy Cline and Cowboy Copas. ‘Lonesome 7-7203’ was his only number 1 record in the US country charts. Shepard was pregnant at the time and their son was named Harold Franklin Hawkins II in his memory.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.