Acclaimed and garlanded session drummer ROGER HAWKINS died on Thursday 20th May. He was 75 and died after what was described as “an extended illness; the drummer suffered from numerous illnesses later in life, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”
Hawkins was a key member of the famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm section, often referred to as “the Swampers”. The band, with Hawkins deep in the engine room, played on countless hits maybe most notably Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect,’ Wilson Pickett’s ‘Mustang Sally,’ and Percy Sledge’s ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’. He also contributed to recordings by people like Bob Seger, Clarence Carter, The Staples Singers, Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Steve Winwood, Otis Redding, James Brown, Etta James, Levon Helm, Bobby Bland and Alicia Keys and soul buffs will revere his work with many lesser-known soul singers, all seeking that magical Muscle Shoals sound.
The Muscle Shoals Music Foundation posted the news of Hawkins death thus: “Our hearts are breaking today as the heartbeat of ‘The Swampers’ drummer Roger Hawkins passed away this afternoon at his home in Sheffield”. In tribute Jerry Wexler simply said, “Roger, the greatest drummer of all time.”.