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Alan Hawkshaw

Related: British music - lounge - library music


Alan Hawkshaw is a composer and performer, particularly of themes for movies and television programmes. He is also the father of dance artist Kirsty Hawkshaw.

In the United States, he also scored a number 1 single on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart with "Here Comes That Sound Again" as part of Love De-Luxe With Hawkshaw's Discophonia in 1979.--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan Hawkshaw

The undisputed king of Library music composers

Alan Hawkshaw is probably the undisputed king of Library music composers, with many, many funky gems to his credit, as well as a whole stack of ultra-familiar, yet largely crap TV tunes like the themes to Countdown and Grange Hill. As with many session players, regular stints in the studio for Chappell, DeWolfe and KPM were but a mildly profitable sideline to the serious business of paid sessions and the odd tour in a proper band, and Hawkshaw went through all of these phases in his time.

In the very early 60's he started off in the very steady middle of the road outfit Emile Ford and the Checkmates who had previously had hits with slush like 'Slow Boat To China'. Poor little Alan, having to pump that rubbish out, but he stuck with it way up until '67! Session work was to be his salvation, and a reputation as an organ grinder supreme was quickly build, as he hooked up with arranger Keith Mansfield for a good spell in the latter part of the decade, pumping out keyboard lines for the whole roster of chart acts under Mansfield's wing. During this time he also came into acquaintance with the sometime Shadows drummer Brian Bennett. This lead to the unlikely spectacle of the Shads boasting a chunky Hammond sound on their tours of 1968 when guitarist Bruce Welsh quit and left poor Hank high and dry, and The Hawk stepped in. Around this time the sessions took place that resulted in the now legendary Mohawks issues. Essentially intended for library use, they surfaced on the Pama label in 1968 in the midst of the ska craze of the time. During the early part of the 70's Hawkshaw got his regular payday once more from The Shadows between sessions for anyone from Serge Gainsbourg to Olivia Newton John and a semi-permanent gig with the dreaded Cliff himself (is that The Hawk on 'Devil Woman' we wonder!) Thankfully he is still active in the world of TV orchestration today and will now and again pop up with the score to the odd ITV drama or some such, but you wouldn't find much funky Hammond action on them.

Ahh, The Mohawks "The Champ" (Pama 1968)...before you start hollering, 'fraid this is the early 90's reissue as The Vulture has not been blessed with the fortune of finding an original pressing of this sought-after item ! For me, apart from "The Champ", The Hawk is at his strongest on the tracks licenced from KPM, namely "Senior Thump", "Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde", "Rocky Mountain Roundabout" and the legendary "Beat Me Till I'm Blue" (a slightly different version from the KPM album) - all excellent and defintely the pick from the album....do I need to say Highly Recommended....c'mon !! --http://www.vinylvulture.co.uk/pages/lounge4.htm

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