Sad news to report today: George Hawkins, Jr. has passed away after battling cancer for the past year. The bassist and vocalist was a seasoned member of the music community and worked with artists ranging from Jimmy Reed to Roger Waters to Michael McDonald, who shared his grief on Facebook.
“Today I’m wrestling with the sad news that one of my favorite people I’ve ever worked with, George Hawkins has passed,” McDonald wrote. “He was a consummate musician in heart and mind. A great vocalist, with a wicked sense of humor, … and (he’d be mad [at] me if I didn’t mention) a ‘handsome devil!’ Lol! My thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones.”
Born and raised in California, Hawkins got his first big gig in 1976 as bassist for the Loggins and Messina Band, playing on their “Farewell” tour and subsequent 1977 album Finale. After the band split, Loggins hired him for his solo band. “A fantastic band and one of the happiest periods of my life – very creative and formative years that will stay with me for the rest of my life,” he told David Oberman in an interview. He would perform on Loggins’s first three studio albums – Celebrate Me Home, Nightwatch, and Keep the Fire – plus the live 1980 record Kenny Loggins Alive.
The ’80s brought work with the members of Fleetwood Mac, starting with Mick Fleetwood’s project called The Zoo. He then played on the track “Trouble” for Lindsey Buckingham’s Law and Order album, later playing on Christine McVie’s solo albums Christine McVie and In the Meantime. He also recorded and toured with Al Jarreau, Billy Burnette, David Sanborn, Rickie Lee Jones, Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs, and Dan Fogelberg during this time.
Hawkins released his own album, Every Dog Has Its Day, in 1996. He continued to work in the ’90s and beyond with Delbert McClinton as well as Japan’s Eikichi Yazawa. He was scheduled for a three-month tour of Asia with Yazawa before he was diagnosed.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of George Hawkins, Jr.