Boston Band Crush Archived Article: New Wave Ukelele Crush: Greg Hawkes

This article originally appears on Boston Band Crush ). As I had mentioned in my earlier post about the 1/8 show at Great Scott, Greg Hawkes was in attendance. He is, of course, most famous for essentially defining the focus and purpose of radio-friendly, new-wavey keyboard hooks with his band The Cars from 1977-1987 (transmutated fairly recently into The New Cars, including Todd Rundgren as frontperson).

Greg was an absolutely kind and delightful person, and he told me a bit about some of his newer musical interests and endeavors. In addition to playing sometimes with Flo and Eddie (known to many as driving force of The Turtles), Greg has become enamoured with the ukulele. In fact, he recently released an album of Beatles songs performed on multitracked ukuleles called The Beatles Uke. The album is full of interesting, but true arrangements of the songs.

Here is a cute little video for “Eleanor Rigby”

The web site Midnight Ukulele Disco has a bunch of videos of Greg singing and playing songs originally by The Cars (and others) on ukulele. Here is an infinitely lovely performance of “My Best Friend’s Girl” (other songs are in the menu below the video) performed on 4 ukuleles by Greg Hawkes, Tim Mann, Craig Robertson, and Karen Langlie. Good stuff!

Just to round things out, here’s Greg and The Cars performing “Just What I Needed” at Live Aid in 1985. Benjamin Orr, who passed away in 2000, sings lead on this song.