Dale Hawkins Susie-Q

Original 45rpm Vinyl Record Memories.

From radio and jukebox hits of early dawn to the rock-n-roll LP classics that brought music to the masses, Dale Hawkins Susie-Q will showcase another original vinyl record classic from the Chess LP album 1429.

In 1957, Dale Hawkins was playing clubs in Shreveport, Louisiana, and although his music was influenced by Elvis and the guitar sounds of Scotty Moore, Hawkins blended that with the heavy blues sound of black Louisiana artists for the recording of his swamp-rock classic, "Susie-Q."

Meet Miss Susie-Q and the original vinyl recording from 1957.

In addition, Hawkins' music in the fifties took notice of the blues musicians he admired, such as Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. These influences can be heard in his combination of rockabilly, blues, and R&B styles, which were hallmarks of the music he created. Hawkins' Susie-Q vinyl record classic is considered his best known recording. 

Dale Hawkins Susie-Q

Susie-Q guitar classic 45rpm record.

"Susie-Q" is best known for its catchy guitar riff and bluesy style and was a moderate success at the time of its release in May 1957.

Fellow Louisiana guitarist and future Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, James Burton, a teenager at the time, provided the signature guitar riff and solo. 

And it's the Susie-Q title cut that makes this album a classic. Hawkins wrote the song with bandmate Robert Chaisson, but when released, Stan Lewis, the owner of Jewel/Paula Records and whose daughter Susan was the inspiration for the song, and Eleanor Broadwater, the wife of Nashville DJ Gene Nobles, were credited as co-writers to give them shares of the royalties.

Dale Hawkins Susie-Q was cut at the KWKH Radio station in Shreveport, Louisiana, however, sometime after the recording, the master tape of "Susie-Q" was sold to Checker Records in Chicago, which released it as a 45 RPM single.

Why No Record Credit For James Burton?

The explosive guitar riff supplied by James Burton, one of rock's first superstar guitarists, and the gong of a cowbell at the song's beginning of  Susie-Q (the title was also sometimes rendered as "Susie-Q," "Suzy-Q" and other variations; neither Hawkins nor his record company was consistent) reached #27 on the Billboard chart. Over the years the song has proven it should have placed higher on the charts.

James Burton and Elvis

The song's title seems to have come from a dance craze of the mid-1930s. A song called "Doin' the Susi-Q" was included in the Cotton Club Revue of 1936.

Burton has stated on multiple occasions that he composed the music to "Susie-Q," initially as an instrumental, but was not given a co-writing credit or share of the publishing. The Dale Hawkins Susie-Q original version is also included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll." The song features a repetitive and infectious guitar riff, which became its trademark. It has been covered by numerous artists over the years, testifying to its enduring appeal.

James Burton has played with many notable artists over the years, including Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis, and John Denver. His guitar work on "Susie-Q" is widely recognized as a significant contribution to the song's success. Listen to the original Dale Hawkins Susie-Q recording from 1957 and see if you might agree.

CCR from 1968 Gets Our Vote For Best Susie-Q Cover

There have been several successful covers of the song "Susie-Q" by other artists. The most notable cover version was by Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) in 1968. CCR's rendition became a huge hit, reaching #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Their version of "Susie-Q" helped popularize the song and introduced it to a new generation of listeners. They went on to become one of the biggest bands of the late '60s and early '70s thanks to a string of hits written by their leader, John Fogerty.

CCR Susie-Q classic remake of original 45rpm record.

John Fogerty said that when he heard Burton's Susie-Q riff for the first time, he was in his mother's car and got very excited. "I went crazy and immediately began banging on the dashboard."

This is one of the few Creedence songs where vocals of band members besides John Fogerty are heard. You can hear his bandmates in the second part of the song. "Susie Q" was their only single not written or co-written by Fogerty to reach the Top 40.

Thanks to this song, girls named Susie are often nicknamed "Susie-Q."

What is Swamp-Rock Music?

Swamp Rock Susie-Q guitar classic riff from 1957.

Swamp-rock is a subgenre of rock music that combines elements of blues, rockabilly, and Cajun music, often with a swampy, atmospheric sound. It originated in the southern United States, particularly in Louisiana.

While Dale Hawkins was associated with the swamp-rock sound, "Susie-Q," although it has blues and rockabilly influences, is not considered a prototypical swamp-rock song.

However, it is often referenced as one of the early influences on the genre.

Dale Hawkins died in Little Rock, Arkansas on Feb 13, 2010...He was 73.

You might also like these stories...

Ever thought of having your own website? I built Vinyl Record Memories "from scratch" with SoloBuildIt! Click below to find out more....

Enjoy this page? Share it with your friends!

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Top of Page
Top of Page

Vinyl Record Memories
(VIP Club)

Become a member - FREE to Join.

A Little Bit of Nostalgia in your inbox each month.

FREE  To  Join

Popular Articles

Golden Oldies

A Sentimental Journey Back in Time.

Doo-Wop Originals

Your Personal Time Machine to Youth & Innocence.

Best Oldies Cover Songs

Remakes of Favorite Oldies where the Best Version isn't always the First Version.

Flooded With Memories...

Danny, I could not believe the content of your website. It is just amazing to recall so much we lived through just by checking out so many old posters & album covers.

Your site floods me with memories & reinforces my belief that it truly was a great time to be a teenager. Good work, Danny, please stick with it.

Sincerely Dale

An Old Song
A New Friend

"I don't usually contact doo wop article authors as I rarely find much value in the articles, but your article struck me as sincere, genuine and respectful."

Tom Sokira,
Producer, Audio Engineer
"In The Still Of The Night" (1956)

Read the story here.

"Duke of Earl" Homecoming

I just read your article on Duke of Earl/Vee Jay Records. My father was Randy Wood, President of Vee Jay at the time.

I'm doing some research on the company and am learning how influential Vee Jay was in shaping the future of music.  Nice to see your web page.

Michele Marotta
February 15, 2015

Read the Duke of Earl story.

A kind reply
From a grateful family.

Danny, I think you did a great job and my family enjoyed it as well. I have had some more time to go through your site and find it to be fantastic, and your personal story is great as well. 

You truly are a blessing to all of Us. Thanks for sharing your memories with us. I look forward to seeing and hearing more from you.

Paul Giacalone

The song "You Were Mine" was written by Paul Giacalone. Read the story here.

A True Story...
"Darling Lorraine"

Danny, Great job !!!! I can't express enough how much my mother would have been so happy with your work on her song. As for myself and the rest of my family, we really appreciate your time & effort to let everyone who is interested in her song know the true story behind it.  Read more...

Thanx so much, Bob

Memories, Memories

"Thank you so much for all the work you have done on these pages.  I found my way here, and spent the next two hours in absolute bliss. Memories, memories...thank you for rekindling them."

Bob Douglass,

One Classic After Another...

Thanks for an excellent musical experience. I found your website by accident and just kept enjoying one classic after another. Great job! Like yourself, I'm still enjoying my vinyl collection. We share many of the same favorite artists.

Regards, Jim Miles

Keeping Old Vinyl Music Alive.

Congratulations on an outstanding site. I am from old school. I was 13 when Rock & Roll erupted in 1955. I would literally run home from school to watch Bandstand every day. I lived outside Philly and grew up with all the Philadelphia music scene and its performers. Keep up the good work and I thank you for your time and effort in keeping the old vinyl music alive for us and future generations.

Bill Moore,
Lugoff, SC
Deceased 2020

Bill was our first newsletter subscriber.
Rest easy, my friend.

Can't Afford to Retire?

Online Retirement Business with FREE mini course.

Here's a solution to keep both your mind and budget happy!

More Details Here