William Jones

Biography by

Not to be confused with many other people named William Jones in the music business, this one was an early rocker who, although actually one of the Hawks, has been repeatedly passed off after the fact…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

Not to be confused with many other people named William Jones in the music business, this one was an early rocker who, although actually one of the Hawks, has been repeatedly passed off after the fact as one of the Band. That seems to be typical procedure in the case of musicians who backed up Ronnie Hawkins in the old days. In this case, that quaint expression indicates the late '50s and very early '60s, although Hawkins' own biographical comments in interviews such as "my body is as old as Hitler and twice as ugly" makes the matter sound much more severe.

Jones switched between bass and piano during sessions with Hawkins as part of a contract with Roulette circa 1959. The revolving cast on these recordings, some of them hits, went pretty well uncredited at the time of original LP release. Later sets of compact discs such as The Roulette Years attempt to set matters straight. There is a distinct commercial advantage to doing so when so many sidemen have gone on to greater fame, including pianist Floyd Cramer as well as the Band itself. The comings and goings of accompanists was a subject that Hawkins could talk about at length, even concocting a list of reasons to get rid of the pesky varmints. Once the recording group included drummer Levon Helm, reissue producers whose philosophical model must be the character Greedo began identifying the backup unit as the Band, even when players such as Jones were still present.