Alan Hawkshaw wins the Gold Badge Award:

Congratulations HAWK! Well deserved.
All at KPM.

Gold Badge Awards

Happy memories Alan. Many congratulations on this well-deserved award.
Sir Cliff Richard

Alan Hawkshaw, the undisputed king of library music. It is most rare in our complex world of music, to come across such a great musician/composer and arranger who, to this day, retains such professionalism and exuberance not only for his own excellence, but for his peers also, in his chosen career. The Hawk (as he is fondly known) is certainly 'up there' with the best, and I am most fortunate to count him as being one of my closest friends and colleagues over the years.
Continued success my dear friend.
Les Reed OBE.FCL (London)

The Rolling Stones on The Checkmates:

"I think they are great, and after continually watching their act night after night, I still find them amusing, their pianist Al Hawkshaw is fantastic!"
Bill Wyman

"One of the most colourful and varied acts we have had the pleasure of working with - great!"
Mick Jagger

barbra streisandJay-Zserge gainsbourgmo'hawkthe original checkmates

Big Al has been a friend and a major musical force for as long as I can remember and he hasn't peaked yet. I have heard some of the gems from his new musical theatre venture and as the great Al Jolson used to say - you ain't heard nothing yet.
Don Black

"Alan was my first choice keyboard player when I became a freelance arranger in 1965. He was not only a good reader, but his sense of time was great for 'pop/commercial' records and he always managed to add something fresh to the written part...

Forty years ago Alan developed a very distinctive 'funky' percussive style of playing the Hammond organ, which is still much admired (and sampled) today. You can get lucky in the music business for a while, but only talent will sustain that success for a lifetime".
Keith Mansfield

"I first met 'The Hawk' in 1960 when I produced my debut top 5 hit for Pye Records - Emile Ford's 'Counting Teardrops'. 'Big Al' was the piano player with The Checkmates, Emile's backing group and he managed to keep me sane on that session. Always one of my favourite keyboard players, we've worked and socialized together many times ever since. Thanks, Al, for not only being a great musicianwith a wicked sense of humour but also for the long friendship we've enjoyed".
Tony Hatch

"27 Top TV Themes" - "Any platter touched by the hand of The Hawk gets a good deal of attention these days. This is one that is well deserving of such demand. It contains a lot of excellent cheesy funk-ups, mostly in medley format, of generally up-tempo TV tunes. Nice! Brian Bennett on the skins, Ray Davies parping his horn and Hawkshaw grinding away at the keys: what else do you want? Jam on it?"

So let us tell you about Mr Alan Hawkshaw: He’s the undisputed king of Library music composers and is responsible for a wealth of TV and movie theme tunes, namely The Channel 4 news tune, Countdown, the Cadbury’s milk tray advert, and of course the theme tune to Grange Hill. We owe a lot to this man. Download and love.
From: We Are Not A Rockband

"As a result, one Alan Hawkshaw showed up, and from that first session, I knew why he was the 'guvnor' keyboardist in the UK - piano, organ, if it had keys, he could make them sing. What he also became, was a great songwriter and composer of numerous scores for television, and his theme for Channel Four News remains to this day a classic. You only need to hear the opening notes, and you know where you are.

Our careers and friendship has now probably spanned upwards of 35 years - not bad considering I may never have gotten to know Big Al if I hadn't started my sessions at 8 a.m"
Jeff Wayne

“Congratulations Hawk. ‘I Honestly Love You’…I must say you played so beautifully on that track.”
Love and light, Olivia (Newton-John)

Book Mentions

"As indicated by my birth certificate, my dad was primarily involved in the music industry. it was during 'Jokers Wild' that he met Clive Dunn and recorded 'Grandad'. He and his partner Alan Hawkshaw (who signs his emails 'Hawk') were writing and recordings songs. I met Alan when I was about thirteen. He's a hilarious character. My dad, my sister and I went to his enormous house in Hertfordshire. Music had been good to the Hawk, one piece of music in particular. He wrote a thirty-second tune that made him a fortune. Can you guess it?

Here's a clue...Its exactly thirty seconds long Here's another...Du-du...Du-Du...De-de-de-de...Boom!

Yes, that's right, Countdown (I actually met Carol Vorderman once in a lift. i got in and she was standing at the numbers and asked me, "What floor?" If I couldn't make a joke in these circumstances, I'm in the wrong business. "One from the top and four from anywhere please Carol.') Those thirty seconds netted the Hawk a fortune. His house had its own recording studio, swimming pool, snooker room. He gets paid every time it's played, that's every weekday at about 4.56pm. He actually gets paid by the second, so the longer it takes for people to guess the conundrum, the more money he makes.

You can imagine him in the eighties, turning on the telly at 4.55pm., hoping the contestants can't decipher the conundrum so that he can afford a better holiday.

Countdown aficionados (judging by the number of adverts they have for Tena Lady in the break, Countown is mainly watched by women who pee in their pants) will know that if the contestant buzzes in to guess the conundrum, the clock stops. If they correctly identify the jumbled-up nine-letter word, the game is over. However, if they get it wrong, the clock restarts, which means more money for Alan. You can only imagine the excitement in the Hawk household, whooping and cheering when they guess incorrectly, wild applause, back-slapping and champagne corks popping when the tune reaches its 'De-de-de-de...Boom' climax.

My sister and I loved Alan as soon as we met him. He was a charming and personable man. Within moments of our arriving, he sat at his grand piano and dramatically played various TV themes he had written that we might recognize, including the Grange Hill theme. It's wonderful to see someone so proud of their work, and I have to say his rendition of Countdown was one of the most moving thirty seconds of my life. We drove for a pub lunch in his new Japanese sports car, in which he played all his own music, announcing, 'I only ever listen to my own music in the car'.

As the pub was about ten minutes away, I remember thinking, 'I'm glad he has an extensive canon of work-otherwise we'd have to listen to Countdown twenty times back to back'. So Alan and my dad were writing music and producing records in the sixties and seventies"

Michael McIntyre

Michael McIntyre

Carol Vorderman

"Right from the start, everyone had a view about the Countdown theme tune, written especially for the programme by the seasoned television composer Alan Hawkshaw. But Alan had almost said no to one of the most lucrative commissions in TV history. The station's head of music, Keith Morgan, had asked him to write it. He was busy with Arthur C. Clarke's new series, but said he could just about manage to squeeze it in. With only a few weeks left until we were in the studio, after hearing nothing, Keith rang Alan to remind him about the theme tune.

Alan told him it was coming along nicely - without admitting that he hadn't actually started working on it properly. Now, with next to no time to write it, he had to come up with something fast. He went to the toilet and

started writing the theme tune there and then.

Years later, he told us that this was how he'd found the inspiration for the cheerful piddly-piddly-ping at the end as he sat on his enamel throne!

This was a Hawkshaw technique employed many times. He wrote the tunes to Grange Hill and the Dave Allen comedy series on the same toilet seat and the music for Channel 4 News in his bath. Putting them all down on paper later on, as it were.

It was this theme tune - complete with Alan's toilet tinkling at the end - which played out at 4.45 p.m. on 2 November 1982"

Carol Vorderman