In the '60 and '70s, Hawkins was the central figure of a richly creative Ottawa-based music scene. His fugitive pickup bands included Bruce Cockburn, David Wiffen, Colleen Peterson, Amos Garrett, Darius Brubeck, and Sneezy Waters. The personnel in William's bands constantly shifted and re-formed, according to circumstance and the vagaries of who happened to be in town.
The bands were called The Children (with a nucleus of Cockburn, Wiffen, Wells, Waters, Sandy Crawley and Richard Patterson) and Heavenly Blue - and, once, on the occasion of the Queen's centennial visit to Ottawa, The Occasional Flash, playing before Her Majesty at Lansdowne Park. The New Heavenly Blue performed Bill's music for Pierre Elliott Trudeau's victory party in 1968, and for the National Film Board of Canada's release of Christopher's Movie Matinee. Bill's songs began to get around.
They opened for Gordon Lightfoot's tour, The Beach Boys in Ottawa, and the Lovin' Spoonful at Maple Leaf Gardens. "It's a Dirty Shame," The Esquires' version, was regional number one hit. Songs were recorded by Tom Rush, Brent Titcomb, and Three's A Crowd.
In September 2008, the CD Dancing Alone, songs of William Hawkins was released by True North Records under the musical supervision of Ian Tamblyn and the support of Harvey Glatt. This exceptional recording interprets Hawkins' music and the lineup brings together two generations of Canada´s best folk, blues, jazz and country artists. Check out the who's talking page for reviews.
William Hawkins' 60s band, The Children, release their first album on June 18, 2013. The Children never released an album in their two–year career, yet they left behind a rich legacy of live and demo recordings. "Time Capsule: The Unreleased 1960s Masters" is on the True North Records label. Listen to CBC All in a Day interview to hear what Bill, Sneezy and Neville think about digging up the past.
In 2015, Gwendal Cavelier & the Cosmic Cannibals discovered the line Cosmic Cannibal from Bill's poem Weather Report from Dancing Alone: Selected Poems. Listen to the song Weather Report inspired by the poem!