Swamp Rock Boogie
Delmar Allen “Dale” Hawkins was one of those artists who combined a number of different genres. Hawkins was called the architect of swamp rock boogie, because he used a rock and roll style à la Elvis Presley plus the heavy blues sound from his native Louisiana. “Susie Q” features signature riffs and solo from fellow guitarist James Burton, who played with Elvis, Ricky Nelson, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and many more. The high percussion in the song is not a cymbal, not a cowbell, but a metal ashtray from the radio station office in Shreveport, Louisiana, where Hawkins made the recording. In 1957, the song went to #7 on Billboard’s Hot R&B Sides and #27 on the Hot 100 Chart. “Susie Q” is one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.” Hawkins also hosted a teen dance party, The Dale Hawkins Show, in Philadelphia.
There have been numerous covers of the song. Creedence Clearwater Revival had a cover of “Susie Q” in 1968, and their version went to #11 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, #9 on Cash Box, and #10 in Canada. Other versions include those by The Rolling Stones, Susie Quatro, Jose Feliciano, The Everly Brothers, Bobby McFerrin, Johnny Rivers, and The Astronauts. The cover by Flash Cadillac & The Continental Kids was used in the soundtrack of the 1979 film Apocalypse Now.