Monday, December 22, 2008

Cars keyboardist records Beatles tribute CD

The Beatles Uke

by Greg Hawkes

Greg Hawkes is paying tribute to The Beatles almost 45 years after they enticed him to get into the music business.

The famed keyboardist and co-founder of The Cars, said everything musically begins and ends with the Fab Four.

My first concert was seeing the Beatles in 1964,” Hawkes said. “They changed my life. Indeed, they changed the world.”

The release of The Beatles Uke (Solid Air Records, 2008), a cover of Hawkes’ favorite Beatles classics – is a timeless testament to the inspiration and influence of the legendary group’s music and on his career.

The 15-song collection of Beatles songs is played entirely on the ukulele and multi-tracked to create a “Ukesymphonic” orchestra.

Perhaps it’s not such a far-fetched idea after all when you consider that George Harrison, a known ukulele enthusiast, is considered the spiritual leader of the current wave of interest in the music. Fellow ex-Beatle Paul McCartney also plays the instrument, and compellingly so when he paid tribute to his fallen friend on “Something” during his 2002 world tour.

Hawkes, who helped define the sounds of the 1980s with his signature keyboard stylings on Cars hits such as “Just What I Needed,” “Let’s Go”, and “Shake It Up,” and “Heartbeat City,” took a new direction with his music in 2001 when his wife gave him a ukulele as a gift. He’s been hooked ever since.

Hawkes started collecting ukuleles and got involved in the “Uke” scene in and around Boston, which led him to try duplicating Beatles string parts. Longtime friend and former Cars guitarist, Elliot Easton, put Hawkes in touch with James Jensen of Solid Air Records, who suggested an entire CD of Beatles tunes. The result is The Beatles Uke.

The ukulele has made playing music fun again,” Hawkes said.

For more information on The Beatles Uke, visit or

Track listings for The Beatles UKE:

  1. Penny Lane

  2. And I Love Her

  3. Strawberry Fields Forever

  4. Here Comes the Sun

  5. Eleanor Rigby

  6. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite

  7. The Fool on the Hill

  8. Yellow Submarine

  9. Piggies

  10. She’s Leaving Home

  11. Honey Pie

  12. For You Blue

  13. Yesterday

  14. Blue Jay Way

  15. Goodnight

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