Rock legend Ronnie Hawkins says there is no doubt in his mind that the Record Man sign should hang on Yonge Street.
Though it’s been over 50 years since he debuted on the stage, Hawkins still remembers the rock-frenzy sweeping Toronto, the late night shows and, of course, the girls from Ryerson College “who got me into trouble.”
Hawkins says that Yonge Street was a fixture in the music scene and a must-visit when he was in town.
“Yonge Street they made the only place where you could have entertainment and booze. It was just rocking day and night. Yonge Street, Toronto…it was the promised land.”
Hawkins remembers the Sam the Record Man store well. It boasted the hottest records, the coolest clientele and a sign so big that “Ray Charles could see it.” To Hawkins, Yonge Street was the musical artery of Toronto and the record store was its heart.
The musician has heard about the ‘signgate’ situation that has involved the university, city council and concerned Torontonians.
But there is no question in Hawkins’ mind that the sign should be on Yonge Street.
“Hang it. Just hook her up there and start sellin’ records.”
Hawkins is making his own tribute of sorts to the music industry by embarking on a comeback seven-stop tour around Ontario. The show will mark 50 years in the biz’ and pay tribute to those early golden days of rock when Yonge pulsed with energy, ran with liquor and music debuted under the neon glow of Sam’s spinning records.