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The first song Taylor Hawkins ever fell in love with

When the news broke of drummer Taylor Hawkins’ death at the end of March, the world was left in a state of mourning that it will never truly recover from.

Hawkins was a perpetual force for good in music and society, and given everything that is going on in the world at this moment in time, the lights dimmed greatly when he departed this mortal coil. Although he was taken too soon, and in the most tragic of ways, his spirit continues to live on through many incredible moments he left us.

It says a lot about Hawkins’ skill as a drummer that Foo Fighters frontman and drummer extraordinaire Dave Grohl, was able to happily relinquish control of the rhythm section, safe in the knowledge that Hawkins was there, a rhythmic ballast that he and the band could always rely on, helping them to create the anthemic sound that has been packing out global stadia for the past 25 years. 

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The great thing about Hawkins’ playing style was that it had one eye on classical rock, imbuing his sound with the power of the drumming greats of days gone by. Over his career, he consistently namechecked five icons who helped to inspire his work. These were Stewart Copeland of The Police, Neil Peart of Rush, Roger Taylor of Queen, Genesis’s Phil Collins and Steven Perkins of Jane’s Addiction. Together, their work helped Hawkins to create a powerful but dextrous sound that stylistically found itself somewhere between John Bonham and Copeland. 

Hawkins made one thing very clear; he was a lover of all music. This surprised many fans who, at first sight, assumed Hawkins to be solely a fan of rock ‘n’ roll. However, one must remember that he was plucked from Alanis Morissette’s backing band before he joined the Foo Fighters, showing that he didn’t have a problem with music outside of rock. After all, his favourite band of all time were Queen, and to many, they’re more of a pop band than anything.  

The most surprising admission about music that Hawkins made came in 2016 when NME interviewed him for the ‘Soundtrack of my Life’ segment. Exploring the music of his life, Hawkins took the interviewer and reader on a chronological journey through his career in music, and at one point, he revealed the first song that he ever fell in love with, and it’s an obscure one.

The track he picked was Olivia Newton-John’s 1975 hit ‘Have You Never Been Mellow’. A swooning piece of adult contemporary, it turns out that the young Hawkins was totally enamoured with the Grease star. He explained: “I love her so much, oh my God. My daughter loves her too – we took her to see Olivia about three or four months ago. She’s just got this angel voice and she was just so hot when we were kids. She was the most perfect woman when I was, like, seven.”

The thought of Taylor Hawkins kicking back to Olivia Newton-John is a brilliant one and one that we should savour. 

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