Born in Beggs, Oklahoma, Jimmy “Cry Cry” Hawkins had plans of becoming a football star. After an injury and several operations, however, his interest in music began to grow; he listened to Frank Berry’s radio show and sing along with the music to pass the time. He later met Frank Berry and Harry D. Gatewood, who encouraged him to share his singing talent with others.
In the 1940s, Hawkins formed his first band and played at several Tulsa venues, including the Flamingo Club and Berry Park. His band in the early ‘50s, “The After Hour Boys,” played after dances, from about 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. every weekend. Many local musicians had an opportunity to play with ‘Cry Cry’’s band. The group played in Wichita, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and other surrounding towns. In 1953, Hawkins changed the name of his band to “Jimmy ‘Cry Cry’ Hawkins and the Teardrops,” and in 1954, the group went to Georgia with one of the top recording groups of that time, The Midnighters. “Cry Cry” got his nickname from one of his fans, who said, “His voice makes a woman want to cry.” And when he sang the blues, “Cry Cry” would do just that – but tears would only flow from one eye. Hawkins died in 1976.