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18 October 2021, 12:22 | Updated: 18 October 2021, 12:51
The music world is remembering a legend of TV music, who donated all his royalties from ‘Countdown’ to pay underprivileged music students’ fees.
Tributes have been posted across social media for the British composer Alan Hawkshaw who has sadly passed away at the age of 84.
Born William Alan Hawkshaw, the composer was best known for writing the theme tunes for children’s TV drama series Grange Hill, the quiz show Countdown, and the Channel 4 News.
Hawkshaw was also a talented keyboard player, and worked as a musical director, arranger and pianist with artists including Olivia Newton-John, Donna Summer, and Cliff Richards.
His varied and unique career also included a number 1 single on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in the USA with “Here Comes That Sound Again”, which was later sampled by the Sugarhill Gang at the beginning of, what is generally considered to be the first commercially released hip hop song, Rapper’s Delight.
Multiple composers, journalists, and presenters have taken to social media to share their memories and tributes to Alan Hawkshaw.
Countdown’s lexicographer, Susie Dent, posted this tribute to the quiz show’s composer.
RIP Alan Hawkshaw, creator of the Countdown music and much, much more. All of us can instantly sing the end notes of the clock sequence: the soundtrack to my career. Thank you, Alan.— Susie Dent 💙 (@susie_dent) October 16, 2021
Journalist, Tom Hourigan, shared the following video celebrating Hawkshaw’s music in a touching 80-second tribute.
RIP Alan Hawkshaw, who composed some of the most iconic theme tunes in British TV history - including Grange Hill, Channel 4 News and Countdown.— Tom Hourigan (@TomHourigan) October 16, 2021
Here’s 80 seconds of his genius: pic.twitter.com/KNqWNLK0So
Fellow British composer, Nick Harvey, reposted a video of him playing the Grange Hill theme tune alongside his dog, Ember, calling Hawkshaw, ‘a legend’.
RIP Alan Hawkshaw. You legend. pic.twitter.com/xjS4hbP9le— Nick Harvey (@mrnickharvey) October 16, 2021
Film composer David Arnold, who was scored five James Bond films as well as TV series Sherlock, thanked Hawkshaw for “raising the bar”.
R.I.P. Alan Hawkshaw ….. a titan of TV music composition and a brilliant keyboard player for so many greats . too many to mention . I dont know a composer not in awe of his ability . Thanks for raising the bar x— DavidGArnold (@DavidGArnold) October 16, 2021
Journalist, Dr Matthew Sweet, reminded social media that Hawkshaw donated all his royalties from Countdown to pay underprivileged music students’ fees...
Alan Hawkshaw donated the royalties for this to pay fees for underprivileged music students. Every time it plays, someone gets a bit of time in college. https://t.co/gmxPZhIB7R pic.twitter.com/ofvDMfwze3— Matthew Sweet (@DrMatthewSweet) October 16, 2021
... and one of the scholarship recipients shared his experience of attending Leeds Conservatoire on the Hawkshaw scholarship.
I had the pleaasure of knowing Alan through his schorlaship at @LeedsMusicDrama and was one of the loveliest people who always took time for me. His legacy will live on through his amazing music. #RIPAlanHawkshaw https://t.co/WgQH3CpJXd— Owen Tyas (@OwenTyas) October 16, 2021
Farewell to a legend of TV music, and a generous supporter of the arts.