Erskine Hawkins learned trombone and trumpet play drum after he could play, when he was 13 years old. When he attended the Alabama State Teachers College, Hawkins was the band leader of the local school Orchestra The Bama State Collegians. Once graduated in 1934 he moved to New York, the band was renamed to The Erskine Hawkins Orchestra. The Orchestra began recording plates in 1936, against the Orchestra knew 1938 for some successes. The first formal action by Erskine Hawkins and his Orchestra was in 1938 when the band won a recording contract with RCA Records.
Hawkins, who harbored a great admiration for jazz legend Louis Armstrong, began his absent during a trip to New Jersey with the Bama State Collegians, so he could sneak over to New York in order to act. Louis Armstrong surprised him during a performance so backstage of the Appolo Theatre with a joint trumpet concert. Hawkins knew three big hits:
Hawkins was one of the first five musicians inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1978. In 1993 he received the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm & Blues Association and in 1989, he was inducted into theAlabama Music Hall of Fame.