Synopsis by Mark Deming
Ted Hawkins was often called the world's greatest street singer. Abandoned by his parents as a boy and enduring a childhood that could have inspired 100 blues songs, Hawkins made his way to California in his early 20s, determined to make a career for himself as a musician. When record deals didn't pan out and paying gigs failed to come his way, Hawkins would set up on the boardwalk of L.A.'s Venice Beach, singing to passers-by for tips. On more than one occasion, success seemed to be right around the corner for Hawkins, only to leave him back at the beach. But in 1994, Hawkins was signed to a major record deal and released the widely-acclaimed album, The Next Hundred Years, which earned rave reviews and paved the way for a successful international concert tour. Sadly, just as Hawkins was enjoying a new life as a working musician, he passed away on New Year's Day, 1995. Ted Hawkins: Amazing Grace offers an in-depth look at Hawkins' remarkable life and career, with plenty of footage of Hawkins onstage (including performances with Charlie Musselwhite and Pete Seeger) as well as interviews with family, friends, and fellow musicians, including Billy Bragg and John Doe. Harry Belafonte narrates.