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Tony Hawk and Grammy winners McCartney, Dylan, others join to build skateparks

Paul McCartney penned the lyrics to The Beatles' "Blackbird" and signed Tony Hawk's personally ridden skateboard.
Paul McCartney penned the lyrics to The Beatles' "Blackbird" and signed Tony Hawk's personally ridden skateboard.
Miki Vuckovich

What do pro skaters do with the boards they skate and destroy? They recruit the help of friends like Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Adam Yauch, and they turn them into skateparks.

Paul McCartney penned the lyrics to The Beatles' "Blackbird" and signed Tony Hawk's personally ridden skateboard. This and other amazing collaborations are available in the Boards + Bands auction.
Miki Vuckovich

Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk and Grammy Award-winning musician Ben Harper have invited their friends in the skate and music worlds to join them for the very special Boards + Bands project. A member of the nonprofit Tony Hawk Foundation Board Of Directors, Harper conceived the idea to use pro skaters’ old decks to write song lyrics on and raise funds to build positive recreational outlets for at-risk youth.

These special collaboration skateboards will be available in a celebrity auction launching December 3 on eBay, and will be on display through the end of the auction at the GRAMMY Museum in downtown Los Angeles, California.

“Skating and music have always been inseparably connected on a soul level,” said Harper. “For me, listening to great music evokes the same emotional connection as watching great skating. And the feeling that comes from playing music is the same feeling I get from skating. The backbone of skating is the board—the backbone of music is the lyrics. If I had to choose between Beethoven’s piano painted by Da Vinci or Tony Hawk’s ridden skateboard with Paul McCartney’s lyrics to Blackbird … You don’t want to know which I’d choose.”

The Boards + Bands fundraising initiative merges the worlds of skateboarding and music to benefit the work of the Tony Hawk Foundation. Hawk invited a select group of professional skateboarders to donate their personally ridden skateboards and submit the name of their favorite songs. Harper then sent those boards on to the appropriate artists with one simple message: “Please write the lyrics to this skater’s favorite song on his skateboard, and we’ll use it to create more skateparks for kids.”

The chosen recording artists have hand-written the lyrics on these one-of-a-kind skateboards. Included in this unprecedented auction are board collaborations by the following artists and skaters: Adam Yauch and Bucky Lasek; Ben Harper and Rodney Mullen; Bob Dylan and Jamie Thomas; Tom Petty and Mike Vallely; Jimmy Cliff and Lance Mountain; Metallica and Steve Caballero; Ben Harper and Bob Burnquist; and Paul McCartney and Tony Hawk.

“This is literally a dream come true,” said Hawk. “When Ben first approached me with the idea, I was skeptical because the list of musicians requested was legendary. But they came through, proving that skateboarding’s reach is even broader than we imagined.”

Among the boards is a set of four decks that Adam Yauch used to meticulously stylize the lyrics to the Beastie BoysBodhisattva Vow. Undergoing treatment for cancer at the time, Yauch completed the boards shortly before he passed away this spring.

Funds raised through this effort will benefit the Tony Hawk Foundation, which supports at-risk youth through the creation of public skateparks in low-income communities across the U.S. These skateparks are safe, sanctioned places for youth to come together, form communities, and practice the sport they love in a healthy environment. Since 2002, the Foundation has helped to fund 512 public skateparks in 50 states.

The Boards + Bands skateboards will be on display at the GRAMMY Museum from December 3, 2012 through the close of the auction on December 13.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the Tony Hawk Foundation as the worlds of music and skateboarding continue to merge,” said Rita George, Deputy Director of the GRAMMY Museum. “The caliber of artists and skaters who are participating in the Boards + Bands project is incredible, and we’re excited to showcase their boards in our museum.”

The GRAMMY Museum is located in the L.A. Live district at 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015. Museum hours, admission, and other information can be found at, or by calling (213) 765-6800. All of the artists participating in the Boards + Bands program are Grammy Award winners.

For more information about this unique auction, please visit


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