Nicky Hopkins

Happy Birthday

Nicholas Christian Hopkins
February 24, 1944
Perivale, Middlesex, U.K.

Nicky Hopkins is remembered as the world's most sought after session pianist of the 60's & 70's. 

During the Sixties and Seventies, Hopkins was to be found hard at work in the studios, regularly backing up some of the biggest names in rock. Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones called him 'the greatest rock 'n' roll piano player in the world', and the Kinks even dedicated a song to him, called 'Session Man' on their 1966 Face to Face album. Ray Davies sang in affectionate tribute, 'He's a session man, a pop music-ian'.

Despite his prolific output, the public rarely saw Hopkins on stage. Early in his career he succumbed to ill-health which prevented him from going on the road. His life would be spent in the studios.

Nicky was born and raised in London, and studied classical music as a child. But he soon discovered rock 'n' roll and particularly admired the piano-playing on Chuck Berry's records. He developed his own driving boogie technique with a strong left hand and amazed seasoned rock musicians with his ability to emulate the hottest solos on classic rock records. He loved Little Richard and Fats Domino as well.

In the early years, Hopkins performed on albums and singles by the Easybeats, the Kinks, the Pretty Things, the Move, the Rolling Stones and the Who.
Hopkins played on most of the greatest albums ever recorded. In 1967, he joined The Jeff Beck Group. He remained with the ensemble through its dissolution in August 1969, performing on Truth (1968) and Beck-Ola (1969).

The following year, Hopkins recorded Beggars Banquet with The Rolling Stones, having previously worked for them on their 1967 single "We Love You" and the album Their Satanic Majesties Request. He also began to record for several San Franciscan groups, playing on albums by Jefferson Airplane (with whom he also performed in a one-off appearance at their Woodstock Festival concert in August 1969 following the unanticipated breakup of The Jeff Beck Group), the New Riders of the Purple Sage and the Steve Miller Band.

From 1969 to 1970, Hopkins was a full member of Quicksilver Messenger Service, appearing on Shady Grove (1969), Just for Love(1970) and What About Me (1970). In 1975, he contributed to the Solid Silver reunion album as a session musician.

Hopkins played with the Rolling Stones on their studio albums from Between the Buttons in 1967 through Tattoo You in 1981. Among his contributions, he supplied the prominent piano parts on "We Love You" and "She's a Rainbow" (both 1967), "Sympathy for the Devil" (1968), "Monkey Man" (1969), "Sway" (1971), "Loving Cup" and "Ventilator Blues" (1972), "Angie" (1973), "Time Waits for No One" (1974) and "Waiting on a Friend" (1981). Hopkins played on a wide range of slower ballads, uptempo rockers and acoustic material. Ian Stewart played on traditional major key blues rock numbers of his choice, while Billy Preston often featured on soul- and funk-influenced tunes. Hopkins' work with the Rolling Stones is perhaps most prominent on their 1972 studio album, Exile on Main St., where he contributed in a variety of musical styles.

Hopkins was an amazing musician and an integral part of the music we love. The soundtrack of our generation, Nicky died September 6, 1994.

Remembering Nicky on his birthday! Thank You for the music Sir! We Love and Miss You!
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