He was a Rock Star’s Rock Star. If Nicky Hopkins were still with us, he would b…

Written by on February 24, 2018

He was a Rock Star’s Rock Star.

If Nicky Hopkins were still with us, he would be celebrating his 74th birthday today. We know that there are many of you who have heard his name but don’t really understand how important Nicky is/was to Rock and Roll.

Nicky didn’t become famous playing in any one special band. He suffered from Crohn’s disease from his youth. Poor health and ongoing surgery made it difficult for him to tour. This resulted in his working primarily as a studio player for most of his career. He quickly became one of London’s most in-demand session pianists and performed on many hit recordings. He worked extensively for leading UK independent producers Shel Talmy and Andrew Loog Oldham and performed on albums and singles by The Easybeats, The Kinks, the Pretty Things, The Move and The Who.

In 1967 he joined the Jeff Beck Group, formed by former Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck with vocalist Rod Stewart, bassist Ronnie Wood and drummer Micky Waller, playing on the LPs Truth and Beck-Ola.

The same year Hopkins recorded Beggars Banquet with the Rolling Stones (he had first worked for them on Between the Buttons). He also recorded for several San Franciscan groups, playing on albums by Jefferson Airplane (with whom he performed at the Woodstock Festival), the New Riders of the Purple Sage and the Steve Miller Band. He briefly joined Quicksilver Messenger Service – Band and also appeared with the Jerry Garcia Band.

Nicky played extensively with The Rolling Stones. He did so much that it is hard to put all of it in a single post, but here’s a ‘brief’ list of some of the things he played on:

The Kinks, The Kink Kontroversy (1965), Sunny Afternoon (1966), Face to Face (1966), The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (1968)

The Who, “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere” (1965), My Generation album (1965), “The Song Is Over” (1971), “Getting in Tune” (1971), “We’re Not Gonna Take It [movie remix]” (1975), “They Are All in Love” (1975), “Slip Kid” (1975), “How Many Friends” (1975)

The Rolling Stones, “In Another Land” (1967), She’s a Rainbow” (1967) on the Their Satanic Majesties Request album ,”We Love You” (1967), “Sympathy for the Devil” (1968), “Street Fighting Man” (1968), “Gimme Shelter” (1969), “Monkey Man” (1969), “Sway” (1971), “Tumbling Dice” and many others on the Exile on Main St. album (1972), “Angie” (1973), “Time Waits for No One” (1974), “Fool to Cry” (1976), “Waiting on a Friend” (recorded 1972, released 1981)

The Beatles, “Revolution” (single version) (1968)

John Lennon, “Jealous Guy” (1971), “How Do You Sleep?” (1971), “Oh My Love” (1971), “Oh Yoko!” (1971), “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” (1971), Walls and Bridges album (1974)

Paul McCartney, “That Day Is Done” from Flowers in the Dirt (1989)

Ringo Starr, “Photograph” (1973), “You’re Sixteen” (1973), “Step Lightly” (1973), “You and Me (Babe)” (1973), “No No Song” (1974)

George Harrison, “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)” (1973), Living in the Material World album (1973)

Joe Cocker, “You Are So Beautiful” (1974)

Jeff Beck, “Blues De Luxe”, “Morning Dew” (1967), Truth (1967), and Hopkins’s own self-penned “Girl From Mill Valley”, on Beck-Ola. (1969)

Cat Stevens, “Matthew and Son” (1967), Matthew and Son (1967)

Marc Bolan, “Jasper C. Debussy” (1966-7, released 1974)

Donovan, “Barabajagal” (1969)

Jamming With Edward (jam session with Ry Cooder and some members of The Rolling Stones (recorded 1969, released 1972)

Quicksilver Messenger Service, “Shady Grove”, “Edward, the Mad Shirt Grinder”, “Spindrifter”

Jefferson Airplane, “Volunteers” (1969), “Wooden Ships” (1969), “Eskimo Blue Day” (1969), “Hey Fredrick” (1969), whole Woodstock set

Steve Miller Band “Kow Kow”, “Baby’s House (which Hopkins co-wrote with Miller)”.

Carly Simon (1972), No Secrets

Peter Frampton, “Waterfall” and “Sail Away” (1974)

Jackie Lomax, “Sour Milk Sea” (1968)

The Move, “Hey Grandma”, “Mist on a Monday Morning”, “Wild Tiger Woman” (all 1968)

The Easybeats, “Heaven & Hell”, and an un-released album titled “Good Times” (1967)

Jerry Garcia Band, Let It Rock: The Jerry Garcia Collection, Vol. 2 (1975), Garcia Live Volume Five (1975)

L. Ron Hubbard, “The Mining Song” (1982), “The Banker” (1982)
Dogs D’Amour, “Hurricane”, “Trail of Tears”, and “Princes Valium” from the Errol Flynn/King of the Thieves album (1989)

The Jayhawks, “Two Angels” and “Martin’s Song”[18] on the Hollywood Town Hall album (1992)

Joe Walsh, “Guilty of the Crime” from the A Future To This Life album (1994), the soundtrack from the Robocop television series

Gene Clark (various recordings)

Brewer & Shipley

P.J. Proby, Reflections of Your Face (Amory Kane) from “Three Week Hero” (1969)
We lost Nicky on Sept. 6 in 1994. He died from complications of a surgery.

Happy Birthday Nicky. You gave us so much.

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