Jerry Hopkins (author)

Last updated
Jerry Hopkins
Born(1935-11-09)November 9, 1935
Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedJune 3, 2018(2018-06-03) (aged 82)
Bangkok, Thailand
Occupation Author, journalist
Nationality American

Elisha Gerald Hopkins (November 9, 1935 – June 3, 2018) was an American journalist and author best known for writing the first biographies of Elvis Presley and Jim Morrison of the Doors, as well as serving for 20 years as a correspondent [1] [2] and contributing editor of Rolling Stone magazine. He also penned several other biographies, wrote history and humor, and was a writer-producer for Mike Wallace, Steve Allen and Mort Sahl. [3]


Hopkins published 37 books and an estimated one thousand magazine articles. Some of his books have been translated into over a dozen languages.

Early life

Hopkins was born in Camden, New Jersey, and raised in nearby Haddonfield, a town founded by Quakers. His parents operated a dry cleaning store.


He attended a Quaker school through 6th grade and public schools through 12th. He earned a BA in journalism from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, in 1957 and, following a short period as a reporter for the Twin City Sentinel in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and brief service in the US Army, an MS in journalism from Columbia University in New York in 1959.

Early life

After freelancing articles to the then-young Village Voice while at Columbia, he worked as a reporter for the Times-Picayune and as news editor of WWL Radio in New Orleans (1959–1961). He joined Mike Wallace as a writer-producer in New York for one year (1961–62) then moved to Los Angeles where he was a talent coordinator and writer-producer for Steve Allen (1962–1964). He also wrote and produced television programs for Mort Sahl, ABC-TV and Universal Studios (1964–1966; 1971). He wrote his first books during this period, an as-told-to autobiography of a health faddist, Bare Feet and Good Things to Eat (1965) and an astrological spoof, You Were Born on a Rotten Day (1969).


From the mid-1960s, when he left television to open the first head shop in Los Angeles and the third in the nation (1965, Newsweek citation) and then wrote for Rolling Stone [1] [2] as Los Angeles correspondent (1967–1969), he wrote features and columns for alternative newspapers, including the popular "Making It" column for the Los Angeles Free Press . He contributed articles to TeenSet magazine and its successor AUM. He MC'ed the first love-ins in Los Angeles, edited a collection of material from the underground press, The Hippie Papers (1968) and wrote a history of rock and roll, The Rock Story (1970).

Leaving Rolling Stone temporarily in 1969 to write Elvis: A Biography (1971), it was while serving as the magazine's London correspondent (1972) that he began researching his Morrison biography, No One Here Gets Out Alive. It was rejected by more than 30 publishers before publication in 1980, when it topped the New York Times bestseller chart and was credited by many with helping kick-start the Doors' revival as well as inspiring a new publishing genre, the rock biography. A sequel to the Elvis biography, Elvis: The Final Years (1981) followed, along with biographies of Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Yoko Ono, and Raquel Welch, the latter of which was authorized but not published.

By now he had moved to Honolulu, where he edited a monthly newsletter about Hawaiian music and dance and published several books taking Hawaiian culture as their subject, including The Hula (1981), a history; How to Make Your Own Hawaiian Musical Instruments (1988); Elvis in Hawaii (2002); and Don Ho: My Life, My Music (2007). He also was an editor at Pacific Business News in Honolulu and a speechwriter for Mayor Frank Fasi.

After moving to Thailand in 1993, he wrote for numerous travel, food and airline magazines and collaborated with photographer Michael Freeman on Strange Foods: An Epicurean Adventure Around the World (1999), which was expanded and reissued as Extreme Cuisine with a foreword by Anthony Bourdain (2004). A collection of expatriate profiles, Bangkok Babylon (2005); a book of stories and essays, Thailand Confidential (2005); and Asian Aphrodisiacs (2006) followed. His 37th book, profiling Western novelists who helped forge the Asian myth, Romancing the East, was published in 2013. [3]

Personal life

Hopkins was married four times, to Sara Cordell (1959–1963), Jane Hollingsworth (1968–1976), Rebecca Erickson Crockett (1980–1988); he had two children by his second wife, Erin Hendershot (b. 1970) and Nick Hopkins (b. 1972), and eight grandchildren. He and his wife, Lamyai (m. 2003), a citizen of Thailand, divided their time between a flat in Bangkok and a house and farm six hours away in rice country near the Cambodian border.


Related Research Articles

Jimi Hendrix American guitarist, singer and songwriter

James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career lasted only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential guitarists in history and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as "the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music".

The Doors American rock band

The Doors were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1965, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore. They were among the most controversial and influential rock acts of the 1960s, mostly because of Morrison's lyrics and voice along with his erratic stage persona, and the group was widely regarded as an important part of the era's counterculture.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience English-American psychedelic rock band

The Jimi Hendrix Experience was an American-English rock band that formed in Westminster, London, in September 1966. Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jimi Hendrix, drummer Mitch Mitchell, and bassist Noel Redding comprised the group, which was active until June 1969. During this time, they released three studio albums and became one of the most popular acts in rock.

Mitch Mitchell English drummer (1947-2008)

John Graham "Mitch" Mitchell was an English drummer and child actor, who was best known for his work in the Jimi Hendrix Experience. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2009.

<i>Electric Ladyland</i> 1968 studio album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience

Electric Ladyland is the third and final studio album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience and the final studio album released in Hendrix's lifetime before his death in 1970. Released by Reprise Records in North America and Track Records in the UK in October 1968, the double album was the only record from the band produced by Hendrix. By mid-November, it had charted at number one in the US, where it spent two weeks at the top spot. Electric Ladyland was the Experience's most commercially successful release and their only number one album. It peaked at number six in the UK, where it spent 12 weeks on the chart.

Robby Krieger American rock guitarist and songwriter

Robert Alan Krieger is an American guitarist and singer-songwriter best known as the guitarist of the rock band The Doors; as such he has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Krieger wrote or co-wrote many of the Doors' songs, including the hits "Light My Fire", "Love Me Two Times", "Touch Me", and "Love Her Madly". After the Doors disbanded, Krieger continued his performing and recording career with other musicians including former Doors bandmates John Densmore and Ray Manzarek. He was listed by Rolling Stone as one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

Baron Wolman is an American photographer best known for his work in the late 1960s for the music magazine Rolling Stone, becoming the magazine's first Chief Photographer from 1967 until late 1970.

<i>The Jimi Hendrix Experience</i> (album) 2000 box set by the Jimi Hendrix Experience

MCA continued the series of definitive masters of the Jimi Hendrix catalogue in 2000, releasing the self-titled box set The Jimi Hendrix Experience, consisting of four discs. The material includes alternative recordings, live performances and some rarities. Although most of the material had been released in earlier compilations, some previously unreleased material was also included.

Gered Mankowitz is an English photographer who focused his career in the music industry. He has worked with a range of artists from The Rolling Stones to Jimi Hendrix, and in other divisions of the photography industry, including fashion, music, advertising, news, and private photography. He works from his own gallery in North London.

27 Club Musicians and artists who died at age 27

The 27 Club is a list consisting mostly of popular musicians, artists, or actors who died at age 27. Although the claim of a "statistical spike" for the death of musicians at that age has been repeatedly disproved by research, it remains a cultural phenomenon, documenting the deaths of celebrities, some noted for their high-risk lifestyles. Names are often put forward for inclusion, but because the club is entirely notional, there is no official membership.

Jim Morrison American singer-songwriter, poet, actor and director

James Douglas Morrison was an American singer, songwriter and poet, who served as the lead vocalist of the rock band The Doors. Due to his wild personality, poetic lyrics, his widely recognized voice, unpredictable and erratic performances, and the dramatic circumstances surrounding his life and early death, Morrison is regarded by music critics and fans as one of the most iconic and influential frontmen in rock history. Since his death, his fame has endured as one of popular culture's most rebellious and oft-displayed icons, representing the generation gap and youth counterculture.

<i>Live at Winterland</i> 1987 live album by The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Live at Winterland is a live album by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. It compiles performances from the band's three concerts at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, where they played two shows each night on October 10, 11 and 12, 1968. The album was released posthumously by Rykodisc in 1987 and was the first Hendrix release to be specifically conceived for the Compact Disc format.

Karl Ferris is an English music photographer/designer. He worked on album covers for Eric Clapton, Cream, Donovan, The Hollies and Jimi Hendrix.

James Joseph Marshall was an American photographer, often of rock stars. He had extended access to numerous musicians through the 1960s and 1970s, including being backstage at The Beatles' final paid live concert in San Francisco's Candlestick Park, and was chief photographer at Woodstock.

Pete Sears British musician

Peter Roy Sears is an English rock musician. In a career spanning more than four decades, he has been a member of many bands and has moved through a variety of musical genres, from early R&B, psychedelic improvisational rock of the 1960s, folk, country music, arena rock in the 1970s, and blues. He usually plays bass, keyboards, or both in bands.

Trade Mark Of Quality was a bootleg record label based in Los Angeles, California,and was established in 1970 by "Dub" Taylor and Ken Douglas. In the summer of 1969 they released Bob Dylan "GWW" Great White Wonder with a white fold out cover and white labels. Another 9 titles followed before they in 1970 created the "farm pig" logo and the TMQ label was a fact and they began fastening round fluorescent stickers on the outside of their rubber stamped jackets which read 'Trade Mark Of Quality,' and bore the profile of a farm pig. The Frank Zappa - 200 Motels release was the first to bear such a sticker. Over time, custom pig labels were added along with xerox insert covers.

<i>People, Hell and Angels</i> 2013 compilation album by Jimi Hendrix

People, Hell and Angels is a posthumous compilation album by the American rock musician Jimi Hendrix. The fourth release under the Experience Hendrix deal with Legacy Recordings, it contains twelve previously unreleased recordings of tracks he was working on for the planned follow-up to Electric Ladyland. It was released on March 5, 2013.

Canadian drug charges and trial of Jimi Hendrix 1969 trial

In 1969, American rock musician Jimi Hendrix, who was then at the height of his career, was arrested, tried, and acquitted in Canada for drug possession.

Peter Langley Jones was a British journalist, author, editor, promoter and presenter who wrote mainly on show business matters, especially pop music, for magazines including Record Mirror and Billboard. He was involved in the early careers of both The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, pseudonymously writing the first book-length biographies of both bands.


TeenSet was an American music and fan magazine published by Capitol Records. Beginning in 1964 as a free album insert for fans of the Beach Boys, the magazine was sold separately in 1965 and it grew in popularity. It was introduced as a vehicle to promote the Beach Boys and other Capitol artists, but in the hands of editor Judith Sims, the magazine broke new ground, rising above its fan club origin. Quickly establishing itself as the gateway to the inner circle of the Beatles at the height of Beatlemania, TeenSet parlayed this trust to introduce their readers to new artists, in the process greatly increasing the visibility of Buffalo Springfield, the Doors, Janis Joplin and the Mothers of Invention. The magazine benefited from articles by music critic Sue Cameron, London correspondent Carol Gold, psychedelic maverick Robert Shea, and photographs from Jim Marshall and Michael Ochs. It began as an early teen girls' magazine but by 1968 was shifting to focus on late teen girls and young women in their early twenties.


  1. 1 2 Hopkins, Jerry (April 5, 1969). "' Rockumentary' Radio Milestone". Rolling Stone (30). p. 9.
  2. 1 2 Hopkins, Jerry (October 4, 1969). "' Pop Chronicles' Chronicle Pop". Rolling Stone (43). p. 34.
  3. 1 2 Best-selling author Jerry Hopkins dies Bangkok Post, 4 Jun 2018