Hopkins in 1973
|Birth name||Nicholas Christian Hopkins|
|Born||24 February 1944|
Perivale, Middlesex, England, UK
|Died||6 September 1994 50) (aged|
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
|Genres||Rock and roll, rock|
|Associated acts||Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages, Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers, Cyril Davies All Stars, Jerry Garcia Band, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, The Jeff Beck Group, Sweet Thursday, The Beatles, Steve Miller Band, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Who, Badfinger, Night, Donovan|
Nicholas Christian Hopkins (24 February 1944 – 6 September 1994) was an English pianist and organist. Hopkins recorded and performed on many notable British and American pop and rock music releases from the 1960s through the 1990s including many songs by The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Who.
Nicholas Christian Hopkins was born in Perivale, Middlesex, England, on 24 February 1944. He began playing the piano at the age of three. He attended Sudbury Primary School in Perrin Roadand Wembley County Grammar School, which now forms part of Alperton Community School, and was initially tutored by a local piano teacher; in his teens he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London. He suffered from Crohn's disease for most of his life.
His poor health and repeated surgery later made it difficult for him to tour, and he worked mainly as a session musician for most of his career.Hopkins' studies were interrupted in 1960 when he left school at 16 to become the pianist with Screaming Lord Sutch's Savages until, two years later, he and fellow Savages Bernie Watson, Rick Brown (aka Ricky Fenson) and Carlo Little joined the renowned blues harmonica player Cyril Davies, who had just left Blues Incorporated, and became the Cyril Davies (R&B) All-Stars. Hopkins played piano on their first single, Davies' much-admired theme tune "Country Line Special". However he was forced to leave the All Stars in May 1963 for a series of operations that almost cost him his life and he was bed-ridden for 19 months in his late teenage years. During Hopkins' convalescence Davies died of leukemia and the All Stars disbanded. Hopkins' frail health led him to concentrate on working as a session musician instead of joining bands, although he left his mark performing with a wide variety of famous bands. He quickly became one of London's most in-demand session pianists and performed on many hit recordings from this period.
Hopkins played with the Rolling Stones on all their studio albums from Between the Buttons in 1967 through Tattoo You in 1981, excepting for Some Girls (1978). Among his contributions, he supplied the prominent piano parts on "We Love You" and "She's a Rainbow" (both 1967), "Sympathy for the Devil" and "No Expectations" (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" (recorded 1972, released in 1981). When working with the band during their critical and commercial zenith in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Hopkins tended to be employed on a wide range of slower ballads, uptempo rockers and acoustic material; conversely, longtime de facto Stones keyboardist Ian Stewart only 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.
Along with Ry Cooder, Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts, Hopkins released the 1972 album Jamming with Edward! It was recorded in 1969, during the Stones' Let It Bleed sessions, when guitarist Keith Richards was not present in the studio. The eponymous "Edward" was an alias of Nicky Hopkins derived from studio banter with Brian Jones. It was incorporated into the title of an outstanding Hopkins instrumental performance ("Edward, the Mad Shirt Grinder") released on Shady Grove in December 1969. Hopkins also contributed to the Jamming With Edward! cover art.
Hopkins was added to the Rolling Stones touring line-up for the 1971 Good-Bye Britain Tour, as well as the 1972 North American tour and the 1973 Pacific tour. He contemplated forming his own band with multi-instrumentalist Pete Sears and drummer Prairie Prince around this time but decided against it after the Stones tour. Hopkins failed to make the Rolling Stones' 1973 European tour due to ill health and, aside from a guest appearance in 1978, did not play again with the Stones live on stage.
Hopkins was invited in 1965 by producer Shel Talmy to record with The Kinks. He recorded 4 studio albums: The Kink Kontroversy (1965), Face to Face (1966), Something Else by The Kinks (1967) and The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (1968).
The relationship between Hopkins and the Kinks deteriorated after the release of The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, however. Hopkins maintained that "about seventy percent" of the keyboard work on the album was his, and was incensed when Ray Davies apparently credited himself for the majority of the keyboard playing.
Despite Hopkins' ensuing grudge against him, Davies spoke positively of his contributions in a New York Times interview in 1995:
Nicky, unlike lesser musicians, didn't try to show off; he would only play when necessary. But he had the ability to turn an ordinary track into a gem – slotting in the right chord at the right time or dropping a set of triplets around the back beat, just enough to make you want to dance. On a ballad, he could sense which notes to wrap around the song without being obtrusive. He managed to give "Days," for instance, a mysterious religious quality without being sentimental or pious.
Nicky and I were hardly bosom buddies. We socialized only on coffee breaks and in between takes. In many ways, I was still in awe of the man who in 1963 had played with the Cyril Davies All Stars on the classic British R & B record, "Country Line Special." I was surprised to learn that Nicky came from Wembley, just outside of London. With his style, he should have been from New Orleans, or Memphis.
… His best work in his short spell with the Kinks was on the album Face to Face. I had written a song called "Session Man," inspired partly by Nicky. Shel Talmy asked Nicky to throw in "something classy" at the beginning of the track. Nicky responded by playing a classical- style harpsichord part. When we recorded "Sunny Afternoon," Shel insisted that Nicky copy my plodding piano style. Other musicians would have been insulted but Nicky seemed to get inside my style, and he played exactly as I would have. No ego. Perhaps that was his secret.
Hopkins was first invited in The Who by Shel Talmy in 1965, while recording their debut album My Generation . Due to his ill health, he never performed with the band on stage and appeared only sporadically in the next decade, performing select tracks on Who's Next (1971), before making full return in 1975 on The Who by Numbers .
Hopkins, given his long association with The Who, was a key instrumentalist on the soundtrack for the 1975 Ken Russell film, Tommy . Hopkins played piano on most of the tracks, and is acknowledged in the album's liner notes for his work on the arrangements for most of the songs.
Hopkins released his first solo album ( The Tin Man Was a Dreamer ) in 1973 under the aegis of producer David Briggs, best known for his work with Neil Young and Spirit. Other musicians appearing on the album include George Harrison (credited as "George O'Hara"), Mick Taylor of the Rolling Stones and Prairie Prince. Re-released by Columbia in 2004, the album features rare Hopkins vocal performances. His second solo album, entitled No More Changes , was also released in 1975. Appearing on the album are Hopkins (lead vocals and all keyboards), David Tedstone (guitars), Michael Kennedy (guitars), Rick Wills (bass), and Eric Dillon (drums and percussion), with back-up vocals from Kathi McDonald, Lea Santo-Robertie, Doug Duffey and Dolly. A third album, Long Journey Home, has remained unreleased. He also released three soundtrack albums in Japan between 1992 and 1993, The Fugitive, Patio and Namiki Family.
In 1967, he joined The Jeff Beck Group. Intended as a vehicle for former Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck, the band also included vocalist Rod Stewart, bassist Ronnie Wood and drummer Micky Waller.He remained with the ensemble through its dissolution in August 1969, performing on Truth (1968) and Beck-Ola (1969). 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.
By this point Hopkins was one of Britain's best-known session players, particularly through his work with the Rolling Stones and after playing electric piano on The Beatles' "Revolution" – a rare occasion when an outside rock musician appeared on a Beatles recording. Further raising his profile, he contributed to several Harry Nilsson albums in the early 1970s, including Nilsson Schmilsson and Son of Schmilsson , and recordings by Donovan.
In 1969, Hopkins was a member of the short-lived Sweet Thursday, a quintet comprising Hopkins, Alun Davies (who worked with Cat Stevens), Jon Mark, Harvey Burns and Brian Odgers. The band completed their eponymous debut album; however, the project was doomed from the start. Their American record label, Tetragrammaton Records, abruptly declared bankruptcy(by legend, the same day the album was released) with promotion and a possible tour never happening.
In August 1975, he joined the Jerry Garcia Band, envisaged as a major creative vehicle for the guitarist during the mid-seventies hiatus of the Grateful Dead. His increasing use of alcohol precipitated several erratic live performances, resulting in him leaving the group by mutual agreement after a December 31 appearance.During 1979-1989, he was playing and touring with Los Angeles-based Night, who had a hit with a cover of Walter Egan's "Hot Summer Nights". In addition to recording with the Beatles in 1968, Hopkins worked with each of the four when they went solo. Between 1970 and 1975, he appeared on many projects by John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, making key contributions to their critically acclaimed respective solo albums Imagine , Living in the Material World and Ringo . He worked only once with Paul McCartney, on the latter's 1989 album Flowers in the Dirt .
Hopkins also performed with Graham Parker's backing band the Rumour after their keyboardist Bob Andrews left the band.
Hopkins lived in Mill Valley, California, for several years. During this time he worked with several local bands and continued to record in San Francisco. One of his complaints throughout his career was that he did not receive royalties from any of his recording sessions, because of his status at the time as merely a "hired hand", as opposed to pop stars with agents. He received songwriting credit for his work with the Jeff Beck Group, including an instrumental, "Girl From Mill Valley", on the 1969 album Beck-Ola . Only Quicksilver Messenger Service, through its manager Ron Polte and its members, gave Hopkins an ownership stake.[ citation needed ] Towards the end of his life he worked as a composer and orchestrator of film scores, with considerable success in Japan.
In the early 1980s, Hopkins credited the Church of Scientology-affiliated Narconon rehabilitation program with vanquishing his drug and alcohol addictions; he ultimately remained a Scientologist for the rest of his life.As a result of his religious affiliation, he contributed to several of L. Ron Hubbard's musical recordings.
Hopkins died on 6 September 1994, at the age of 50, in Nashville, Tennessee, from complications resulting from intestinal surgery related to his lifelong battle with Crohn's disease. At the time of his death, he was working on his autobiography with Ray Coleman. He is survived by his wife, Moira.
Songwriter and musician Julian Dawson collaborated with Hopkins on one recording, the pianist's last, in spring 1994, a few months before his death. After Ray Coleman's death, the connection led to Dawson working on a definitive biography of Hopkins, first published by Random House in German in 2010, followed in 2011 by the English-language version with the title And on Piano … Nicky Hopkins (a hardback in the UK via Desert Hearts, and a paperback in North America via Backstage Books/Plus One Press).
On 8 September 2018, the Nicky Hopkins "piano" park bench memorial, crowdfunded through PledgeMusic, was unveiled in Perivale Park near Hopkins' birthplace.The campaign offered the opportunity for pledgers to have their name inscribed on the bench and contribute towards funding a music scholarship at London’s Royal Academy of Music, where Hopkins himself won a scholarship in the 1950s. Names that have pledged in the campaign include Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood, Bill Wyman, Yoko Ono Lennon, Roger Daltrey, Jimmy Page, Hossam Ramzy, Johnnie Walker and Kenney Jones. A quote about Hopkins by Bob Harris appears on the bench.
On what would have been Hopkins's 75th birthday (24 February 2019), the Nicky Hopkins Scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music was created, and on 19 October 2019, a commemorative plaque on his childhood home, 38 Jordan Road, Perivale, donated by the Ealing Civic Society, was unveiled.
With Art Garfunkel
With Carly Simon
With Ronnie Wood
With Peter Frampton
With Jackie Lomax
With Martha Reeves
With Joe Cocker
With Paul McCartney
With Belinda Carlisle
With Rod Stewart
With Bill Wyman
With Matthew Sweet
With Ringo Starr
With Dusty Springfield
With George Harrison
With Carl Wilson
With Carole Bayer Sager
With Jennifer Warnes
With Harry Nilsson
With John Lennon
With Adam Bomb
Sir Raymond Douglas Davies, is an English singer, songwriter and musician. He is the lead singer, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for the Kinks, which he leads with his younger brother, Dave. He has also acted, directed and produced shows for theatre and television. He is often referred to as "the godfather of Britpop". After the dissolution of the Kinks in 1996, Davies embarked on a solo career.
Quicksilver Messenger Service is an American psychedelic rock band formed in 1965 in San Francisco. The band achieved wide popularity in the San Francisco Bay Area and through their recordings, with psychedelic rock enthusiasts around the globe, and several of their albums ranked in the Top 30 of the Billboard Pop charts. They were part of the new wave of album-oriented bands, achieving renown and popularity despite an almost complete lack of success with their singles. Though not as commercially successful as contemporaries Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver was integral to the beginnings of their genre. With their jazz and classical influences and a strong folk background, the band attempted to create an individual, innovative sound. Music historian Colin Larkin wrote: "Of all the bands that came out of the San Francisco area during the late '60s, Quicksilver typified most the style, attitude and sound of that era."
Klaus Voormann is a German artist, musician, and record producer. He designed artwork for many bands including the Beatles, Harry Nilsson, the Bee Gees, Wet Wet Wet and Turbonegro. Voormann's most notable work as a producer was his work with the band Trio, including their worldwide hit "Da Da Da". As a musician, Voormann is best known for being the bassist for Manfred Mann from 1966 to 1969, and for performing as a session musician on a host of recordings, including "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon, Lou Reed's Transformer album, and on many recordings of the former members of the Beatles.
William Everett Preston was an American musician whose work encompassed R&B, rock, soul, funk, and gospel. Preston was a top session keyboardist in the 1960s, during which he backed artists such as Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Reverend James Cleveland, and the Beatles. He went on to achieve fame as a solo artist with hit singles such as "That's the Way God Planned It", the Grammy-winning "Outa-Space", "Will It Go Round in Circles", "Space Race", "Nothing from Nothing", and "With You I'm Born Again". Additionally, Preston co-wrote "You Are So Beautiful", which became a #5 hit for Joe Cocker.
The Jeff Beck Group was a British rock band formed in London in January 1967 by former Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck. Their innovative approach to heavy-sounding blues, rhythm and blues and rock was a major influence on popular music.
Edwin H. Kramer is a South African-English recording producer and engineer. He has collaborated with several artists now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, including the Beatles, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, the Kinks, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, John Mellencamp, and Carlos Santana.
Face to Face is the fourth studio album by the English rock band the Kinks, released in October 1966. The album marked a shift from the hard-driving style of beat music that had catapulted the group to international acclaim in 1964. It is their first album consisting entirely of Ray Davies compositions, and has also been regarded by critics as rock's first concept album. The album was included in Robert Christgau's "Basic Record Library" of 1950s and 1960s recordings, published in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981).
Something Else by the Kinks, often referred to simply as Something Else, is the fifth UK studio album by the Kinks, released in September 1967. It marks the final involvement of American producer Shel Talmy in the Kinks' 1960s studio recordings; henceforth Ray Davies would produce recordings. Many of the recordings feature the keyboard work of Nicky Hopkins and the backing vocals of Davies's wife, Rasa. Two hit singles are included: "Waterloo Sunset" and "Death of a Clown". The album was ranked No. 288 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It was voted number 237 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums 3rd Edition (2000).
The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society is the sixth studio album by the English rock group the Kinks, released in November 1968. It was the last album by the original quartet, as bassist Quaife left the group in early 1969. A collection of vignettes of English life, Village Green was assembled from songs written and recorded over the previous two years.
Son of Schmilsson is the eighth album by American singer Harry Nilsson. Nilsson was being pressured to produce a follow-up album similar to his 1971 breakthrough, Nilsson Schmilsson, but instead, he created a more eccentric work. The album was produced by Richard Perry and features musical contributions from former Beatles Ringo Starr and George Harrison. Other musicians on the recording include Nicky Hopkins, Klaus Voormann, Bobby Keys and Peter Frampton. Among the album's tracks are "You're Breakin' My Heart" and the US hit "Spaceman".
Ken Scott is a British record producer and engineer known for being one of the five main engineers for the Beatles, as well as engineering Elton John, Pink Floyd, Procol Harum, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Duran Duran, the Jeff Beck Group and many more. As a producer, Scott is noted for his work with David Bowie, Supertramp, Devo, Kansas, the Tubes, Ronnie Montrose, Level 42, among others.
Beck-Ola is the second album by Jeff Beck, released in 1969 in the United Kingdom on Columbia Records and in the United States on Epic Records. It peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard 200, and at No. 39 on the British album chart. The album’s title puns on the name of the Rock-Ola jukebox company.
The Kinks are an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, north London, in 1964 by brothers Ray and Dave Davies. They are regarded as one of the most influential rock bands of the 1960s. The band emerged during the height of British rhythm and blues and Merseybeat, and were briefly part of the British Invasion of the United States until their touring ban in 1965. Their third single, the Ray Davies-penned "You Really Got Me", became an international hit, topping the charts in the United Kingdom and reaching the Top 10 in the United States. Their music was influenced by a wide range of genres, including American R&B and rock and roll initially, and later adopting British music hall, folk, and country. They gained a reputation for reflecting English culture and lifestyle, fuelled by Ray Davies' wittily observational writing style, and are considered one of the most influential groups of the period.
Shady Grove is a 1969 studio album by Quicksilver Messenger Service.
"We Love You" is a song by the English rock band the Rolling Stones that was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. It was first released as a single on 18 August 1967, with "Dandelion" as the B-side. The song peaked at number eight in Britain and number 50 in the United States, where "Dandelion" was promoted as the A-side and peaked at number 14. The recording features a Mellotron part played by Brian Jones and backing vocals by John Lennon and Paul McCartney of the Beatles.
"Autumn Almanac" is a song written by Ray Davies and recorded by the rock group the Kinks in 1967. "Autumn Almanac" has since been noted for being an "absolute classic", "a finely observed slice of English custom", and a "weird character study", and praised for its "mellow, melodic sound that was to characterize the Kinks' next [musical] phase..." Some have placed this and other Davies compositions in the pastoral-Romantic tradition of the poetry of Wordsworth, among others.
Alun Davies is a Welsh guitarist, studio musician, recording artist, and composer who rose to fame primarily with his supporting guitar work and backing vocals as accompanist for English musician Cat Stevens, from early 1970 to 1977.
Let It Rock: The Jerry Garcia Collection, Vol. 2 is an album by the Jerry Garcia Band. It was recorded live at the Keystone in Berkeley, California, on November 17 and 18, 1975. It was released by Rhino Records as a two-disc CD on November 10, 2009.
The All-Stars were a short-lived English blues combo active in the early-mid 1960s that later evolved into a studio supergroup. Originally known as the Cyril Davies (R&B) All-Stars, their later recordings are often credited to the Immediate All-Stars due to their strong ties to Immediate Records. In 1999, the group reformed as the Carlo Little All-Stars.
The Tin Man Was a Dreamer is a studio album by English musician Nicky Hopkins, released in 1973 on Columbia Records. While Hopkins had long been well known for his distinctive, melodic style on piano and Wurlitzer electric piano, the album provided a rare opportunity to hear him sing, unlike his earlier solo releases The Revolutionary Piano of Nicky Hopkins and Jamming with Edward! The album was co-produced by Neil Young's regular producer, David Briggs, and featured contributions from George Harrison, Mick Taylor, Klaus Voormann and Hopkins' fellow Rolling Stones sidemen Bobby Keys and Jim Price.