8.30.2010

Nicky Hopkins - The Tin Man Was a Dreamer {1973)




I've been a guitar player most of my life. Since 18 years old I think. Started playing my li' sister's acoustic. That led to electric. Before that I played the harp. I guess that would be the first instrument I played....but I've always wanted to learn to play piano. Ironically we had a stand up piano from the 1940's in our livingroom growing up. Weird thing is no one played it. I can't remember not even one night where someone may have banged the keys in a sing a long. My mother would say -" I was forced as a kid to take piano lessons, and I will not subject my kids to the same torture" ...thanks mom!....anyways....if I did learn how to play back then, I would have probably studied Nicky Hopkins. White boy rockin riffs. Don't get me wrong. I would have loved to been able to play like Bernnie Worell, Ray Charles or Fats.... but as Hopkins says... the tin man is a dreamer.

Here's an up from the Woodstock Alumni - Mr. Nicky Hopkins. Somewhat sombre riffs, but a few rockin diddys too.
That's one thing Hopkins has over Jagger. He played Woodstock. Cheers to the late great Hopkins.

I'm not sure why it's not a rock piano classic. "Banana Anna, Dolly"....This is a fantastic record! - wino

:::
Hopkins started his musical career in the early 1960s as the pianist with Screaming Lord Sutch's Savages, which also included Ritchie Blackmore, co-founder of Deep Purple. He then joined The Cyril Davies R&B All Stars, one of the first British rhythm & blues bands, and played piano on their initial single, "Country Line Special". He began his career as a session musician in London in the early Sixties and recording frequently on hit recordings. He worked extensively as a session pianist for leading UK independent producers Shel Talmy and Mickie Most and performed on albums and singles by The Kinks, The Move, Alun Davies and Jon Mark (later of the Mark-Almond Band), while Davies was touring with Cat Stevens. In 1965, he played piano on The Who's second single, "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere", and their debut LP, My Generation, and would subsequently play on their 1971 album Who's Next and 1975 album The Who By Numbers.

Hopkins recorded with British acts of the Sixties, including The Rolling Stones, The Beatles (on the song Revolution, credited for being a major turning point towards the creation of Heavy Metal) and Donovan, and on solo albums by John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Jeff Beck, and others. 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 their influential LPs Truth and Beck-Ola. He also helped define the "San Francisco sound", playing on albums by Jefferson Airplane, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and Steve Miller Band. He briefly joined Quicksilver Messenger Service and performed with Jefferson Airplane at the Woodstock Festival. In 1968 he played piano with the Swedish psychedelic group Tages on the single "Halcyon Days", produced in Abbey Road Studio. He played on several Nilsson albums in the early 70s, including Nilsson Schmilsson and Son of Schmilsson.

Hopkins played with The Rolling Stones on their studio albums from Between the Buttons in 1967 through Black and Blue in 1976, including the prominent piano parts in "She's a Rainbow" (1967) and "Sympathy for the Devil" (1968). During this period, Hopkins tended to be employed on the Stones' slower, ballad-type songs, with longtime Stones keyboardist Ian Stewart playing on traditional rock numbers and Billy Preston used on soul and funk-influenced tunes. Hopkins also played on Jamming With Edward, an unofficial Stones release that was recorded during the Let It Bleed sessions, while Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts, of the Stones, with Hopkins and Ry Cooder, were waiting for Keith Richards at Keith's Paris flat. The "Edward" of the title was an alias of Nicky Hopkins, derived from his outstanding performance on "Edward, the Mad Shirt Grinder", a song from Quicksilver Messenger Service's Shady Grove LP. Hopkins was added to the Rolling Stones live line-up on the 1971 Good-Bye Britain tour, as well as the notorious 1972 North American Tour and the early 1973 Winter Tour of Australia and New Zealand. He is featured heavily on the classic 1972 Exile on Main St. album. He started to form his own band around this time but decided against it after the Stones tour. He had planned on using Prairie Prince on drums, and Pete Sears on bass. Hopkins failed to make the Stones' 1973 tour of Europe due to ill health and, aside from a guest appearance in 1978, did not play again with the Stones live on stage. He did manage to go on tour with the Jerry Garcia Band, from August 5 to December 31, 1975. He continued to record with the Stones through the sessions for 1976's Black and Blue, and appears on solo records of members of the Stones up to 1991.

Hopkins lived in Mill Valley, California, for several years. During this time he worked with several local dealer bands and continued to record in San Francisco. At the Church Studio in San Anselmo, Marin County, a small jam band formed around Nicky: Bruce Walford, guitar, Larry Holman, drums,and Reb Blake, bass. Hopkins would play his songs and spin tales of his time in London's early rock scene and his father's piano playing in England during World War Two. Hopkins never allowed any of these sessions to be recorded, citing his complete disgust with the music business. 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. Only Quicksilver Messenger Service through its manager Ron Polti and its members gave Hopkins an ownership stake. As a session player, Hopkins was a quick study. The Kinks' song "Session Man" from Face to Face is dedicated to (and features) Hopkins. The Kinks' Ray Davies wrote a memorial piece that appeared in the New York Times after Hopkins' death

Hopkins died aged 50, in Nashville, Tennessee, of complications from intestinal surgery, presumably related to Hopkins' ongoing challenges from 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.

Nicky

6 comments:

Juha said...

Thanks for remembering this GREAT GUY!!!!!!!!

freqazoidiac said...

Wow, I have never seen this LP.
I love Nicky and the trail he left.
What a supporting player and so low key! Amazing. His piano skill is what I look to for inspiration when playing folk rock.
I'm downloading this with glee.
Thanks for posting...
Sad to hear he died so young and of a disease that could have been switched around. Crohn's is candida related and all he needed was..blah blah ... I'm now checking out the rest of your blog. I'll comment to whatever I download.. I'm sad to see not very many comment here either (i run a few blogs) and people are just not very friendly these days.. or just impatient

Mr. Jabb said...

The greatest piano man I've ever heard. I was too old to start playng the piano but there was no way back, this is beyond me. I was really surprised to know Nicky was not just a 'Session Man' as Ray Davies said in 1966, I suspect he was a co-author of many great things we've been listening to since the 60-s. He is so light and easy and hearty... we lack it so much today! It'd be nice to learn more and to write something about him and his time, too many people of this era are still unknown.
And don't be sad, here in Russia we're still listening to great music.

Mr. Jabb said...

The greatest piano man I've ever heard. I was too old to start playng the piano but there was no way back, this is beyond me. I was really surprised to know Nicky was not just a 'Session Man' as Ray Davies said in 1966, I suspect he was a co-author of many great things we've been listening to since the 60-s. He is so light and easy and hearty... we lack it so much today! It'd be nice to learn more and to write something about him and his time, too many people of this era are still unknown.
And don't be sad, here in Russia we're listening to great music.

bobbysu said...

thank you very much

Pat said...

thank you, i'm looking forward to listening to this one.