Nicky Hopkins, "Session Man"

Hopkins Played On Well-Known Records While Dealing With Crohn's Disease

Nicky Hopkins
Nicky Hopkins was a musician among musicians -- he may not be known to lay people, but everyone knows the music he played. Image © Michael Ochs / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Pianist Nicky Hopkins, born in London on February 24, 1944, amassed more than 500 album credits in his career. Hopkins was a “session” musician, who played piano on releases by The Beatles, The Who, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, David Bowie, and The Kinks. He also lived with Crohn’s disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

IBD Surgery In The 50s and 60s

Hopkins’ health problems started at an early age, and in the 1950s and 1960s, there was not much knowledge about Crohn’s disease and how to treat it.

He underwent several surgeries, including the removal of one kidney and parts of his intestines. At the age of 19, Hopkins spent 18 months in the hospital. Doctors were not sure that he would live.

Hopkins' Work In The Studio With Famous Bands

In the 1960s Hopkins played piano for bands such as Screaming Lord Sutch's Savages, The Cyril Davies R&B All-Stars, The Jeff Beck Group, and Quicksilver Messenger Service. In 1972, he toured with The Rolling Stones and The Jerry Garcia Band. Touring was difficult for Hopkins due to his poor health, and he became more comfortable working in the studio.

Hopkins died at the age of 50 in 1994, reportedly from complications after abdominal surgery. He was working on his biography at the time of his death.

Solo Discography:

  • 1966 - Revolutionary Piano Of Nicky Hopkins
  • 1973 - The Tin Man Was A Dreamer
  • 1975 - No More Changes

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