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Andre Gardner

Weekdays 2:00pm–7:00pm

Promotional portrait of American rock group Quicksilver Messenger Service as they sit on a roof an pet a cat, late 1960s. Left to right, the band is British guitarist Nicky Hopkins (1944 - 1994), American drummer Greg Elmore (with beard), American bass player David Freiberg (fore), and American guitarist John Cipollina (1943 - 1989). (Photo by Capitol Records/Courtesy of Getty Images)

In the 60s and 70s, when many big classic rock bands lacked a keyboard player but needed a part played in their song, there was a pretty good chance they’d seek to utilize the services of a man named Nicky Hopkins.  That’s him on the left petting the cat in the photo above.

Hopkins did play in a couple of popular bands in the 60s, Quicksilver Messenger Service and The Jeff Beck Group, but only briefly, and toured with the Stones in the early 70s until his health prevented him from continuing.   The reason was, for most of his life, he suffered from Crohn’s Disease, and the frequent operations and recovery made it tough to go out on the road.

As it turned out, he became the UK’s most in-demand session man.

He played on all four Beatles solo recordings, and on their fast “Revolution,” and his keyboard prowess and incredible versatility landed him on Nilsson’s “Without You,” The Stones’ “Waiting On A Friend,” “Angie” and “She’s A Rainbow,” not to mention that gorgeous part on Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful,” “Sunny Afternoon” by The Kinks, Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain,” two songs on Who’s Next and FOUR Kinks albums!

And that’s a fraction of his session keyboard work.  Hopkins played keyboards on easily a hundred rock recordings.  Google him and you’ll be blown away by his discography.

Sadly, he passed away 25 years ago today and the very young age of 50, from complications during surgery for his Crohn’s Disease.

On MGK, we are honored to continue his legacy of fine work every day.

@andregardner