A Session Man and His All-Star LP
Nicky Hopkins may not be a household name, but everyone should be familiar with his work with The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Jefferson Airplane, Jackie Lomax, and Jeff Beck just to name a few.
Hopkins released an album of his own in 1973. This album was totally off my radar until I cracked open the doors of the WUJC record library. As I'm going through the albums, I came across Hopkins' debut album "The Tin Man Was A Dreamer," which arrived at the radio station on April 25, 1973. It was not released in the UK until July.
Unlike many of the albums in the library, the binding is mostly intact and not a scratch can be found on the LP. This album probably hasn't been played in at least 40 years, so it was time to wipe the dust off and give it a second chance. Looking at the suggested cuts list on the album sleeve, the two songs that the WUJC DJs preferred were "Waiting For The Band," and "Speed On."
"Speed On" is my pick hit from this album. Hopkins had an all-star cast playing on this album. On "Speed On" in particular, here the cast list:
Nicky Hopkins - Piano, Vocals
Jerry Lynn Williams - Vocals (Song writer - Eric Clapton, B.B. King)
George O'Hara (aka George Harrison - yes, that George Harrison!) - Lead Guitar
Mick Taylor (John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, The Rolling Stones) - Rhythm Guitar
Klaus Voormann - (Designed the Revolver album cover, member of Manfred Mann) - Bass
Prairie Prince (The Tubes, Journey, Jefferson Starship) - Drums
Ray Cooper (George Harrison, Elton John) - Percussion, Congas
The trio of Bobby Keys, Jim Horn, Jim Price who play sax and trumpet on the Rolling Stones hit "Brown Sugar." Bobby Keys is also famous for once filling a bath tub full of Champaign...and drinking most of it. It takes 300-350 bottles of Champaign to fill up the bath tub. Oh, and he used Dom Perignon Champaign, so that drink cost him $70,000 (in 2020 dollars).
If you are not familiar with Nicky Hopkins, you have heard him play piano on the following songs:
"Sunny Afternoon" - Kinks
"Sympathy For The Devil" - Rolling Stones
"She's A Rainbow" - Rolling Stones
"Volunteers" - Jefferson Airplane
"Legal Matter" - The Who
"Sour Milk Sea" - Jackie Lomax
"Beck's Bolero" - Jeff Beck
With such an all-star cast, what could go wrong? While the album received positive reviews, reporters and fans were more interested with the people around Hopkins. "Were the Beatles reuniting?" "Did Mick Jagger fire Keith Richards?"
The album fell into oblivion, but was reissued for the first time on CD in 1995 by Sony Japan.