Nicky Hopkins Documentary, ‘The Session Man,’ Getting World Premiere

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Nicky Hopkins, performing with the Stones during their 1968 Rock and Roll Circus taping

Legendary keyboardist Nicky Hopkins is the subject of a new documentary that tells the story of the gifted session performer who played with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who, Jeff Beck, and dozens of other classic rock stars. The Session Man has been completed and is ready for distribution. The film, directed by Michael Treen, has sold-out its world premiere at the Doc’n Roll Film Festival at the Barbican Centre in London on October 26, 2023. [The producers had sought financial help to defray costs of licensing the 39 tracks that are featured in the film in order to exhibit it at film festivals. A crowdfunding effort, concluded in early April, successfully raised £10,310 with 118 supporters in 35 days. At various levels, contributors could attend a private screening, get an end credit, and even be listed as an Associate Producer.] Click here for details and watch the trailer below.

Hopkins’ long association with the Rolling Stones included studio credits on Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, and Exile On Main Street. His tours with the band included their legendary 1972 trek to the U.S. In 1968, Hopkins performed with the Rolling Stones at the 1968 taping of their legendary Rock and Roll Circus film. “Give him a chance,” says Keith Richards in The Session Man, “and he could play just about anything.”

Among his scores of career highlights was performing with Jefferson Airplane at the 1969 Woodstock festival.

He worked on solo albums by all four of the Beatles including John Lennon’s Imagine, George Harrison’s Living In the Material World, Ringo Starr’s Ringo and Paul McCartney’s Flowers In the Dirt.

All his life Hopkins suffered from Crohn’s disease, a crippling and agonizing abdominal illness. He died in 1994 at age 50 on an operating table in Nashville. The Rolling Stones picked up most of his hospital bills.

In his career, Hopkins played on over 250 albums. The Session Man’s narrator, Bob Harris, former presenter of the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test, had no hesitation at the end of the 90-minute film in confirming that, “Nicky Hopkins’ contributions made him rock and roll’s greatest session man.” “And on piano, the legendary Nicky Hopkins…”

Related: Our feature story on Nicky Hopkins

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7 Comments so far

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  1. Rich
    #1 Rich 6 March, 2023, 18:49

    Nicky played smokin hot piano on Jeff Beck’s first album, Truth. His solo was awe inspiring.

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  2. John G
    #2 John G 10 March, 2023, 15:31

    Nicky Hopkins was the front man on the Shady Grove lp by Quicksilver Messenger Service.

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  3. Louis
    #3 Louis 14 March, 2023, 16:00

    Nicky played on Steve Miller’s album “Your Saving Grace.” Listen to the beautiful work by Nicky on the 8 plus minute Baby’s House.

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  4. Steve A.
    #4 Steve A. 3 October, 2023, 13:14

    Not to mention, he played on The Kinks’ “Face To Face” album. The song “ Session Man” was written with him in mind.

    Reply this comment
  5. Concertrader3
    #5 Concertrader3 4 October, 2023, 08:00

    Saw Nicky Hopkins in Jerry Garcia’s band at the Capitol Theatre in Pasaic NJ in the mid 70s. Amazing show.
    The opening act was either Wilbur Harrison who had the hit Kansas City. He was literally a one man band or it was a magician. I had seen two Garcia shows there. Only one had Hopkins

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  6. Dr. Mikey
    #6 Dr. Mikey 4 October, 2023, 14:40

    Nicky’s baroque piano on “She’s a Rainbow” always blows me away.

    Reply this comment
  7. Eugene Skuratowicz
    #7 Eugene Skuratowicz 29 November, 2023, 13:54

    Nicky Hopkins also plays all over the live double album ‘NAUGHT AGAIN’ by the band ZERO (Steve Kimock, Greg Anton, Nicky Hopkins, Vince Welnick, Pete Sears, etc.) from their 1992 3-night concert run at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall (‘NAUGHT AGAIN’ was released in 2022 by OMNIVORE RECORDINGS). The live MC those 3 nights in 1992 was Robert Hunter himself, the Grateful Dead & ZERO lyricist.

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