The memorial plaque that marks the childhood home of the late, hugely revered session keyboard player Nicky Hopkins has won further official endorsement. It has now been accepted for inclusion by Google Maps in its delineation of the local area, in the London borough of Ealing, in west London.
The commemorative Ealing Civic Society plaque was unveiled in October 2019 on the wall of Hopkins’ former home at 38 Jordan Road, Perivale. The ceremony was performed by his widow Moira with the Mayor of Ealing, Councillor Abdullah Gulaid, and John Wood. He has spearheaded the campaign for greater recognition of Hopkins.
The keyboard player is known and respected for his work with The Beatles, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, George Harrison, and many more. There has also been heightened lobbying in recent years for him to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a documentary about his life is in production. There is also a memorial bench in his name in nearby Perivale Park, to which contributors included Yoko Ono, Jimmy Page, Roger Daltrey and all members of the Stones.
The piano and organ player was born in Perivale in 1944 and showed his prowess from his very early years. He went on to win a scholarship to London’s Royal Academy of Music, but suffered from Crohn’s disease, which led to his untimely death, after complications resulting from intestinal surgery relating to the condition, at the age of 50 in 1944.
Despite his poor health, Hopkins left a huge mark on the history of British and international rock. As a teenager, he played with British combos Screaming Lord Sutch’s Savages and the Cyril Davies All-Stars. He then developed close associations with the Kinks (playing on four 1960s albums including 1968’s The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society) and the Rolling Stones, on all but one of their LPs from 1967 to 1981 (excelling on “Street Fighting Man,” “Fool To Cry” et al).
Other groups to benefit from his brilliant playing included The Who, who wanted him to join the line-up in 1965; the Jeff Beck Group, of which he was a member from 1967-69; and A-list American outfits such as Jefferson Airplane, the New Riders of the Purple Sage, the Steve Miller Band, and the Jerry Garcia Band. He also made three solo albums.
Hopkins also had the distinction of playing with each of the four Beatles on their solo work, such as on John Lennon’s Imagine (playing the unforgettable piano on “Jealous Guy”), Harrison’s Living in the Material World (including beautiful work on “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth),” Ringo Starr’s Ringo and Paul McCartney’s Flowers in the Dirt. The Nicky Hopkins Scholarship was created at the Royal Academy of Music on what would have been his 75th birthday, in 2019; in January 2021, it was awarded for the second consecutive year to German jazz pianist Lukas DeRungs.