Rod Stewart – Time

Rod Stewart was the first British Rock lead vocalist I ever saw in concert. I saw Rod Stewart as lead vocalist for The Jeff Beck Group on July 3, 1969. I remember he was quite the dandy. He was tall and strutted across the Fillmore East stage wearing a long white scarf. His voice was very commanding to match his stage presence.

So here we are later in time and I am writing about Rod Stewart’s soon to be released new album, Time (May 7th).

It’s interesting how much has changed in 44 years. I discovered Rod Stewart by accident actually as my goal that night at The Fillmore East was to see my favorite band at the time, Jethro Tull. I didn’t own a lick of Jeff Beck or Rod Stewart’s music before the show. I purchased Beck-Ola on the way to the Subway at The Gramophone.

Today I receive an e-mail from the Rod Stewart mailing list that informs me of the forthcoming album. I navigate with my Web browser to the Rod Stewart Official Website and I become informed about Time and its contents there. I also see that YouTube serves as the video preview point globally for Rod Stewart’s Time. Last but not least I don’t have to leave my easy chair to buy the recording because I can pre-order it  on iTunes or Amazon. Rod Stewart in Internet Time indeed.

 

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Edward The Mad Shirt Grinder – The Beautiful Articulation of Nicky Hopkins

Cover of "Beck-Ola"
Cover of Beck-Ola

Jeff Beck Group HandbillNicky Hopkins is without question rock’s greatest session musician. His signature contributions are still felt strongly today, 18 years after his passing. I continue being blown away by the breadth and depth of Nicky Hopkins piano contributions to rock.history

My first encounter with Nicky Hopkins’s musicianship was with The Jeff Beck Group and Beck-Ola. I saw Nicky Hopkins play with The Jeff Beck Group at the Fillmore East on July 3, 1969. He is depicted performing with The Jeff Beck Group on the cover of this definitive book by Julian Dawson.

Nicky Hopkins got his recording start with Del Shannon. You can hear his piano virtuoso as a lad of 17 on the 1961 hit, “Runaway”.  His frail health (he suffered from Crohn’s disease) forced him into the life of a session musician, where he excelled.

Nicky Hopkins was known as the Sixth Stone. His body of work with the Rolling Stones is immeasurable, ranging from “Ruby Tuesday” to “Waiting On A Friend”.

Nicky moved to Mill Valley, California to improve his health and took up with such San Francisco bands as The Jefferson Airplane and Jerry Garcia Band. He was considered a full-partner in Quicksilver Messenger Service and his touch played a fundamental role in Shady Grove and Just For Love.

The musicians he worked with over the decades were very taken with him.

“It was such a thrill to work for him as well as have him work with me. Every time I hear Joe Cocker’s ‘You Are So Beautiful’ I want to cry before Joe’s even come in. People try to emulate that piano piece, but there’s only one person could have played that—Nicky Hopkins.”
Peter Frampton

He worked with all four of the Beatles when they went solo. I am especially fond of his song, “Edward (The Mad Shirt Grinder)” that he recorded with QMS and on his best solo album, The Tin Man Was A Dreamer George HarrisonMick TaylorKlaus Voormann and Hopkins’ fellow Rolling Stones sidemen Bobby Keys and Jim Price.)