Saturday, 16 June 2012

Nicky Hopkins - Waiting For The Band (1973)

Thought of by many as rocks greatest session musician, Nicky Hopkins played piano on countless hit records including The Rolling StonesThe BeatlesThe Kinks, Donovan, Jeff Beck and The Who to name a few and was constantly in demand and at the top of his game during the sixties and seventies.

In 1973, seven years after his first easy listening/ jazz album, CBS offered Hopkins the chance to record another album.  Several of his musician friends who he had sessioned for over the years returned the favour by guesting on the album "The Tin Man Was A Dreamer".  This time round he sings on all of the songs and although he might not have the best voice in the world, it has a certain likeability about it, especially on the second song, my fave on the album, "Waiting For The Band". This song has always reminded me of George Harrison's "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)", not surprisingly really considering that they were both recorded at the same time, in the same studio and that George played slide guitar on "Waiting for the Band" and Hopkins played piano on "Give Me Love".

I've always imagined the lyrics being about his sessions with the Rolling Stones, where the band would book the studio for the day with every intention of turning up at the crack of dawn to get some work done, only to get distracted, eventually turning up at two o'clock in the morning greeted by a very pissed off Hopkins (and most probably Bill Wyman!).

Waiting For The Band - Lyrics

The night was black,
It was the blackest that I've ever seen
I stopped a stranger and asked which way to go
He slapped me on the back
And then he laughed and then he looked at me
Then he said, you can't get there from here
No, no, no, no

Without a road
How can I make it back to you?
Without a light above I cannot find the way
Turn on your love light,
Let it shine like a peek and wait, you see me through
Cause baby how can I be happy without you?

Faster my heart is beating, 
Faster and I'm all alone
Strangers are all around me, 
No one will tell me where to find a phone
It's like sitting in the studio waiting for the band to come
Sitting in the studio waiting for the band to come

And if the band don't come by early in the morning
I'II have to find a way to have myself survive
Cause if the band don't show by early in the morning
Then I'II be over darling, waiting for the band to come

Slower, I'm getting slower 
I've heard these songs so much before
Lower, I'm sinking lower 
Pretty soon you'll find me on the floor
Under the piano waiting for the band to come

Sitting, waiting for the band to come

Nicky Hopkins would continue his career as a session musician right up to his death in 1994 aged only 50, caused by his Crohn's disease, which he suffered from throughout his life.  To see footage of Hopkins in his prime check out the Gimme Some Truth movie where he plays on the sessions for John Lennon's Imagine album.

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