Lightnin' Hopkins

Lightnin' Hopkins

Infobox Musical artist
Name = Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins

Img_capt =
Img_size =
Landscape =
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Sam Hopkins
Alias =
Born = birth date|1912|03|15
Centreville, Texas
Died = death date and age|1982|01|30|1912|03|15
Houston, Texas
Origin =
Instrument = Guitar
Voice_type =
Genre = Country blues
Occupation = Guitarist / singer-songwriter
Years_active = 1946-1970s
Label = Aladdin Records (US)
Imperial Records
Bluesville Records
Prestige Records
Verve Records
and many others.
Associated_acts =
Current_members =
Past_members =
Notable_instruments =

Sam "Lightnin’" Hopkins (March 15 1912January 30 1982) was a country blues guitarist, from Houston, Texas, United States.


Born in Centerville, Texas, Hopkins love for the blues was sparked at the age of 8 when he met Blind Lemon Jefferson at a church picnic in Buffalo, Texas. That day, Hopkins felt the blues was "in him" and went on to learn from his older (somewhat distant) cousin, country blues singer Alger "Texas" Alexander. In the mid 1930s, Hopkins was sent to Houston County Prison Farm for an unknown offense. In the late 1930s Hopkins moved to Houston with Alexander in an unsuccessful attempt to break into the music scene there. By the early 1940s he was back in Centerville working as a farm hand.

Hopkins took at second shot at Houston in 1946. While singing on Dowling St. in Houston's Third Ward (which would become his home base) he was discovered by Lola Anne Cullum from the Los Angeles based record label, Aladdin Records. She convinced Hopkins to travel to L.A. where he accompanied pianist Wilson Smith. The duo recorded twelve tracks in their first sessions in 1946. An Aladdin Records executive decided the pair needed more dynamism in their names and dubbed Hopkins "Lightnin'" and Wilson "Thunder".

Hopkins recorded more sides for Aladdin in 1947 but soon grew homesick. He returned to Houston and began recording for the Gold Star Records label. During the late 40s and 1950s Hopkins rarely performed outside Texas. However, he recorded prolifically. Occasionally traveling to the Mid-West and Eastern United States for recording sessions and concert appearances. It has been estimated that he recorded between 800 and 1000 songs during his career. He performed regular at clubs in and around Houston, particularly in Dowling St. where he had first been discovered. He recorded his hits "T-Model Blues" and "Tim Moore's Farm" at SugarHill Recording Studios in Houston. By the mid to late 1950s his prodigious output of quality recordings had gained him a following among African Americans and blues music aficionados.

In 1959 Hopkins was contacted by folklorist Mack McCormick who hoped to bring him to the attention of the broader musical audience which was caught up in the folk revival. McCormack presented Hopkins to integrated audiences first in Houston and then in California. Hopkins debuted at Carnegie Hall on October 14 1960 appearing alongside Joan Baez and Pete Seeger performing the spiritual "Oh, Mary Don’t You Weep." In 1960, he signed to Tradition Records. Solid recordings followed including his masterpiece song "Mojo Hand" in 1960.

By the early 1960s Lightnin' Hopkins reputation as one of the most compelling blues performers was cemented. He had finally earned the success and recognition which were overdue. In 1968, Hopkins recorded the album "Free Form Patterns" backed by the rhythm section of psychedelic rock band the 13th Floor Elevators. Through the 1960s and into the 1970s Hopkins released one or sometimes two albums a year and toured, playing at major folk festivals and at folk clubs and on college campuses in the U.S. and internationally. He travelled widely in the United States, and overcame his fear of flying to join the 1964 American Folk Blues Festival; visit Germany and the Netherlands 13 years later; ; and play a six-city tour of Japan in 1978. Filmmaker Les Blank captured the Texas troubadour's informal lifestyle most vividly in his acclaimed 1967 documentary, "The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins". [ All Music Guide biography] ]

Houston's poet-in-residence for 35 years, Hopkins recorded more albums than any other bluesman.

Hopkins died of cancer in Houston in 1982.cite book
first= Tony
last= Russell
year= 1997
title= The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray
publisher= Carlton Books Limited
location= Dubai
pages= p. 145-146
id= ISBN 1-85868-255-X


Hopkins' style was born from spending many hours playing informally without a backing band. His distinctive fingerstyle playing often included playing, in effect, bass, rhythm, lead, percussion, and vocals, all at the same time. He played both "alternating" and "monotonic" bass styles incorporating imaginative, often chromatic turnarounds and single note lead lines. Tapping or slapping the body of his guitar added rhythmic accompaniment.

Much of Hopkins' music follows the standard 12-bar blues template but his phrasing was very free and loose. Many of his songs were in the talking blues style, but he was a powerful and confident singer. Lyrically his songs chronicled the problems of life in the segregated south, bad luck in love and other usual subjects of the blues idiom. He did however deal with these subjects with humor and good nature. Many of his songs are filled with double entendres and he was known for his humorous introductions.

Some of his songs were of warning and sour prediction like "Fast Life Woman":

:"You may see a fast life woman sittin' round a whiskey joint,:"Yes, you know, she'll be sittin' there smilin',:" 'Cause she knows some man gonna buy her half a pint,:"Take it easy, fast life woman, 'cause you ain't gon' live always..."


Hopkins was an influence on local musicians around Houston and Austin, Texas in the 1950s and 1960s. His recordings from the early 1960s reveal a lead guitar style that anticipated the popular blues based rock guitar of the later 1960s. Jimi Hendrix reportedly became interested in blues music listening to Lightnin’ Hopkins records with his father. He was an influence on Jimmie Vaughan's work and on the vocals and blues style of Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, the keyboardist of the Grateful Dead until 1972. He was also an important influence on Townes Van Zandt, the Texan folk/blues songwriter and performer, who often performed Hopkins numbers in his live concerts. Doyle Bramhall II is another Texas artist who was influenced by Hopkins, as evidenced by a tattoo of Hopkins on his upper left arm.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist, John Frusciante, was influenced by listening to Hopkins around the time of his Stadium Arcadium recordings.

A song named after him was recorded by R.E.M. on their album "Document".

The "Houston Chronicle" included Hopkins in their list of "100 Tall Texans", 100 important Texans who influenced the world. The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum included Hopkins in a 100 Tall Texans exhibit that opened in September 2006. The display included Hopkins' Guild Starfire electric guitar and performance video.

Hopkins’ Gibson J-160e guitar (on loan from the Joe Kessler Collection) is on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

Lightnin' is number 71 on Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Link []


*1959 - "Lightnin' Hopkins Strums the Blues" (Score)
*1959 - "Lightnin' Hopkins" (Folkways)
*1959 - "Lightnin' and the Blues" (Herald)
*1960 - "Country Blues" (Tradition Records)
*1960 - "Last Night Blues" (Bluesville Records)
*1960 - "Mojo Hand" (Fire Records)
*1960 - "Lightnin' " (Bluesville)
*1961 - "Autobiography in Blues" (Tradition)
*1962 - "Walkin' This Road By Myself" (Bluesville)
*1962 - "Lightnin' and Co." (Bluesville)
*1962 - "Lightnin' Strikes" (Vee-Jay Records)
*1963 - "Blues Hoot" (Vee-Jay Records; live at The Ash Grove 1961 w/ Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, and Big Joe Williams)
*1963 - "Blues in My Bottle" (Bluesville)
*1963 - "Smokes Like Lightnin' " (Bluesville)
*1963 - "Goin' Away" (Bluesville)
*1964 - "Down Home Blues" (Bluesville)
*1965 - "Hootin' the Blues" (Bluesville)
*1965 - "Lightnin' Strikes" (Tradition)
*1965 - "The Roots of Lightnin' Hopkins" (Verve Folkways)
*1966 - "Soul Blues" (Bluesville)
*1967 - "My Life in the Blues" (Bluesville)
*1967 - "Original Folk Blues" (Kent Records)
*1967 - "Lightnin'!" (Arhoolie Records)
*1968 - "Freeform Patterns" (International Artists Records)
*1991 - "Swarthmore Concert Live, 1964"
*1991 - "Sittin' in with Lightnin' Hopkins"(Mainstream Records)
*1991 - "The Hopkins Bros." (Arhoolie Records, with his brothers Joel and John Henry)
*1992 - "Lonesome Life" (Home Cooking/Collectables)
*1995 - "Po' Lightning"
*1999 - "The Very Best of Lightnin' Hopkins"


*"The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins" (1969). Directed by Les Blank and Skip Gerson (Flower Films & Video).
*As of 2008, a film documentary on Hopkins was in production with Fastcut Films of Houston, entitled 'Where Lightnin' Strikes.'
* The movie Take This Hammer features Lightnin' Hopkins' Mojo Hand in its soundtrack,


* "Lightnin’ Hopkins: Blues Guitar Legend" by Dan Bowden
* "Deep Down Hard Blues: Tribute to Lightnin" by Sarah Ann West

ee also

*List of blues musicians
*Texas blues
*Six Strings Down


*"The Encyclopedia of Folk, Country & Western Music" by Irwin Stambler and Grellun Landon, second edition. St. Martin's Press 1983. ISBN 0-312-24818-0
*Liner notes to CD "Country Blues" Ryko/Tradition Records

External links

* [ Blues Foundation Hall of Fame Induction, 1980]
* [ "Houston Chronicle" story about dedication of Lightnin' Hopkins statue]
* [ Hopkins feature on Big Road Blues]
* [ - accessed December 25 2007]
* [ - accessed December 25 2007]
* [ "Where Lightnin Strikes" Documentary Film]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

См. также в других словарях:

  • Lightnin' Hopkins — par Jules Grandgagnage, 2011 Sam Lightnin Hopkins (né le 15 mars 1912 et mort le 30 janvier 1982) était un chanteur et guitariste de blues texan …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Lightnin' Hopkins — Sam Hopkins, bekannt unter dem Künstlernamen Lightnin’ Hopkins (* 15. März 1912 in Centerville, Texas; † 30. Januar 1982 in Houston, Texas) war ein US amerikanischer Blues Sänger und Gitarrist. Er gilt als einflussreicher Vertreter des Texas… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Lightnin’ Hopkins — Porträt Lightnin Hopkins. Jules Grandgagnage, 2011 Sam Hopkins, bekannt unter dem Künstlernamen Lightnin’ Hopkins (* 15. März 1912 in Centerville, Texas; † 30. Januar 1982 in Houston, Texas) war ein afroame …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Lightnin' Hopkins — Sam Lightnin Hopkins Estatua de Lightnin Hopkins en Texas Datos generales Nombre real Sam Hopkins …   Wikipedia Español

  • Lightnin’ Hopkins — Sam Hopkins …   Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games

  • The Roots of Lightnin' Hopkins — Infobox Album | Name = The Roots of Lightnin Hopkins Type = Album Artist = Lightnin Hopkins Released = 1965 Recorded = Samuel B. Charters Genre = Blues Length = ? Label = Verve Folkways Producer = Folkways Records Reviews = * Allmusic… …   Wikipedia

  • Sam Lightnin' Hopkins — Sam Hopkins, bekannt unter dem Künstlernamen Lightnin’ Hopkins (* 15. März 1912 in Centerville, Texas; † 30. Januar 1982 in Houston, Texas) war ein US amerikanischer Blues Sänger und Gitarrist. Er gilt als einflussreicher Vertreter des Texas… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sam Lightnin’ Hopkins — Sam Hopkins, bekannt unter dem Künstlernamen Lightnin’ Hopkins (* 15. März 1912 in Centerville, Texas; † 30. Januar 1982 in Houston, Texas) war ein US amerikanischer Blues Sänger und Gitarrist. Er gilt als einflussreicher Vertreter des Texas… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Hopkins (Name) — Hopkins ist ein Familienname und ein Vorname aus dem angelsächsischen Sprachbereich. Bekannte Namensträger des Familiennamens Inhaltsverzeichnis A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Hopkins — is an English and Irish patronymic surname meaning son of Hob . Hob derives from a short form of Robert. The name is also common in Ireland, where it may be an Anglicisation of the Gaelic name Mac Oibicin , of uncertain derivation. Hopkins is an… …   Wikipedia

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