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Encyclopedia > Lightnin' Hopkins
Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins
Birth name Sam Hopkins
Born March 15, 1912(1912-03-15)
Centreville, Texas
Died January 30, 1982 (aged 69)
Houston, Texas
Genre(s) Country blues
Occupation(s) Guitarist / singer-songwriter
Instrument(s) Guitar
Years active 1946-1970s
Label(s) Aladdin Records (US)
Imperial Records
Bluesville Records
Prestige Records
Verve Records
and many others.

Sam "Lightnin’" Hopkins (March 15, 1912January 30, 1982[1]) was a country blues guitarist, from Houston, Texas, United States. is the 74th day of the year (75th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1912 (MCMXII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Sunday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Centerville is a city located in Leon County, Texas. ... For other uses, see Texas (disambiguation). ... is the 30th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday (link displays the 1982 Gregorian calendar). ... Houston redirects here. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... For the UK magazine, see Guitarist (magazine). ... The term singer-songwriter refers to performers who both write and sing their own material. ... A musical instrument is a device constructed or modified for the purpose of making music. ... For other uses, see Guitar (disambiguation). ... Year 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full 1946 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, also called The Seventies. ... In the music industry, a record label can be a brand and a trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. ... Aladdin Records was a post-World War II United States record label, headquartered in Hollywood, California. ... This article is about the Imperial Records label currently owned by EMI. For the previous record labels called Imperial Records, see Imperial Records (1900) and Imperial Records (1920). ... Bluesville Records is a subsidiary of Prestige Records, launched in the 1960s with the primary purpose of documenting the work of the older classic bluesmen passed over by the changing audience. ... Prestige Records was a record label founded in 1949 by Bob Weinstock (October 2, 1928–January 14, 2006). ... Verve Records is an American Jazz record label, founded by Norman Granz in 1956, which absorbed the catalogues of his earlier labels: Norgran Records and Clef Records (founded 1953). ... is the 74th day of the year (75th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1912 (MCMXII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Sunday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... is the 30th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday (link displays the 1982 Gregorian calendar). ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... For the UK magazine, see Guitarist (magazine). ... Houston redirects here. ... For other uses, see Texas (disambiguation). ...

Contents

Life

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.[1] 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.[1] In the mid 1930s, Hopkins was sent to Houston County Prison Farm for an unknown offence.[1] 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. Centerville is a city located in Leon County, Texas. ... Blues music redirects here. ... Blind Lemon Jefferson (October 26, 1894 – December 1929) was an influential blues singer and guitarist from Texas. ... Buffalo is a city located in Leon County, Texas. ... Twice removed redirects here. ... This article, image, template or category belongs in one or more categories. ... The 1930s were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression, also known as the [[. In East Asia, the rise of militarism occurred. ...


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.[1] 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". When the city of Houston was founded in 1836 and incorporated in 1837, its founders—John Kirby Allen and Augustus Chapman Allen—divided it into political geographic districts called wards. ... Los Angeles and L.A. redirect here. ... In the music industry, a record label can be a brand and a trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. ... Aladdin Records was a post-World War II United States record label, headquartered in Hollywood, California. ... A pianist is a person who plays the piano. ... The duet, by Hendrik ter Brugghen A duet is a musical composition or piece for two performers, most often used for a vocal or piano duet. ... “Sound recorder” redirects here. ... This article is about the musical composition. ... See also: 1945 in music, other events of 1946, 1947 in music and the list of years in music. // Events February 8 - Béla Bartóks Piano Concerto No. ...


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. Gold Star Record by Cajun star Harry Choates Gold Star Records was a record label issued by the Quinn Recording Company of Houston, Texas in the mid-20th century. ... This article is about the Midwestern region in the United States. ... Red shows states east of the Mississippi River, pink shows states not fully eastern or western The U.S. Eastern states are the states east of the Mississippi River. ... For other uses, see Concert (disambiguation). ... Laser lights illuminate the dance floor at a Gatecrasher dance music event in Sheffield, England A nightclub (or night club or club) is a drinking, dancing, and entertainment venue which does its primary business after dark. ... A sound recording, usually in the form of a single or album, that sells a large number of copies or otherwise becomes broadly popular or well-known, through airplay, club play, or inclusion in a soundtrack. ... There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ... An African American (also Afro-American, Black American, or simply black) is a member of an ethnic group in the United States whose ancestors, usually in predominant part, were indigenous to Africa. ... For more information on fans of football (soccer), see Football (soccer) culture. ...


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.[1] 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. Folkloristics is the formal academic study of folklore such as fairy tales and folk mythology in oral or non-literary traditions. ... A roots revival (folk revival) is a trend which includes young performers popularizing the traditional musical styles of their ancestors. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street. ... is the 287th day of the year (288th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Joan Chandos Baez (born January 9, 1941) is an American folk singer and songwriter known for her highly individual vocal style. ... Peter Seeger (born May 3, 1919), better known as Pete Seeger, is a folk singer, political activist, and a key figure in the mid-20th century American folk music revival. ... Tradition Records was an American record label that existed from 1955 to 1961. ...


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; [2]; and play a six-city tour of Japan in 1978. An album or record album is a collection of related audio or music tracks distributed to the public. ... Psychedelic rock is a style of rock music that attempts to replicate the mind-altering experiences of hallucinogenic drugs. ... In music, a band is a company of musicians, or musical ensemble, usually popular or folk, playing parts of or improvising a musical arrangement on different musical instruments. ... The 13th Floor Elevators was a psychedelic rock music group founded in Austin, Texas in late 1965. ... Folk song redirects here. ... A music festival is a festival oriented towards music that is sometimes presented with a theme such as musical genre, nationality or locality of musicians, or holiday. ... For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American... For other uses, see Fear of flying (disambiguation). ... The American Folk Blues Festival (also American Folk-Blues Festival, and AFBF) was a music festival that toured the United States and Europe beginning in 1962. ...


Filmmaker Les Blank captured the Texas troubadour's informal lifestyle most vividly in his acclaimed 1967 documentary, The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins.[1] Les Blank (b. ... Documentary film is a broad category of cinematic expression united by the intent to remain factual or non-fictional. ...


Houston's poet-in-residence for 35 years, Hopkins recorded more albums than any other bluesman.[2] This article is about the art form. ...


Hopkins died of cancer in Houston in 1982.[2] Cancer is a class of diseases or disorders characterized by uncontrolled division of cells and the ability of these to spread, either by direct growth into adjacent tissue through invasion, or by implantation into distant sites by metastasis (where cancer cells are transported through the bloodstream or lymphatic system). ...


Style

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. Fingerpicking is playing the guitar using the fingertips or fingernails, rather than with a plectrum (or pick). It is usually used in Classical guitar styles, and some other acoustic styles, but it has found its way into other genres as well, including rock and roll, although its use in such... A sunburst-colored Fender Precision Bass The electric bass guitar (or electric bass[1][2]; pronounced , as in base) is a bass stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers (either by plucking, slapping, popping, or tapping) or using a pick. ... For other uses, see Rhythm (disambiguation). ... General Name, Symbol, Number lead, Pb, 82 Chemical series Post-transition metals or poor metals Group, Period, Block 14, 6, p Appearance bluish gray Standard atomic weight 207. ... Percussion instruments are played by being struck, shaken, rubbed or scraped. ... In music a singer or vocalist is a type of musician who sings, i. ... In jazz, a turnaround is a passage at the end of a section which leads to the next section. ...


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 all the 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. The 12-bar blues has a distinctive form in both lyrics and chord structure. ... Talking blues is a sub genre of the blues music genre. ... A double entendre is a figure of speech similar to the pun, in which a spoken phrase can be understood in either of two ways. ...

Statue of Lightnin' Hopkins in Texas
Statue of Lightnin' Hopkins in Texas

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..."[2]

Influence

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. Austin is the capital of the U.S. state of Texas and the seat of Travis County. ... This article is about the genre. ... Jimi Hendrix (November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was an American guitar virtuoso, singer and songwriter. ... A 12-inch record (left), a 7-inch record (right), and a CD (above) Two 7 singles (left), two colored 7 singles (middle), and two 7 singles with large spindle holes (right). ... Jimmie Vaughan (born in March 21, 1951 in Dallas, Texas) is an American blues guitarist and singer. ... This page is about a musician. ... A keyboardist is a musician who plays keyboard instruments. ... This article is about the band. ... Townes Van Zandt (March 7, 1944 – January 1, 1997) was a country-folk music singer-songwriter, performer, and poet. ... A songwriter is someone who writes the lyrics to songs, the musical composition or melody to songs, or both. ... For other uses, see Concert (disambiguation). ... Doyle Bramhall II (born 24 December 1968) is a guitarist and vocalist in his band Smokestack and is also the second guitarist in Eric Claptons band. ... For other uses, see Tattoo (disambiguation). ...


The Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist, John Frusciante, was influenced by listening to Hopkins around the time of his Stadium Arcadium recordings. This article is about the band. ... John Anthony Frusciante (IPA pronunciation: ) (born March 5, 1970) is an American guitarist, singer, songwriter and record producer. ...


A song named after him was recorded by R.E.M. on their album Document. R.E.M. is an American rock band formed in Athens, Georgia in 1980 by Bill Berry (drums), Peter Buck (guitar), Mike Mills (bass guitar), and Michael Stipe (vocals). ... Document is the fifth studio album by R.E.M. and their sixth overall. ...


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. The Houston Chronicle is a daily newspaper in Houston, Texas, United States. ... Library entrance The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum is the presidential library of George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States. ... A music video is a short film or video that accompanies a complete piece of music, most commonly a song. ...


Hopkins’ Gibson J-160e guitar is on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at sunset. ... Cleveland redirects here. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ...


Selected discography

  • 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 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
  • 1995 - Po' Lightning
  • 1999 - The Very Best of Lightnin' Hopkins

This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Tradition Records was an American record label that existed from 1955 to 1961. ... Bluesville Records is a subsidiary of Prestige Records, launched in the 1960s with the primary purpose of documenting the work of the older classic bluesmen passed over by the changing audience. ... Fire Records was an independent record label set up in 1959 by Bobby Robinson (record producer, label owner). ... Blues in My Bottle is an album by Lightnin Hopkins. ... The Roots of Lightnin Hopkins is a 1965 album by Lightnin Hopkins. ... Verve Records is an American Jazz record label, founded by Norman Granz in 1956, which absorbed the catalogues of his earlier labels: Norgran Records and Clef Records (founded 1953). ... Kent Records was a record label launched in the late fifties. ... Arhoolie Records is a small record label run by Chris Strachwitz. ... International Artists Records (IA) is a current and active recording company based in New York City which started in 1956 for the express purpose of furthering classical music. ...

Films

  • 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.'

2008 (MMVIII) will be a leap year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Documentary film is a broad category of cinematic expression united by the intent to remain factual or non-fictional. ...

Books

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

Dan Bowden is a member of New England band Stingy Brimm. ...

See also

Performers in the blues style range from primitive, one-chord Delta players to big bands to country music to rock and roll to classical music. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Six Strings Down is a song written by Eric Kolb, Aaron Neville, Cyril Neville, Kelsey Smith, and Jimmie Vaughan, and which first appeared on Jimmie Vaughans album Strange Pleasure in 1995. ...

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g All Music Guide biography
  2. ^ a b c d Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited, p. 145-146. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  • 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

is the 359th day of the year (360th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 359th day of the year (360th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ...

 
 

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