Nicky Hopkins was certainly a session man, playing piano and keyboards on some of the best tracks and albums of the 60s and 70s. In part due to health problems, Hopkins never joined a band (some say he turned down the opportunity to join Led Zeppelin when they first formed) but you have definitely heard his music. Ray Davies wrote the song “Session Man” for Hopkins and you can find it on one of the Kinks best records.
Nicky Hopkins can be heard on the single version of “Revolution” by the Beatles, great albums by the Who (My Generation, Who’s Next), as well as many tracks with Jeff Beck, Steve Miller and the Move. This is a good list of the many songs that you can hear that feature Hopkins’ outstanding playing.
But Hopkins is rightly best known for his work with the Rolling Stones. He played on some of their best tracks during their best period. Here is one of his first appearances on a Stones record:
You can also hear Hopkins on one of rock’s best ever songs:
And Hopkins is all over the seminal Exile on Main Street album (Ian Stewart also plays keyboards on several Exile tracks but he is a Joe for another day) and his great playing is prominent here:
A book about Nicky Hopkins (who died in 1994) was recently released in the United States and is recommended.