-----------Oh Dear! It is with immense grief that I have just learned of the death from leukemia yesterday of one of my all-time music heroes, Hugh Hopper. He had been seriously ill for a year, but this news is devastating.
All aficionados of the so-called Canterbury scene, and there are many here in Indonesia, will know what a sad loss this is.
Probably best known as the fuzz bass player with Soft Machine from one track on Soft Machine One, which they toured around the USA as support group for Jimi Hendrix with Hugh as the roadie, to the Sixth, for the past forty years he carved an individual even idiosyncratic path with compatible musicians. Like all master musicians, you can instantly recognise his voice and tone which, befitting a bass player, he generally used to support his fellow musicians.
He is less well-known as a composer, yet Robert Wyatt will attest to his melodic capabilities. Probably the most 'famous' song is Memories which was recorded by Whitney Houston back in the late sixties long before she became a diva.
He was a modest man in life, far from the archetypal rock star.
I last met him on Sunday 8th September 1974 - was it really that long ago? - outside the Drury Lane Theatre in London just before a concert by Robert Wyatt and Friends, a concert which was a sought after bootleg but is now available on a properly mastered CD released by Rykodisc/Hannibal.
I was with the mother of Son No.1, who'd known Hugh and many of the 'Canterbury Scene' in their earlier days. Hugh reminded her that she'd read his palm back then and predicted a steady yet not famous career in music. This he told her was what he had, and he was grateful.
And so are very many of us.
I'm not sure what else to say, so here is an interview, including a short discography, he gave to All About Jazz a year ago.