Sam John "Lightnin" Hopkins was born on March 15, 1912 in Centerville, Texas and at the age of 8 met Blind Lemon Jefferson at a church picnic. He went on to learn guitar from Jefferson and from his cousin, Texas Alexander. Singing in Houston's Third Ward with Alexander in the 1940's, he was discovered by talent scout Lola Anne Cullum of Aladdin Records in Los Angeles. "Katie Mae", recorded in 1946, was his first regional success, and he went on to become one of the most prolific blues singers in recording history with 800-1000 songs recorded.
Mack McCormick. Hopkins appeared at Carnegie Hall with Joan Baez and Pete Seger, and toured with the American Folk Blues Festival. He later performed in Europe and Japan.
Hopkins was the subject of Les Blank's 1967 documentary, "The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins". He died in Houston in 1982.