The musicologist Robert “Mack” McCormick believed that Hopkins is “the personification of the jazz-and-poetry spirit, representing its ancient type in the single creator whose words and music are one act”.
Hopkins was Houston’s poet-in-residence for 35 years. He recorded more albums than any other bluesman.
Hopkins died of esophageal cancer in Houston on January 30, 1982, at the age of 69. His obituary in the New york city Times explained him as “one of the terrific nation blues vocalists and maybe the biggest single impact on rock guitarist.”
His Gibson J-160e “hollowbox” is on screen at the Rock Hall of Popularity in Cleveland, and his Guild Starfire at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC, both on loan from the Joe Kessler collection.