Richard Thompson
British musician
Richard Thompson
Richard John Thompson OBE is a British songwriter, guitarist and recording and performing musician. Highly regarded for his guitar techniques and strange, darkly-funny lyrics, Thompson was awarded the Orville H. Gibson award for best acoustic guitar player in 1991. Similarly, his songwriting has earned him an Ivor Novello Award and, in 2006, a lifetime achievement award from BBC Radio.
Biography
Richard Thompson's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Richard Thompson from around the web
Is Tyranny Around the Corner?
NYTimes - 10 months
A Washington Post piece claimed that a sizable number of Americans are supposedly wary about democracy, and Andrew Sullivan has written that Trump's rise shows that we're ripe for tyranny. Others have spoken of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders as dual demagogues. But are Americans looking for an autocrat to take charge or simply a government that gets things done, works in their interest and truly represents them? Is America tired of democracy, or yearning for more of it? Responses: A History of Unwarranted Fears of Tyranny Jim Sleeper, Yale University The Lure of Populism Weakens the Republic Linda Chavez, former Reagan official Trump's Rise Represents Democracy in Action Geoff Blades, Author, "The Trump Presidential Playbook" Some Are Fed Up With Democracy; Most Want More of It Richard Thompson Ford ...
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NYTimes article
Joan Baez Celebrates 75th Birthday With a Batch of Old Friends and Great Songs (Bob's There in Spirit)
Huffington Post - 10 months
Joan Baez gets taken for granted sometimes, and her new birthday concert on PBS reminds us why that should not happen. Joan Baez 75th Birthday Celebration, which premieres Friday at 9 p.m. ET on Ch. 13 in New York and airs on most other PBS stations in June, serves as a kind of highlight tour through a career that has stretched into seven decades. No one stays around in music that long without taste and talent, both of which are evident throughout the 17-song evening. While Baez is probably best described as a folksinger, she has always drawn her music from many wells, and on this night that includes Stephen Foster, whose "Hard Times Come Again No More" she performs as a duet with Emmylou Harris (above). She goes to the gospel well for "Oh Freedom" with Mavis Staples and a solo "Swing Low Sweet Chariot," which she prefaces with a story about singing it for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In keeping with her standard practice, Baez doesn't banter much between songs ...
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Huffington Post article
Viking's Choice: Cian Nugent, 'Lost Your Way'
NPR - about 1 year
The Irish guitarist gets into full-blown singer-songwriter mode for his third album. The chooglin' opener "Lost Your Way" channels Richard Thompson jamming with The Velvet Underground.
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NPR article
Richard Thompson On Mountain Stage
NPR - almost 2 years
Hear a 1999 performance by one of England's best-loved singer-songwriters and guitarists. » E-Mail This
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NPR article
Snap, crackle, pop: study reveals secret behind knuckle-cracking
Yahoo News - almost 2 years
Researchers said on Wednesday they have settled the issue of what occurs inside knuckles to trigger the familiar popping sound, thanks to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) experiments that they jokingly dubbed the "pull my finger study." It turns out the cracking is caused by the rapid formation of a gas-filled cavity within a slippery substance called synovial fluid that lubricates the space between the finger bones, they said. "I quite like the sound, but that's my inner nerd talking," said Greg Kawchuk, a professor of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, who led the study published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. The first scientific study on this topic, in 1947, suggested - quite correctly, as it turns out - the sound came from formation of a gas cavity inside the joint. Fryer was so adept that Kawchuk called him "the Wayne Gretzky of knuckle-cracking." "Rapid imaging with MRI was ideal for these studies because it allowed clear visualization ...
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Yahoo News article
Golden line-up for 50th Towersey Festival
The Bucks Herald - about 3 years
Folk legends Richard Thompson (a founder member of (Fairport Convention), Seth Lakeman and Lau are confirmed for the half century birthday of the famed independent Towersey Festival.
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The Bucks Herald article
Letter to editor: Faith in God's Word
Bolivar Mo News - about 3 years
This Christmas season, columnist Richard Thompson has once again taken opportunity to express his view that the Bible is unreliable (see his column in the Dec. 25 issue of the BH-FP).
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Bolivar Mo News article
It's A Family Affair On Linda Thompson's 'Won't Be Long Now'
NPR - over 3 years
The singer-songwriter's new album sounds like a collection of songs that could have been sung a hundred years ago, or written and recorded just a few weeks ago. She's joined on the album by her ex-husband, Richard Thompson, and their three children. » E-Mail This     » Add to Del.icio.us
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NPR article
Father Ray Leonard Sues DOD And Wins After Government Shuts Down Catholic Religious Services On Base
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Father Ray Leonard and Fred Naylor, a veteran who attends Catholic services at the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia, sued the Department of Defense for violating their First Amendment right of religious expression and outreach, reports CNN. The government almost immediately reversed the decision a mere day after the suit as "three attorneys from the Department of Justice contacted TMLC attorney Erin Mersino by phone and indicated that Father Leonard could resume all of his religious duties beginning this morning, and that the Chapel would be open for all Catholic activities," reports Thomas More Law Center, which represents Leonard and Naylor. The Navy chain of command confirmed the orders. Filed on Monday, the federal lawsuit challenged the Department of Defense's furlough of civilian priests, which "prohibited a Catholic Priest from celebrating Mass at a Naval base under threat of arrest and barred the Chapel to Catholic religious services due to the government shutdown," ...
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Huffington Post article
Health Briefs: Sept. 18
Blue Ridge Now - over 3 years
ASHEVILLE Support group for those with eating disorders Balance Point Collaborative at 263 Haywood St., Suite 100, in Asheville is hosting “New Voice,” a peer-led support group for those in recovery from eating disorders, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month. Every month, speakers will share their stories of hope and success. Speakers include staff, former clients and community members. There will also be topic-centered and open discussion among participants. The recovery support groups are run by handselected peers who have shown a willingness and desire to continue their path to recovery and have personal experience with eating disorders. For more information, call 828-348-6922 or visit www.balancepointnc.com. BREVARD Parkinson’s group fundraiser on Sunday The second Brevard-Hendersonville Parkinson’s Support Group’s Team Fox Celebration for the Cure will take place at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in Thomas Hall, behind Whittington Pfohl Auditorium at Brevard M ...
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Blue Ridge Now article
Michael Sigman: The Melodies Linger On (Part II)
Huffington Post - over 3 years
When I asked my pop-music-obsessed friends to pick a favorite melody from the past 50 years I overbooked, assuming that a fair number would have better things to do. But what could be more important for a pop-music obsessive than weighing in on this crucial issue? And so our correspondents continue to name those tunes. (A final installment will be hopelessly devoted to the melodies of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.) Two respondents paid homage to their friends/mentors. Songwriter/producer Chris Braide says "Tempted," a nifty number by Glen Tilbrook, is "incredibly complex and yet totally simple." Tony-winning playwright/lyricist Steven Sater selects the haunting Butch Cassidy instrumental "Come Touch The Sun," from the pen of Burt Bacharach. Master of time, space and satellite radio Andrew Oldham isn't stuck in the '60s, when he managed and produced the Rolling Stones. He picks Dido-Rollo Armstrong-Rick Nowels' 2003 "White Flag." Memorabilia maven/author Jeff Gold ...
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Huffington Post article
PHOTOS: Dylan, Wilco & My Morning Jacket Play Toyota Park
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Toyota Park in Bridgeview played played host Friday to folk-rock royalty. Bob Dylan, My Morning Jacket and Chicago's own Wilco -- as well as Richard Thompson -- played the Chicago area as part of the Americanarama mini-festival. Photographer Joshua Mellin was at the show and reported Wilco and My Morning Jacket's cover of Neil Young's "Cinammon Girl" among the evening's highlights. Though the event was sold out, the concert was somewhat sparsely attended -- perhaps due to Richard Plant's concurrent show at Taste of Chicago in the more centrally-located Grant Park. Mellin shared some shots below.
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Huffington Post article
Anne Margaret Daniel: Richard Thompson, Troubadour
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Richard Thompson, photo © Ron Sleznak via Richard Thompson Music If you already know, and love the music of, Richard Thompson, then I'm singing to the choir. If you don't, then prepare for proselytizing. Such religious words and phrases aren't too much for Thompson's longtime and fiercely devoted fans, who have followed the singer/songwriter/stringman since his earliest days -- as a teenager -- with the Fairport Convention in the late 1960s. One of the founding members of the London-born group, Thompson played lead guitar for the band on traditional and folk songs past and present, from ancient Highland ballads like Matty Groves to songs by Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan (the latter, most celebratedly, in French in 1969). Thompson began writing songs for the group, including the 1968 song that became their signature, Meet on the Ledge. Thompson left Fairport Convention in early 1971 and would tour, intermittently, over the next decade with Linda Peters, soon Linda T ...
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Huffington Post article
Bob Dylan, Wilco, Richard Thompson bring Americanarama to Indiana
LATimes - over 3 years
Noblesville, Indiana -- During a musical interlude early in his set Friday night, Bob Dylan faced the audience and playfully shook his shoulders, prompting a gleeful eruption from the thousand who had gathered at the Klipsch Center, an outdoor venue carved out of fields about a half hour north of Indianapolis. It was the first and only time the musical legend would interact with the crowd. When Dylan takes the stage these days, he doesn't speak, doesn't gesture and certainly doesn't banter.
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LATimes article
Judge Backs Student Who Said He Couldn't 'Accept Gays'
Education Week - over 3 years
A federal district judge has ruled that a high school teacher violated the free speech rights of a Michigan student by removing him from class for expressing views that he didn't "accept gays" because of his Roman Catholic faith. U.S. District Judge Patrick J. Duggan of Detroit awarded nominal damages of $1 to Daniel Glowacki, who was a junior at Howell High School in the fall of 2010 when the events at issue occurred. In a case that, "highlights a tension that exists between public school anti-bullying policies and the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech," as he put it, the judge further held that the Howell Public School District was not liable in the case because it removed any record of discipline from the student's file and has speech and anti-bullying policies that respect students' First Amendment rights. The June 19 decision in Glowacki v. Howell Public School District is recommended reading for anyone in the education and legal communities grappling wi ...
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Education Week article
Binky Philips: LATE JUNE, 1970: An Amazing Autograph, Heatwave in London, Granny Takes A Trip, Thunderclap Newman Shows Up and, Yes, 'Gimme Dat Ting'
Huffington Post - over 3 years
The Spring of 1970, I was working part-time after classes my senior year at Music & Art, the same high school my pal, Stan Eisen, had graduated from the year before. From about 2 to 5pm, four days a week, I was a file clerk for the Director of the Placement Department at Columbia Law School (finding jobs for graduates with brand new law degrees), a very Englishman named Howard. He was clearly a muckety muck. A lovely guy, but always carrying an air of harried distraction with him (lots of that Hugh Grant running-his-fingers-through-his-vexed-hair when Hugh was 2). I haven't seen Howard in decades, but, his younger brother, Roger, a thorough rock 'n' roller, and I remain fast friends. I shared a small office with a young woman. I was 17, she was 22. Let's call her Emily. She was a second-year law student defraying a smidge of her tuition with a semi-menial job. She was very sweet, but a stone cold string-of-pearls/fuzzy sweater square. One day, out of nowhere, she s ...
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Huffington Post article
Anne Margaret Daniel: Happy Birthday, Bob Dylan
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
Bob Dylan, 1965. Photograph courtesy and © Daniel Kramer Happy birthday, Bob Dylan. Summer, 1988. A skinny redheaded girl is standing in a folding chair in the front row at the Mann Center in Philadelphia, with her arms around two perfect strangers, a blonde and a brunette. We're all dancing to "Maggie's Farm." When Bob delivers the line "She's sixty-eight, but she says she's twenty-four," he looks at us and grins. From the circles of eyeliner, his eyes, an improbable shade of bright blue, laugh - more at us, maybe, than with us. The first time I heard Bob Dylan live was that night. I'd heard him plenty before then, having grown up with the Folkways Newport Bob thanks to my parents, a mother from an Appalachian family full of fiddle players and a father who knew every old Southern hymn, folk song, blues, and holler - if you can ever properly differentiate among these. Blood On The Tracks was the first Dylan album I came to on my own, and I had never heard anyth ...
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Huffington Post article
Mike Ragogna: Spirit In The Room: A Conversation with Tom Jones, Plus The Adversary's "De La Luna" Video Premiere
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
A Conversation with Tom Jones Mike Ragogna: Tom, welcome. Tom Jones: Thanks, mate! MR: You have a new album, Spirit In The Room, on which you take songs by artists such as Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and you make them your own. How did you choose this batch? TJ: Well, first of all, I wanted to do songs by some of my favorite songwriters. Ethan Johns, the man that's producing me, said, "Tell me what songwriters you really like," and we'd listen to stuff that they'd done, and hopefully find one that we could do. That's what we did. We listened to a lot of Leonard Cohen songs, a lot of Paul McCartney, Odetta, Paul Simon, Blind Willie Johnson, Tom Waits, Richard Thompson, Bill Hall Ward, Vera Hall and Low Anthem. It's basically songs by songwriters that I like. MR: The approach you and your producer took on this was so personal and intimate, and it was recorded in a wooden room. TJ: Yes, it was done in a place called Real World, which is owned by Peter Gabriel. It's ...
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Huffington Post article
Gadsden flag, called Tea Party symbol, removed from New York military armory
Fox News - almost 4 years
A group of New York veterans is preparing to march into court after a town ordered the Gadsden flag removed from a military armory. The city of New Rochelle, N.Y., has removed the Gadsden "Don't Tread on Me" flag from the New Rochelle Armory after the city council refused to let a veterans organization display the flag, World Net Daily reported. The United Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Association of New Rochelle is fighting the decision, ordered by City Manager Chuck Strome after complaints that the flag is a symbol of the Tea Party movement, according to World Net Daily. But Strome did an about-face after Peter Parente, president of United Veterans Memorial, sent Strome the history of the Gadsden flag, which is flown beneath the U.S. flag on many military sites, according to World Net Daily. Then the New Rochelle City Council overruled Strome, voting 5-2 to have the flag removed. According to the Washington Examiner, the council objected to the flag because they sa ...
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Fox News article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Richard Thompson
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2015
    Age 65
    In September 2015 he appeared on BBC Two's Later... with Jools Holland, where he performed "All Buttoned Up" and ""She Never Could Resist a Winding Road" from his album Still.
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    Thompson released Still in June 2015, an album produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco and recorded in Tweedy's The Loft Studio.
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  • 2014
    Age 64
    In 2014, Thompson released Acoustic Classics, an album featuring acoustic renditions of 14 songs from his back catalogue, on his Beeswing label.
    More Details Hide Details The record reached number 16 on the UK Albums Chart. Thompson appears alongside family members, both blood related and by marriage, on the album Family (2014) by Thompson (the band being named for all the Thompsons that appear), performing two songs solo and contributing to others as well. The album was produced by son Teddy Thompson and features ex-wife Linda Thompson, The Rails who are Thompson's daughter Kami Thompson and her husband James Walbourne, as well as other related musicians, including Walbourne's brother and Richard Thompson's son from his second marriage.
  • 2013
    Age 63
    Also in 2013, Thompson appeared on his ex-wife Linda's fourth studio album Won't Be Long Now, on the track "Love's for Babies and Fools".
    More Details Hide Details It is the second time the two have recorded together since Shoot Out the Lights, the other being the song "Dear Mary" on Linda's 2002 album Fashionably Late.
    In early 2013 Thompson released Electric, recorded in Nashville with Buddy Miller producing.
    More Details Hide Details The record enjoyed good reviews and debuted in the UK top 20. Thompson took to the road with a stripped down "power trio" band on a multi-month tour on both sides of the Atlantic to promote the new album.
  • 2011
    Age 61
    On 5 July 2011, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Aberdeen.
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    Thompson was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to music.
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    Thompson was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to music.
    More Details Hide Details On 5 July 2011, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Aberdeen. Richard John Thompson was born in Ladbroke Crescent, Notting Hill, West London, England. His father, a Scot, was by profession a Scotland Yard detective, and an amateur guitar player; several other family members had played music professionally. While attending William Ellis School in Highgate, he formed his first band "Emil and the Detectives" (named after a book and a movie by the same name) with classmate Hugh Cornwell, later lead singer and guitarist of The Stranglers, on bass guitar. Like so many musicians of his generation, Thompson was exposed to and embraced rock and roll music at an early age, and he was also exposed to his father's jazz and traditional Scottish music record collection. His father had seen Django Reinhardt play in Glasgow in the 1930s and played guitar himself. He was later described by his son as "a bad amateur player... with three chords, though, unfortunately, not C, F and G." All these musical genres were to colour Thompson's playing in the years to come.
  • 2010
    Age 60
    Thompson curated the 2010 Meltdown Festival.
    More Details Hide Details The festival included a tribute to the recently deceased Kate McGarrigle, a feature of which was a rare on-stage reunion of Richard and Linda Thompson.
    On 10 June 2010 Thompson was awarded the Mojo Les Paul Award for "Guitar Legend".
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    In early 2010 Thompson assembled a band and did a string of shows showcasing new material.
    More Details Hide Details The aim was to record the new material in a live setting. The recording and touring band consisted of Thompson, Pete Zorn, (acoustic guitar, flute, saxophone, mandolin, vocals); Michael Jerome (drums, vocals), Taras Prodaniuk, (bass guitar, vocals); and Joel Zifkin, (electric violin, mandolin, vocals). The resulting album Dream Attic, released in August the same year, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album.
  • FIFTIES
  • 2007
    Age 57
    In May 2007 Thompson released Sweet Warrior.
    More Details Hide Details The album was licensed to different labels in different territories: Shout! Factory in the USA, P-Vine in Japan, Planet Records in Australia, and Proper Records in the UK and Europe. In August of the same year Island released a live Richard and Linda Thompson album, compiled from recordings made during the November 1975 tour to promote the Pour Down Like Silver album. Thompson continued releasing "official bootlegs" on his boutique label as an additional source of revenue – all live recordings.
  • 2003
    Age 53
    The move away from big labels and big budgets paradoxically brought a bigger marketing push and healthier sales. Thompson's first two self-funded releases, 2003's The Old Kit Bag and 2005's Front Parlour Ballads, did well in the indie charts on both sides of the Atlantic.
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    In 2003 the BBC produced a documentary about Thompson's long musical career, entitled Solitary Life, directed by Paul Bernays and narrated by John Peel.
    More Details Hide Details It featured interviews with Thompson from his home in California and contributions from Billy Connolly, Bonnie Raitt, ex-wife Linda Thompson, Harry Shearer and Thompson's wife Nancy Covey. The programme was re-broadcast by BBC Four in September 2012.
  • 2001
    Age 51
    In 2001 Thompson declined the option to renew his contract and parted ways with Capitol.
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  • FORTIES
  • 1999
    Age 49
    Thompson continued recording for Capitol until 1999, when Mock Tudor was recorded and released.
    More Details Hide Details His deal with Capitol was modified so that he could release and directly market limited-quantity, live recorded, not-for-retail albums. The first of these was Live at Crawley, released in 1995.
  • 1994
    Age 44
    Mirror Blue was released in 1994, to often negative reviews sparked by the production decisions that Thompson and Froom took.
    More Details Hide Details Thompson took to the road to promote the album. He was joined by drummer Dave Mattacks, Danny Thompson (no relation) on double bass, and Pete Zorn on acoustic guitar, backing vocals, mandolin and various wind instruments. This line-up toured with Thompson the following two years.
  • 1992
    Age 42
    In 1992 he performed with David Byrne.
    More Details Hide Details Their joint acoustic concert at St. Ann & The Holy Trinity in Brooklyn Heights, New York on 24 March, produced the album An Acoustic Evening, which was released the same year.
  • 1991
    Age 41
    In 1991 Thompson recorded Rumor and Sigh, his second album for Capitol.
    More Details Hide Details Once again Froom produced. For a short while a late career commercial breakthrough seemed likely. Rumor and Sigh was nominated for a Grammy and sold well. However, a shake-up at Capitol saw Hale Milgrim (Thompson's champion and fan within the boardroom) replaced by Garry Gersh. Thus, Thompson's next album Mirror Blue was held back for almost a year before being released, and the momentum that could have capitalised on the critical success and popularity enjoyed by Rumor and Sigh never followed.
    Thompson appears on Willie Nile's 1991 Places I Have Never Been album.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1988
    Age 38
    1988 saw the release of Thompson's first album for Capitol, Amnesia.
    More Details Hide Details Froom was retained as producer, and once again the album was recorded in Los Angeles with many of the same players that Froom had called upon for the Daring Adventures sessions. Thompson contributed music to BBC Northwest's documentary Hard Cash and appears on the eponymous accompanying album issued by Topic. A track from the album, Time To Ring Some Changes is included in the 2009 Topic Records 70-year anniversary boxed set Three Score and Ten as track thirteen on the sixth CD.
  • 1986
    Age 36
    In 1986 he released Daring Adventures, which was recorded in Los Angeles and produced by Mitchell Froom.
    More Details Hide Details Daring Adventures, with a rich sound, markedly different production and use of American session players, was perceived by some as evidence of Thompson's increasing "Americanisation". Perhaps more significantly, the album continued the trend, begun with Across A Crowded Room, of Thompson's songs moving away from the seemingly personal material and towards the character sketches and narratives for which he has since become famous. Froom and PolyGram had plans to target college and the growing "alternative" markets with Daring Adventures. Sales improved, but not substantially. Polygram declined an option to renew the contract. Thompson's management negotiated a new deal with Capitol Records. In 1985 Fairport Convention reformed and recorded the album Gladys' Leap. Thompson did not rejoin Fairport, but he did contribute a song to the project and played guitar on another track on the album.
  • 1985
    Age 35
    1985's Across a Crowded Room was his last album to be recorded in England and the last to have Boyd as producer.
    More Details Hide Details Thompson put together a new look backing band for the tour to promote this album, and some shows were filmed for a live video release (see Richard Thompson discography).
    In 1985 Thompson returned to the big league when he signed with PolyGram and received a sizeable advance.
    More Details Hide Details He also married Nancy Covey and moved his home and his working base to California. As part of the settlement that allowed Thompson to leave Boyd's Hannibal label for Polygram, the live album Small Town Romance was released. This comprised recordings made during Thompson's solo shows in the USA in late 1981 and early 1982.
  • 1983
    Age 33
    In 1983 and 1984 he toured the USA and Europe with the Richard Thompson Big Band, which included two saxophone players in addition to the more usual rhythm section, second guitar and accordion.
    More Details Hide Details Set lists included covers of classic rock 'n roll songs and jazz standards such as "Tuxedo Junction".
  • 1981
    Age 31
    With his separation from Linda finalised, Richard Thompson began to commute between twin bases in London and Los Angeles and began to tour regularly in the USA. Encouraged by the success of his solo shows in late 1981 and early 1982, he began to perform solo with increasing frequency and continued to tour with a band.
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    During this tour Thompson and Covey grew closer to each other, and in December 1981 Richard and Linda Thompson separated.
    More Details Hide Details Upon its release in 1982, Shoot Out the Lights was lauded by critics and sold quite well – especially in the U.S. The Thompsons, now a couple for professional purposes only, toured the U.S. to support the album and then went their separate ways. Both the album and their live shows were well received by the American media, and Shoot Out the Lights effectively relaunched their career – just as their marriage was falling apart. The performances were very strong, but the tension between Richard and Linda was all too obvious. After a stormy tour of the U.S., the Thompsons separated professionally. Richard Thompson continued recording as a solo artist. His 1983 album Hand of Kindness saw him working with Boyd again, but with a revised backing band and a more extroverted and up-tempo song selection.
    As an interim measure, Richard Thompson decided to arrange for a low-key tour of the U.S. This tour was set up by Nancy Covey who had been in the UK in 1981 trying to sign Thompson to play at the famous McCabe's guitar shop in Santa Monica.
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  • 1980
    Age 30
    Gerry Rafferty had booked the Thompsons as the support act for his 1980 tour, and had also used Richard as a session player on his Night Owl album.
    More Details Hide Details Rafferty offered to finance the recording of a new Richard and Linda Thompson album which he would then use to secure a contract for the Thompsons. Richard Thompson fell out with Rafferty during this project and was not happy with the finished product. Nevertheless, Rafferty kept his side of the bargain and presented the album to several record companies – none of which expressed interest in signing the Thompsons. Rafferty did not recover his investment. About a year later Joe Boyd signed the Thompsons to his small Hannibal label and a new album was recorded. Shoot Out the Lights included new recordings of many of the songs recorded in 1980. Linda Thompson was pregnant at the time of the recording, so the album's release was delayed until they could tour behind the album. Breathing problems arising from her pregnancy also meant that Linda could not sing the lead part on some of these songs as she had done on demo tapes and the Rafferty-produced recordings.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1977
    Age 27
    Thompson started to re-engage with the world of professional music in 1977.
    More Details Hide Details He played on an album by Sandy Denny, and had undertaken a short tour and started recording with a group of musicians who were also Sufis. Thompson asked Joe Boyd to produce these sessions, and two days were spent on the initial recordings. Boyd recalls that the sessions were not a success: "It was really, I felt, very poor. I didn't have much confidence in the musicians that he was working with. The atmosphere was very strange and it just didn't seem to work." At about this time the Thompsons and their family moved out of the commune and back to their old home in Hampstead. Boyd had already invited Richard Thompson to play on Julie Covington's debut album. With spare studio time and the American session musicians hired to work on the Covington album available, the Thompsons went back into the studio to record under their own name for the first time in three years.
  • 1974
    Age 24
    It was not apparent from their records at first, but the Thompsons had embraced an esoteric Sufi strand of Islam in early 1974.
    More Details Hide Details I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight was recorded before this conversion, but released some time afterwards. The songs for the second Richard and Linda album, Hokey Pokey, were similarly written some time ahead of the album's recording and eventual release. It was Pour Down Like Silver, with its cover photo of a turbaned Richard Thompson gazing out at the world, that tipped the public off to the Thompsons' growing preoccupation with their faith. The trilogy of albums released before and after his sojourn in the commune was heavily influenced by Thompson's beliefs and by Sufi scripture, but in the long run his religious beliefs have not influenced his work in an obvious manner. The outlook expressed in his songs, his musical style, the subjects addressed by his lyrics have not shown any fundamental change. He remains a committed Muslim.
  • 1973
    Age 23
    The first Richard and Linda Thompson album, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, was recorded in May 1973 in short time and on a small budget.
    More Details Hide Details Largely because of the petrol shortage in Britain and its impact on the availability of vinyl for records, Bright Lights was held back by Island Records for nearly a year before being released in April 1974. The album was well received by the critics, though sales were less than stellar. Thompson's lyrics expressed a rather dismal world view, and it has been suggested that the bleak subject matter of his songs helped to keep his recordings off the hit parade. A more likely explanation was given by ex-Island A&R man Richard Williams in the 2003 BBC TV documentary Solitary Life: Thompson was just not interested in fame and its trappings. The Thompsons recorded two more albums—Hokey Pokey and Pour Down Like Silver, both released in 1975—before Richard Thompson decided to leave the music business. The couple moved to a Sufi community in East Anglia.
  • 1972
    Age 22
    In October 1972 the couple were married, and Thompson, with Linda now effectively his front woman, regrouped for his next album and the next phase of his career.
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    In April 1972 he released his first solo album Henry the Human Fly, recording with Sandy Denny, Pat Donaldson, Sue Draheim, John Kirkpatrick, Barry Dransfield, Ashley Hutchings, Linda Peters, Andy Roberts, and others.
    More Details Hide Details The album sold poorly and was panned by the press, especially the influential Melody Maker magazine. With time Henry has come to be more highly regarded, but at the time the critics' response hurt both Thompson and his career. By the 1970s, Thompson had begun a relationship with the singer Linda Peters, who had sung on Henry the Human Fly.
  • 1971
    Age 21
    In between leaving Fairport Convention in early 1971 and releasing his debut solo album in 1972 he undertook a large amount of session work, most notably on albums by John Martyn, Al Stewart, Matthews Southern Comfort, Sandy Denny and Nick Drake.
    More Details Hide Details During the same period he also worked on two collaborative projects. Morris On was recorded with Ashley Hutchings, John Kirkpatrick, Dave Mattacks and Barry Dransfield, and was a collection of English traditional tunes arranged for electric instruments. The Bunch were almost the reverse conceptually – a grouping of English folk rock musicians (including Sandy Denny, Linda Peters and members of Fairport Convention) recording a selection of classic rock and roll tunes. Thompson has continued to guest on albums by an array of artists, from Crowded House, Bonnie Raitt and Vivian Stanshall, to Norma Waterson and BeauSoleil and folk artists like Loudon Wainwright III, Cathal McConnell (of The Boys of the Lough) and Bob Davenport. He has also performed and recorded with Teddy Thompson, his son from his marriage to Linda Thompson. Since the early 1980s Thompson has appeared at Fairport Convention's annual Cropredy Festival, both in his own right and as a participant in sets with current and previous Fairport members. These sets are seldom confined to performances of songs out of the Thompson or Fairport Convention canons, and in recent years some surprise offerings have included the soul classic "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (with Thompson backed by the Roy Wood Big Band), The Beatles' "I'm Down" and even "The Lady Is a Tramp".
    In January 1971 Thompson announced that he was leaving Fairport Convention.
    More Details Hide Details His decision seems to have been instinctive, rather than a calculated career move:
  • TEENAGE
  • 1969
    Age 19
    By early 1969, when Fairport's second album What We Did on Our Holidays was recorded and released, Thompson was starting to emerge as a songwriter of distinction.
    More Details Hide Details As Fairport's lineup and their sound evolved, Thompson continued to grow in stature as a player and as a songwriter with compositions like "Meet on the Ledge". He also wrote songs jointly with the band's fiddle player, Dave Swarbrick, songs such as "Crazy Man Michael" from the seminal folk-rock album Liege and Lief and "Sloth" from its follow-up Full House. On 12 May 1969, between the recording and release of Unhalfbricking, Fairport's van crashed on the M1 motorway on the way home from a gig at Mothers, a club in Birmingham. Drummer Martin Lamble, aged 19, and Thompson's girlfriend Jeannie Franklyn were killed. The rest of the band suffered injuries of varying severity.
  • 1967
    Age 17
    He made his début as a recording artist as a member of Fairport Convention in September 1967.
    More Details Hide Details He continues to write and record new material regularly and frequently performs live at venues throughout the world. Thompson was awarded the Orville H. Gibson Award for best acoustic guitar player in 1991. Similarly, his songwriting has earned him an Ivor Novello Award and, in 2006, a lifetime achievement award from BBC Radio. Artists who have recorded Thompson's compositions include such diverse talents as Del McCoury, R.E.M., Bonnie Raitt, Christy Moore, David Gilmour, Mary Black, Elvis Costello, Marshall Crenshaw, The Corrs, Sandy Denny, June Tabor, Joel Fafard, Maria McKee, Shawn Colvin, Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy, Nanci Griffith, Graham Parker, Jefferson Starship, The Pointer Sisters, Maura O'Connell, Los Lobos, John Doe, Greg Brown, Bob Mould, Barbara Manning, Loudon Wainwright III, The Futureheads, Jeff Lang, Dinosaur Jr., David Byrne, and The Blind Boys of Alabama.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1949
    Born
    Born on April 3, 1949.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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