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Artists > Inspirational Guitarists > Richard Thompson


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Richard Thompson

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Richard Thompson, born April 3, 1949 in London, England is best-known as a guitar virtuoso and songwriter.

Richard studied classical guitar for two years in his teens. He might have studied English literature after his A-levels but had a musical career in mind. After leaving school in 1967, he became an apprentice with a stained-glass maker for about 6 months. This allowed him enough spare time to play music in the evenings. He first became prominent as a founding member of British folk-rockers, Fairport Convention a group sometimes dubbed "the English Jefferson Airplane". During his Fairport days, Thompson wrote the song "Meet on the Ledge," which remained Fairport's most requested tune and also his well-known folk-rock ballad, "Genesis Hall."

Thompson went solo in 1971, releasing the album Henry The Human Fly in 1972. Richard then began performing with wife Linda, and I Want To see The Bright Lights Tonight (1974) was the first of six albums from the duo. This first album and the last, Shoot Out The Lights (1982), are the most notable of the duo's releases. The couple divorced in 1982, and they now perform solo again.

Thompson's albums are often acclaimed by critics, and his guitar work has long received the respect of his peers. 


Rolling Stone placed him at #19 on their questionable 2003 list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, but over the years he has found only moderate commercial success. His solo recordings have received two Grammy Award nominations, one for Beat Alternative Music Album for Rumour and Sigh (1991), his most commercially popular album to date, and one for best Contemporary Fold Album for his double CD you? me? us? (1996).

Thompson has made two records with John French, Fred Frith and Henry Kaiser under the name French Frith Kaiser Thompson. He has made dozens of appearances as a session musician, including albums by the Golden Palominos, Sandy Denny, Bonnie Raitt, Beausoleil, Nile Rodgers, Maria McKee, Nick Drake, Crowded House, Suzanne Vega, Loudon Wainwright 111, Ashley Hutchings and John Kirkpatrick.

In recent years Thompson has devised and toured his show 1000 Years Of Popular Music. These shows take a chronological trip through popular music across the ages, and are performed by a trio of Thompson with singer/pianist Judith Owen and a percussionist. A typical performance would start with a medieval round and climax with Thompson's unique take on the Britney Spears hit Oops! I Did It Again.

His vast and ever-growing body of original material is marked by consistent intelligence, taste and emotional purity, which is why so many of his songs have been covered by other quality artists, a stellar list that includes the likes of Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, Del McCoury, Graham Nash, X, Los Lobos and Bob Mould. And Thompson is among the most distinctive of guitar virtuosos, capable of breathtaking drama and sublime delicacy, depending on the song and the amp setting, if indeed an amp happens to be employed.

From Wikipedia, the free-content Encyclopedia.


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