Born in Notting Hill in 1949, Richard Thompson's first musical foray began when he joined the schoolboy band Emil &the Detectives also featuring his friend and future Strangler Hugh Cornwell. By the age of 18 he was an accomplished guitarist and joined Fairport Convention. Up until that point the band had been performing mostly covers and it was this reason that prompted Thompson to start writing songs. His early efforts such as " Meet on the Ledge " and his extraordinary talent as a guitar player resulted in Joe Boyd signing him to an individual management and production contract.
Thompson left Fairport Convention in 1971 and started his solo career. First release " Henry the Human Fly " was not well received and sales were poor. Shortly after this he met and later married Linda Thompson. Their first album together " I want to see the bright lights tonight " was something of a slow burning classic, however, Thompson's lack of interest in fame or fortune meant he remained on the fringes of the musical landscape. His profile reduced even further when the couple and their son Teddy Thompson joined a Sufi commune withdrawing completely from public life until 1977. Upon their return they struggled to regain any degree of success and the couple split in 1981. Concentrating on his solo performances Richard Thompson's reputation steadily grew and eventually this resulted in a deal with Polygram. However, an enhanced reputation didn't result in enhanced sales and soon after this he signed with Capitol where he stayed until the late 1990s. Since 2000 Richard Thompson has largely released self funded projects that have sold steadily and in reasonable quantities.
Thompson is recognised as one of the greatest living guitarist and in 2010 was presented with the Mojo Les Paul guitar legend award. His technique is unusual and has been labelled ' hybrid picking' . This involves playing the bass notes and rhythm with a pick between his first finger and thumb and then playing the melody with his other fingers.
In recent years Thompson has been involved in his 1000 years of popular song project in which he highlights some of the best examples of song writing of the past millennium including a cover of Britney's " Oops I did it again ".
Richard Thompson plays St David's Hall, Cardiff on Sunday 23 rd January 2011.
Henry the Human Fly (1972)
I Want To See the Bright Lights Tonight (1974)
Daring Adventures (1986)
1000 Years of Popular Song (2003)
Dream Attic (2010)