As a guitarist, Richard Thompson is without peer.
Nobody plays the acoustic guitar or the electric guitar – and he once said in an interview I read that he approaches them as different instruments – like he does.
When you add his incredible talents as a songwriter and a singer to his abilities as a guitarist, I believe that it’s safe to say that he is one of the most talented (amazing, phenomenal, brilliant, mind-boggling, jaw-dropping, unbelievably gifted… there is no adjective that really does him justice) musicians on the planet. (Can you tell I’m a big fan?!)
And today is his birthday.
Richard Thompson was born on April 3, 1949 in Ladbroke Crescent, Notting Hill, West London, England.
In 1967, he helped found the premiere British Folk-Rock band, Fairport Convention, and played on five albums with them.
In 1971, he left Fairport for a solo career, releasing the album Henry the Human Fly in 1972.
From 1974-1982, Richard and his wife, Linda (Peters) Thompson, recorded and released six wonderful albums. I discovered the Thompsons when I bought their landmark 1982 album Shoot Out The Lights. (Very Highly Recommended)
In 1983, Richard and Linda went their separate ways and Richard resumed his solo career with the equally-wonderful and also very-highly-recommended LP Hand Of Kindness.
Since then, Richard Thompson has added another eleven studio albums to his discography, along with numerous live albums, compilations and boxed sets.
Thanks to the folks at youtube, I had many videos to choose from to embed in this post. I chose two: one that highlights his acoustic guitar playing in a solo setting and one that features his electric guitar playing with a full band accompaniment.
The two songs also happen to be high on my long list of favorites from Richard’s extensive catalogue of original songs. I strongly encourage you to take the time to watch and listen (got headphones?) to both films.
First, electric Richard Thompson.
And now, acoustic Richard Thompson.
Happy Birthday, Richard Thompson.
Thank you for some of the best concerts I’ve ever been to and the most thrilling live music I’ve ever heard.