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Richard Thompson: Quintessential Cult Artist

Richard Thompson.
Richard Thompson.

A British musician known for both his guitar prowess and his exceptional songwriting, 58-year-old Richard Thompson has earned a reputation as a skilled live performer, as well as a consistently vital recording artist. With his new album Sweet Warrior, he touches on the topics of war, family and more.

Thompson started his music career at age 18 by forming Fairport Convention. As the band evolved, so did Thompson's guitar skills and songwriting, and after four years with the band, he released his first solo album (Henry the Human Fly) in 1972.

Thompson married bandmate Linda Pettifer in October 1972, and the two began performing as a duo, releasing I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight in May 1973. After recording two more albums in 1975, Richard Thompson decided to leave the music business, and the couple moved to an Islamic Sufi commune, where Linda gave birth to their son, Teddy Thompson.

They left the commune in 1978, went back to Hampstead, and returned to making music. After the couple separated in 1981, Richard Thompson continued to evolve as a solo artist, commuting between twin bases in London and Los Angeles, and later began to tour regularly in the U.S. A fruitful solo recording career followed for all parties involved: Richard, Linda and Teddy Thompson all released widely praised albums this year.

Copyright 2007 XPN

David Dye is a longtime Philadelphia radio personality whose music enthusiasm has captivated listeners of World Cafe® since 1991. World Cafe is produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania.