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Richard Thompson is a highly regarded British singer/songwriter/guitarist, admired for his virtuosity and his incredibly dark but brilliant lyrics. He began as songwriter for the British Folk-Rock group Fairport Convention before striking out as a solo artist (recording a number of albums with his then wife Linda). Highly regarded amongst his peers including David Byrne, Elvis Costello and Christy Moore, he has somehow avoided commercial success.
Tropes include in his work include
- Badass Biker: The hero of '1952 Vincent Black Lightning'
- Comforting the Widow: The plot of his song 'Woods of Darnay'
- Concept Album: 1000 Years of Popular Music, popular songs from the last 1,000 years played in Richard Thompson's own unique style.
- Also Industry, a collaboration with his longtime bassist Danny Thompson (no relation) about the effects of the growth and collapse of industry on British society.
- Creator Couple: The years with Linda Thompson.
- Drunken Song: Brutally subverted by 'God Loves A Drunk'
- Dual-Meaning Chorus: Seen in 'Shane & Dixie'. The chorus 'Fame and Love will never die' is sung at first as a quote from the titular Shane as a total sincere expression of his beliefs. By the end of the song (When Shane has committed suicide and Dixie has got married to a journalist) the lyrics become ironic as Shane is totally forgotten.
- Intercourse with You: 'Hokey Pokey', a song supposedly about ice cream with lyrics such as 'Some like it round/Some like it fat/Some like a poke or two'
- Lyrical Dissonance: Most times the downbeat nature of the music will match the lyrics, but he will often produce an upbeat tune such as 'Wall of Death' (a jolly number about a mutually destructive couple) 'Read About Love' (a upbeat song about a boy who ends up raping a girl through misconceptions about sex) and 'Bad Monkey' (a bouncy little ditty about drug addiction).
- No-Hit Wonder: No entries on either the US or UK pop charts. He does however, have two entries on the Billboard Alternative chart ("Turning the Tide" made #30 in 1988 and "It Feels So Good" made #15 in 1991).
- Old Shame: Largely averted, his first solo composition was the song 'Meet on The Ledge' for Fairport Convention. The song is still regarded as their unofficial anthem and is played as a concert closer to this day.
- Self-Deprecation: In concerts he will often announce he will play a medley of his 'hits'..and then stand in silence for a minute.
- Take That: 'Mother Knows Best' was an attack on Margaret Thatcher. 'Fast Food Restaurant' was a dig at McDonalds.
- I'm convinced "When We Were Boys At School"--a depressingly-familiar tale of a bullied child, but who grows up to become a merciless leader--is about Tony Blair.
- His latest album features 'Here Comes Geordie' - a particularly blatant Take That against Sting (born Gordon Sumner).
- See also 'I Agree With Pat Metheney', a live-only tune savaging (in hilarious fashion) Kenny G for overdubbing himself onto Louis Armstrong's 'What A Wonderful World.' "He does play sharp, but let's be fair/ He has such lovely crinkly hair."
- Working with the Ex: Shoot Out The Lights, made during the dissolution of his marriage to Linda. The supporting tour had Linda tripping him as he went onstage, and guitarist and fellow Fairport Convention alum Simon Nicol said that the first thing he would do was look for the exits.