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Danny Thompson

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Danny Thompson
Thompson backing Martin Simpson at the 2008 Folk by the Oak Festival, Hatfield House
Thompson backing Martin Simpson at the 2008 Folk by the Oak Festival, Hatfield House
Background information
Birth nameDaniel Henry Edward Thompson
Born (1939-04-04) 4 April 1939 (age 85)
Teignmouth, Devon, England
GenresFolk, rock, jazz, blues, skiffle
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, record producer
Instrument(s)Upright bass, guitar, mandolin, trumpet, trombone, tea chest bass
LabelsIsland Records
WebsiteDanny Thompson.co.uk

Daniel Henry Edward Thompson (born 4 April 1939)[1] is an English multi-instrumentalist best known as a double bassist. He has had a long musical career playing with a large variety of other musicians, particularly Richard Thompson and John Martyn.

For four years, between 1964 and 1967, he was a member of Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated,[2] led a trio that included guitarist John McLaughlin, and was a founding member of the British folk-jazz band Pentangle.[2] Since 1987, he has also recorded four solo albums.[2] He converted to Islam in 1990.[3]

Biography and career[edit]

Thompson was born in Teignmouth, Devon, England.[1] His father, a miner, joined the Royal Navy at the start of World War II and was lost in action whilst crewing submarines. When Thompson was aged 6, the family moved to London and he was brought up in the working-class area of Battersea. At school he played competitive football and was a junior for Chelsea, the team he has supported ever since. Whilst at school he learnt guitar, mandolin, trumpet and trombone before settling on the upright bass as his instrument of choice.[4]

Thompson was a member of the folk-jazz group Pentangle, throughout its first incarnation (1967–1973) and in some of its subsequent versions and reunions.[4] In 1987, Thompson released his debut solo album Whatever to critical acclaim.[2]

While he has had his own album releases, Thompson has been predominantly a session musician contributing to other artists' recordings and tours, such as with John Martyn[2][4] and with Richard Thompson (no relation; e.g. Mirror Blue, The Old Kit Bag, and the concert DVD release Richard Thompson Live in Austin Texas, from the Austin City Limits televised concerts).

Danny Thompson lived in Clopton, Suffolk during the late 1970s and early 1980s with his wife Daphne and son Dan (Danny Junior, who went on to be the drummer with Hawkwind (1985–88)) Early in the 1980s he moved back to London. He received a Lifetime achievement award in the 2007 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

In the early 1980s he worked closely with documentary film-maker, Roy Deverell and composed music for two of his award-winning films, Echo of the Wild and A Passion to Protect. The films are about John Aspinall's pioneering work with endangered mammals.

He accepted Islam in 1990, taking the Muslim name Hamza.[5]

Between 1995 and 2013, he was a member of the ‘house band’ in five of the six series of the BBC/RTE Transatlantic Sessions.

Partial discography[edit]

Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated[edit]

  • Red Hot from Alex (1964)
  • Sky High (1966)
  • Blues Incorporated (1967 - re-issue of Sky High)

Alexis Korner[edit]

  • I Wonder Who (1967)
  • A New Generation of Blues (1968)


Danny Thompson[edit]

  • Whatever (1987)
  • Whatever Next (1989)
  • Elemental (1990)
  • Whatever’s Best (1995)
  • Danny Thompson & Peter Knight (1995) Resurgence – RES108CD[6]
  • Connected (2012)[7]

Danny Thompson, Allan Holdsworth and John Stevens[edit]

  • Propensity (2009, recorded 1978)


  • Dizrhythmia (1988)
  • Too (2016)

Richard Thompson and Danny Thompson[edit]

Jon Thorne & Danny Thompson[edit]

  • Watching the Well (2010)


Danny Thompson has played on dozens of albums and singles during his career. The following is only a small selection.


  1. ^ a b "Danny Thompson Biography, Songs, & Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 1176. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  3. ^ [1] Archived 30 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine "In 1999 Danny was interviewed for the BBC TV series Faces of Islam in which he discussed becoming a Muslim and his realisation of the fact that whilst he had only converted to Islam in 1990, the Muslim faith had always been within him."
  4. ^ a b c Chilton, Martin (28 March 2014). "Danny Thompson: bass player for the greats". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  5. ^ Sugich, Michael (2019). Hearts turn: sinners, seekers, saints & the road to redemption. [Place of publication not identified]: Telltale Texts. pp. 110–111. ISBN 978-0-9893640-0-3. OCLC 1096187819.
  6. ^ "Peter Knight & Danny Thompson". Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  7. ^ "Danny Thompson: Connected". Danny Thompson. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  8. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Duffy's Nucleus: Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 November 2018.

External links[edit]