Tony Thompson (drummer)
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November 15, 1954|
|Died||November 12, 2003
Los Angeles, California, United States
|Genres||New wave, alternative rock, hard rock, pop rock, disco, hip hop, funk, R&B, soul|
|Associated acts||The Power Station, Chic, Distance, David Bowie, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Crown of Thorns|
Anthony Terrence "Tony" Thompson (November 15, 1954 – November 12, 2003) was an American session drummer best known as the drummer of The Power Station and a member of Chic. He was raised in the middle-class community of Springfield Gardens, in Queens, New York.
Thompson, whose mother was Trinidadian and father was of Antiguan descent, first drummed for the group Labelle, and then for a short while was a member, with Raymond Jones, of the soul/disco band Ecstasy, Passion & Pain. This was followed by a long tenure with Chic, where he helped create hits such as "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)," "Le Freak," and "Good Times". He also performed with members of Chic on "We Are Family" and "He's the Greatest Dancer" by Sister Sledge and "Upside Down" and "I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross.
Following the temporary disbanding of Chic in 1983, Chic's former guitarist and bassist, Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards became prolific producers, and Thompson's drumming was much in demand among their clients. Thompson appeared with numerous artists such as Jody Watley, Madonna (on her 1984 album Like a Virgin), Rod Stewart, Robert Palmer, Adam Ant (on his unreleased Persuasion album), Mick Jagger, and David Bowie (on his 1983 Let's Dance album and subsequent Serious Moonlight Tour).
Thompson was also a member of the band The Power Station along with Robert Palmer and John Taylor and Andy Taylor of Duran Duran. The enormous Live Aid charity benefit concert in 1985 saw Thompson playing with the Power Station as well as joining the remaining members of Led Zeppelin on stage (along with Phil Collins) at John F. Kennedy Stadium. During a reunion attempt in 1986, Led Zeppelin again asked Thompson to join them as a replacement for John Bonham; the reunion stalled in part because Thompson was in a serious car accident that year and was unable to continue participating.
Thompson went on to join groups such as The Distance and Crown of Thorns with Jean Beauvoir (playing on their first album Crown of Thorns before leaving the band and subsequently replaced by Hawk Lopez). Thompson was also a founding member of the band That Hideous Strength. In the mid 1990s he rejoined Power Station for their 1996 reunion album Living in Fear and subsequent tour.
Death and legacy
Thompson died within a month of being diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) on November 12, 2003, in Los Angeles. His death occurred just three days short of his 49th birthday, and two months after the death of The Power Station bandmate Robert Palmer from a heart attack. Thompson was a member of the band Non-Toxic at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife and two children. On September 19, 2005, Thompson and the rest of the Chic band members were inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame.
- Jon Pareles (November 24, 2003). "Tony Thompson, 48, Drummer Who Helped to Define Disco". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
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