Richard Thompson Awarded the Order of the British Empire for His Contribution to Music

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Richard Thompson was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) today for his singular and substantial contribution to music. The award was presented by Queen Elizabeth during the special investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace (attached photo credited to Charles Green Photography, larger photos available by request).

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Crowning an extraordinary week, Thompson will also be bestowed with an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Aberdeen on July 5th, for his “exceptional and distinctive contribution to contemporary music, (which) places him among a very distinguished group of honorary graduates from the arts.”

Richard Thompson first emerged in 1967 as a founding member of British folk rock innovators Fairport Convention and has been defying musical categorization and convention ever since. 

The newest OBE recipient has produced a body of work that challenges, delights and amazes in equal measure. He has written and recorded over 400 songs, all marked by consistent intelligence, taste and emotional resonance and is widely hailed as one of the most distinctive and iconoclastic guitar virtuosos-- whether playing acoustic or electric guitar, performing solo or in a group. Richard Thompson has been awarded an Ivor Novello award for his songwriting, the Orville H Gibson Best Acoustic Guitarist Award, the 2010 Mojo Les Paul Award, plus a spot on Rolling Stone Magazine’s “Top 20 Guitarists of All Time” list. Last summer he was selected to be the artistic director of London’s prestigious Meltdown Festival at the South Bank Centre.

His work is admired by such artists as Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, David Byrne, REM, Alison Krauss, Bonnie Raitt, all of whom have covered Richard Thompson songs. 

Universal Music Catalogue has just released Richard Thompson Live At The BBC (1974-2009), a 4 Disc Boxed Set comprising 3 CDS plus a DVD disc.

This follows 2010’s Grammy-nominated Dream Attic by the Richard Thompson Band and 2009’s comprehensive 4-disc career retrospective box set entitled Walking On A Wire, both out on Shout! Factory.

Omnivore Records will also release a special 30th anniversary edition of Strict Tempo later this summer, and Eagle Rock is preparing a concert DVD of the Richard Thompson Band’s performance at this year’s Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow.

Richard Thompson will be on a solo tour of the US and Canada starting August 26, throughout the fall.

Among the confirmed dates are:

26 Wolf Trap, Vienna, VA
27 Festival Pier, Baltimore, MD

2 Lowell Music series, Lowell, MA
3 Rhythm & Roots Festival, Charlestown, RI
10 Ellnora Guitar Festival, Champaign, IL

The tour will continue throughout October. December 2-3-4 will see Richard Thompson’s almost-annual run at the Montalvo Winery in Saratoga, CA, performing all-request shows.

For a full biography and tour dates visit