Robbin Thompson nous a quitté RIP

Robbin Thompson

robin thompson

Robbin Thompson, the singer-songwriter who was a hero to a generation of rock’n’roll fans and one of the two singers behind Virginia’s unofficial state song, died early this morning. He was 66.

Thompson had become best known in recent years for his effort with fellow singer Steve Bassett to get legislators to adopt their song “Sweet Virginia Breeze” as the official state anthem.

The song was a high point in a career full of them.

Thompson once sang in a band with Bruce Springsteen – the only time in his career The Boss wasn’t front and center – recorded with a list of session all-stars and was on the cusp of national fame by the early 1980s.

The breakthrough never came, but Thompson didn’t let it deter him. He continued to create music and ultimately released more than a dozen albums.

He also was co-owner of In Your Ear Music and Video Production in downtown Richmond, from which he based his later career and worked with a new generation of musicians.

Thompson was born June 16, 1949, in Boston. His family moved to Melbourne, Fla., when he was seven, and he stayed there through high school.

He moved to Richmond in the late 1960s to attend Virginia Commonwealth University. He formed a band called Mercy Flight, which often shared bills with the Springsteen-led band Steel Mill.

Springsteen asked Thompson to join his band, beginning a friendship that would last a lifetime. The band lasted less than two years, but the two occasionally performed together in the decades that followed, including during a Springsteen show at the Richmond Coliseum in 2003.

Thompson began making a name of his own in 1976 with the release of his self-titled debut album. The session players included Timothy B. Schmidt, who shortly thereafter joined The Eagles, and the legendary guitarist Steve Cropper.

That album include a number of songs – “Boy From Boston,” “Dream on Melinda” and “Highway 101” and “Like a River” among them – that would become staples of Thompson’s live shows for decades to come.

Two years later, he and Bassett released “Sweet Virginia Breeze” on their record “Together.”

With momentum building, Thompson put together his own band, hit the road and recorded what would be the most successful record of his career.

“Two B’s Please” included a new version of “Breeze” along with two other that songs that became regional hits, the fun rocking “Candy Apple Red” and “Brite Eyes,” an operatic rock anthem that’s as much about the musicianship that drives the song as the story it tells. That song became a natural show closer for the band.

In the years that followed, Thompson recorded several solo albums.

His touring schedule slowed, but he and the band never completely parted ways. They staged several sold-out reunion shows in late 2009 and early 2010 and later released a live album and video from that mini tour.

Thompson’s last record was 2013’s “Real Fine Day.”


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