Tag Archives: Richard Thompson

The Saddest Songs in History: Richard and Linda Thompson Walking On A Wire


thompsonshoot

The clear sound of a marriage falling apart. It is about regret and resignation but no anger, and so much more sad for it. The Album, Shoot Out the Lights was a culmination of Richard & Linda Thompson’s career together.

In hindsight, we see how their records and Richard Thompson’s texts of jealousy, rage, and betrayal lead to this emotionally  document of sadness.

Walking on a Wire with Richard’s lyrics for Linda to interpret, well, it must have been hard.

Linda:
“I wish that I could please you tonight”
 “I hand you my ball and chain/You just hand me that same old refrain.”

“Too many steps to take
Too many spells to break
Too many nights awake
And no one else”

My god, how harrowing a break-up can be!

Richard and Linda:
I’m walking on a wire, I’m walking on a wire
And I’m falling”

..they both fall and they share the blame and the regret, and they know how this is gonna end.

Richard Thompson cries through his guitar in a solo just as painful as the lyrics (starts at 4:42), it is incredible and he manages to convey his/their sadness in a howl from his electric guitar! He has done some great guitar work through the years but this must be one is his most emotionally demanding solos committed to record.

Richard and Linda Thompson – Walking On A Wire (Spotify):

The song had to be included in our series of the saddest songs in history.

Linda Thompson was several months pregnant when the album (Shoot out the lights) was recorded and so there was no prospect of an immediate release or supporting tour. By the time the album was released Richard and Linda Thompson’s marriage was over.

Ironically, the album was their best-selling album and acclaimed as one of their greatest artistic achievements.

…but as I said, it is the sad sound of a marriage falling apart.

Richard and Linda Thompson – Walking On A Wire (audio):

Continue reading The Saddest Songs in History: Richard and Linda Thompson Walking On A Wire

Today: The late Richard Manuel was born in 1943 – 70 years ago

richard manuel

I play patterns. I’ll make up a pattern and just play it.
~Richard Manuel

“Well, let’s see: I started [in music] at nine and quit. Then got back to it when I was twelve. Then I became a party star. In fact, I became a party!”
~Richard Manuel

For me he was the true light of the Band. The other guys were fantastic talents, of course, but there was something of the holy madman about Richard. He was raw. When he sang in that high falsetto the hair on my neck would stand on end. Not many people can do that.
~Eric Clapton

A nice tribute video – I’m just a country boy:

I Shall Be Released (The Band)

Gonna dedicate this song to Mr. Richard Manuel, who does it so well
~Bob Dylan (Introducing “I Shall Be Released” December 8, 1975)

Bob Dylan and Richard Manuel

Birth name Richard George Manuel
Born April 3, 1943
Stratford, Ontario, Canada
Died March 4, 1986 (aged 42)
Winter Park, Florida, U.S.
Genres Country rock, R&B, rock and roll, americana
Occupations Musician, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, piano, drums, keyboard,lap slide guitar, harmonica, clavinet, marimba, conga
Years active 1957–1986

Richard George Manuel (April 3, 1943 – March 4, 1986) was a Canadian composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist, best known for his contributions to and membership in The Band.

richard manuel

Here is the wonderful “Georgia On My Mind” from The Last Waltz concert:

“Richard Manuel was a whole show unto himself. He was hot. He was about the best singer I’d ever heard; most people said he reminded them of Ray Charles. He’d do those ballads, and the ladies would swoon. To me that became the highlight of our show.”
~Levon Helm

The Band was a Canadian-American roots rock group that originally consisted of Rick Danko (bass guitar, double bass, fiddle, trombone, vocals), Levon Helm (drums, mandolin, guitar, vocals), Garth Hudson (keyboard instruments, saxophones, trumpet), Richard Manuel (piano, drums, baritone saxophone, vocals) and Robbie Robertson (guitar, vocals). The members of the Band first came together as they joined rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins’s backing group, The Hawks, one by one between 1958 and 1963.

the-band

You Dont Know Me – Tokyo 1983

“He brought a lot of powers and strengths to the group. He brought in gospel music from his church upbringing. Plus, he loved to play and just come up with new things. It was like having a force of nature in the band.”
~Rick Danko

Posthumous recognition

  • In 1994, Richard Manuel was inducted, posthumously, into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Band. 
  • In 2003, Japan’s Dreamsville Records released Whispering Pines: Live at the Getaway, which contains selections from a solo concert recorded in Saugerties, New York in October 1985.
  • Former bandmate Robbie Robertson‘s song “Fallen Angel” (1987) and The Band‘s song “Too Soon Gone” (1993) are each tributes to Manuel. 
  • On Forbes.com, Allen St. John wrote a tribute article about Richard Manuel and Rick Danko on April 19, 2012.
  • Eric Clapton’s 1986 album, August, features his tribute to Richard Manuel entitled “Holy Mother”.
  • San Francisco-area group, The Call, who had collaborated with former Band members Hudson and Robertson, dedicated the video for their 1986 single, “Everywhere I Go” to Manuel.
  • Counting Crows recorded the song “If I Could Give All My Love -or- Richard Manuel Is Dead”, released on their 2002 album Hard Candy.
  • The Drive-By Truckers’ song “Danko/Manuel” was released on their album The Dirty South in 2004.

Wikipedia, http://theband.hiof.no, +

Playlist of the day

Other April-03

Continue reading Today: The late Richard Manuel was born in 1943 – 70 years ago