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Chris Thompson, 2010.
|Christopher Hamlet Thompson|
|Born||9 March 1948|
|Genres||Rock, progressive rock|
|Labels||Ultraphone, Ariola, Atlantic|
|Manfred Mann's Earth Band|
Christopher Hamlet Thompson (born 9 March 1948) is an English singer and guitarist known both for his work with Manfred Mann's Earth Band, specifically for his lead vocal on the classic hit "Blinded By the Light" and for his solo accomplishments.
Thompson was born in Ashford, Kent, England, but raised in New Zealand. His early musical experiences were whilst still at school with the band The Paragons that played at weekly church youth club dances. Later, as his talent became clear, the band was reformed as Dynasty with other musicians and achieved much local success on the New Zealand music scene. Thompson's last band in New Zealand was Mandrake, formed with university friends who played the Friday and Saturday night dances in and around Hamilton City.
In 1978, he was featured in Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, providing lead vocals for the song "Thunder Child".
After several years with Manfred Mann's Earth Band, Thompson left in 1979 and formed the Los Angeles-based outfit Night, which enjoyed two hits during its lifetime. One of them, "If You Remember Me," the unused theme song for Franco Zeffirelli's remake of The Champ, was initially credited solely to Thompson; later pressings of the single were credited to "Chris Thompson and Night." (But this source gives lyric credit to Carole Bayer Sager for "If You Remember Me," and the music credit to Marvin Hamlisch.) The song reached #17 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #7 Adult Contemporary. It was a very minor hit in Canada (#91). After the band broke up in 1982, he rejoined the Earth Band.
In 1980, he co-wrote and sang backing vocals on the track "No Stoppin' Us Now" with Patrick Simmons and Michael McDonald, on the Doobie Brothers' album One Step Closer. In 1983 he contributed vocals to Simmons' solo album Arcade as well as co-writing several of the tracks.
In 1981, Thompson released his debut album, Out of the Night. This was followed by five more albums, most recently Won't Lie Down in 2001.
In 1984, while functional lead singer for the re-formed Manfred Mann's Earth Band, Thompson lent lead vocals to "Runner," which slowly climbed to become a USA and UK top 30 hit, propelled by then-hot MTV airplay.
In 1986, Chris was one of the four co-writers of the hit song "You're the Voice" - the others being Andy Qunta of Australian new wave outfit Icehouse, erstwhile Procol Harum lyricist Keith Reid and Maggie Ryder. He hoped to record the song in London but was turned down by record companies there who stated the song was "not commercial." Chris sent a demo to John Farnham (another Antipodean-raised Englishman) who had recently come off a five-year stint fronting the Little River Band. Farnham liked the song and agreed to record it for his forthcoming album, Whispering Jack. Farnham's release of "You're the Voice" was a worldwide hit, reaching top ten positions in many countries across the world.
Also in 1986, Thompson sang vocals on a solo album by ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett. The album featured performances by artists such as Brian May (Queen), Pete Trewavas (Marillion), Ian Mosley (also from Marillion), and Bonnie Tyler. However, the album, entitled Feedback 86, was not released until 2002.
In spite of his already busy schedule in 1986, Thompson still found the time to return to Manfred Mann for their new album, Criminal Tango, in addition to putting out some solo material. He recorded the song "It's Not Over" for the soundtrack to the film Playing for Keeps, and this track was also featured (with a slightly longer fade-out) on his new solo album, High Cost of Living, released later the same year. The following year, "It's Not Over" would be re-recorded by Starship, becoming a top-ten hit for the group.
In 1989, Thompson recorded the single "The Challenge (Face It)" as the official theme song for the 1989 Wimbledon Tennis Championships. He co-wrote the song with Harold Faltermeyer. A year later, in 1990, Thompson worked again with Faltermeyer in writing the 1990 song for Wimbledon, Hold the Dream by Franzisca.
In 1992, Thompson performed at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert as a backing musician, harmonising with respected backing vocalists Maggie Ryder and Miriam Stockley. He also joined The Brian May Band for their South American tour the same year.[circular reference]
In 1995, Thompson performed "You're The Voice" in the Netherlands at the World Liberty Concert as the grand finale of the event. He also sang a studio version of it on the Alan Parsons The Very Best Live album (1995).
In 2006 and 2007, he joined Jeff Wayne for a second time to tour as The Voice of Humanity in the live version of Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds. According to the special features of the DVD Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds - Live on Stage, Thompson designed some artwork for the show.
Thompson has been featured on several albums by artists such as Alan Parsons,Jan Hammer, Steve Hackett, Bonnie Tyler, Mike Oldfield, and Sarah Brightman, as well as providing backing vocals for Brian May of Queen, during his first few solo concerts in South America in 1992.
Thompson has also been involved with the SAS Band (Spike's All Star Band) where he has performed numerous songs, especially from his repertoire with Manfred Mann's Earth Band.