Exposé Online banner

Richard Thompson — 1000 Years of Popular Music
(Beeswing BSW-003, 2003, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2004-04-01

1000 Years of Popular Music Cover artWhen the end of the millennium started creeping up, lots of people started making lists. When it comes to the subject of popular music, most of us are only familiar with that of the 20th Century, with little idea even what constituted “popular music” in 1350, for example. As the story goes, Playboy asked a bunch of musos for their end-of-the-millennium lists, and, knowing well that they really meant only the last 100 of the 1000 years, Richard Thompson took them at their word and dug back into the beginnings of music as we know it. After compiling the list, he decided it would make a nice show, and this live recording, in addition to documenting the history of Western popular music, is testament to the the man’s broad knowledge and good taste. Aside from the occasional presence of Judith Owen’s voice or Michael Jerome’s percussion, it’s solo Thompson, full of the wry humor and stellar guitar playing for which he’s known. You can take as given that the quality of the performance is high, so the choice of material becomes the defining factor – Thompson manages to represent most of the ten centuries, from “Summer Is Icumen In” (documented in the 13th Century and likely much older) to “Oops! I Did It Again” from the waning days of the 20th. Songs in English (of whatever century) dominate, from folk to music hall to jazz to rock and roll to rhythm and blues to “disposable” pop. I’m now waiting for Volume Two...

Filed under: New releases, Issue 29, 2003 releases

Related artist(s): Richard Thompson

Latest news

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Algernon - Ghost Surveillance – Lately I've been listening to a lot of music that is labeled "post-rock," and like many genre labels, there is a point at which it becomes meaningless. World's End Girlfriend, GYBE,...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues