Former Manfred Mann vocalist, on the cutting edge of rock since the 1970s.
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Chris Thompson Biography

by Craig Harris

Chris Thompson has been on the cutting edge of rock for decades. The lead vocalist on Manfred Mann's Earth Band's chart-topping 1976 hit version of Bruce Springsteen's "Blinded by the Light," Thompson has continued to make his presence felt. His distinctive vocals can be heard on albums by Elton John, the Doobie Brothers, Ozzy Osbourne, Tina Turner, Ray Charles, John Farnham, and Jefferson Starship, who covered his tune "Blaze of Love" in 1989, as well as eight albums with Manfred Mann's Earth Band. Thompson's songs have been covered by the Doobie Brothers, Michael MacDonald, Heart, and Isaac Hayes. He co-wrote seven songs, and sang two, in the film Fire and Ice. Thompson has been involved with a number of bands besides Manfred Mann's Earth Band. He formed Night, a Los Angeles-based pop band, in 1979, shortly after leaving Manfred Mann's Earth Band. During the three years that he performed with the group, he recorded two singles that reached the Top 20 -- "Hot Summer Nights" and "If You Remember Me," the theme song of the film The Champ. Thompson collaborated with ex-Doobie Brothers vocalist/guitarist Patrick Simmons on Simmon's debut solo album, Arcade, co-writing and singing on the Top 20 hit, "So Wrong." In 1993, he began a long involvement with keyboardist/composer Alan Parsons. The American-distributed version of Parsons' 1995 album, The Very Best Live, featured a studio recording of "You're the Voice," featuring Thompson's vocals. Thompson has also been closely aligned with Queen. The group's guitarist, Brian May, was featured on his second solo album, Radio Waves, in 1985. At the Freddy Mercury Tribute Concert at Wombley Stadium in 1992, Thompson rehearsed the band and guest artists. The following year, he participated in Brian May's solo tour of South America. Born in England, Thompson grew up in New Zealand, where he formed a band, Hilbery Walker. Returning to the United Kingdom in 1974, he joined Manfred Mann's Earth Band two years later. Although he left the group in 1978, he returned to help finish the album, Somewhere in Afrika, in 1982. Together with drummer John Lingwood, he produced a live album and video, Live in Budapest. Thompson has recorded several hits on his own. In 1986, his song "The Challenge" was adopted as the theme of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and became a number one hit in Germany. His fourth solo album, Beat of Love, released in 1991, included "The Joker," which was used as the theme song of a popular television show, Jolly Joker, and became a Top Ten German hit. He performed the theme song of another German TV series, Florida Lady, in 1994. In 2000, Thompson signed a worldwide songwriter deal with the London-based Notting Hill Music company.

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