Tony Thompson (drummer)

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Tony Thompson
Birth nameAnthony Terrence Thompson
Born(1954-11-15)November 15, 1954
New York City, NY,[1] United States
DiedNovember 12, 2003(2003-11-12) (aged 48)
Los Angeles, California, United States
GenresNew wave, alternative rock, hard rock, pop rock, disco, hip hop, funk, R&B, soul
Occupation(s)Musician, drummer
Associated actsThe Power Station, Chic, Distance, David Bowie, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Crown of Thorns

Anthony Terrence Thompson (November 15, 1954  – November 12, 2003) was an American session drummer best known as the drummer of The Power Station and a member of Chic. He was raised in the middle-class community of Springfield Gardens, in Queens, New York.[2]

Music career[edit]


Thompson, whose mother was Trinidadian and father was of Antiguan descent, first drummed for the group Labelle, and then for a short while was a member, with Raymond Jones, of the soul/disco band Ecstasy, Passion & Pain. This was followed by a long tenure with Chic, where he helped create hits such as "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)," "Le Freak," and "Good Times". He also performed with members of Chic on "We Are Family" and "He's the Greatest Dancer" by Sister Sledge and "Upside Down" and "I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross.

Following the temporary disbanding of Chic in 1983, Chic's former guitarist and bassist, Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards became prolific producers, and Thompson's drumming was much in demand among their clients. Thompson appeared with numerous artists such as Jody Watley, Madonna (on her 1984 album Like a Virgin), Rod Stewart, Robert Palmer and David Bowie.

Other bands[edit]

Thompson was also a member of the band The Power Station along with Robert Palmer, and John Taylor and Andy Taylor of Duran Duran. The Live Aid charity benefit concert in 1985 saw Thompson filling in and playing with the Power Station as well as joining the remaining members of Led Zeppelin on stage (along with Phil Collins) at John F. Kennedy Stadium. During a reunion attempt in 1986 it was rumored that Led Zeppelin asked Thompson to join them as a replacement for John Bonham. The reunion stalled in part because fans wanted to see Bonham, not Thompson, and Bonham was dead. Thompson was in a serious car accident that year and would not have been able to perform regardless.[3]

Thompson went on to join groups such as The Distance and Crown of Thorns with Jean Beauvoir (playing on their first album Crown of Thorns before leaving the band and subsequently replaced by Hawk Lopez). Thompson was also a founding member of the band That Hideous Strength. In the mid 1990s he rejoined Power Station for their 1996 reunion album Living in Fear and subsequent tour. Thompson's final project was called Non-Toxic which he formed with bassist Michael Paige (Crown of Thorns) and guitarist Dave Scott; Thompson died before finishing the project's first album.

Death and legacy[edit]

Thompson died on November 12, 2003, in Los Angeles, within a month of being diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer). His death occurred just three days short of his 49th birthday,[2] and two months after the death of The Power Station bandmate Robert Palmer from a heart attack. Thompson was a member of the band Non-Toxic at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife, two children, and his sister, Cookie. On September 19, 2005, Thompson and the rest of the Chic band members were inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame.


  1. ^ Pareles, Jon (Nov. 24, 2003). "Tony Thompson, 48, Drummer Who Helped to Define Disco." New York Times Retrieved 1-15-2018.
  2. ^ a b Jon Pareles (November 24, 2003). "Tony Thompson, 48, Drummer Who Helped to Define Disco". The New York Times. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. Retrieved December 27, 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

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