Tom Robinson Biography
Tom Robinson is a British songwriter and broadcaster born in 1950. His music career began in London with the acoustic trio Café Society, whose eponymous 1975 album was produced by Ray Davies of The Kinks and sold less than 500 copies. He then formed the Tom Robinson Band (TRB) who were early supporters of the UK’s Rock Against Racism movement. Unusually for the time, Robinson was openly gay and a vocal supporter of LGBT rights.
TRB enjoyed singles chart success in the UK with Glad To Be Gay, 2-4-6-8 Motorway and Up Against The Wall; and the band’s debut album Power In The Darkness – produced by Chris Thomas – went gold in the UK and Japan. The second album, TRB TWO (produced by Todd Rungren), was less successful and the band broke up in 1979.
Tom subsequently wrote co-songs with Elton John for his albums 21 At 33 and The Fox while forming his third band, Sector 27 whose eponymous debut album was produced by Steve Lillywhite in 1980. While enjoying only modest success in the UK, the band achieved cult status in New York. In 1981 they played Madison Square Garden with The Police and toured the US extensively before splitting later that year.
As a solo artist, Robinson had further UK Top 40 hits in 1983 with the singles War Baby and Atmospherics: Listen To The Radio (which Tom co-wrote with Peter Gabriel). In 1987 his album Still Loving You was a hit in Italy, resulting in an appearance at the San Remo Festival and the same year he also made his debut as a music radio DJ on the BBC World Service. During this period Tom co-wrote several songs with Dan Hartman and also with Manu Katché for his album It’s About Time.
Between 1992-1996 Robinson released a trilogy of albums on the acclaimed UK folk/roots label Cooking Vinyl, while at the same time his career as radio broadcaster began to take off. Tom went on to host programmes on all eight of the BBC‘s national radio stations and win two gold Sony Academy Radio Awards. He was on the founding team for the alternative music station BBC Radio 6 Music when it launched in 2002 and a prominent figure in the campaign to save the station when it was threatened with closure in 2010. Tom currently hosts three shows a week on 6 Music where he has become known as a champion of new emerging artists via BBC Introducing. He also hosts his own music blog for independent artists at Fresh On The Net.
In 2015 Robinson recorded Only The Now – his first new studio album in almost 20 years – with violinist and award-winning record producer Gerry Diver. The album includes guest appearances by Nitin Sawhney, John Grant, Martin Carthy, Nadine Shah, Billy Bragg, TV Smith and Sir Ian McKellen.
Tom Robinson Discography
With CAFÉ SOCIETY
Café Society 1975
With the TOM ROBINSON BAND
2-4-6-8 Motorway (Single) 1977
Rising Free (EP) 1978 Power In The Darkness 1978 TRB TWO 1979 With SECTOR 27 Sector 27 1980 TOM ROBINSON: Cabaret 79 1982 North By Northwest 1982 War Baby (Single) 1983 Atmospherics: Listen To The Radio (Single) 1983 Hope & Glory 1984 Still Loving You 1986 Last Tango: Midnight At The Fringe 1988 Blood Brother: We Never Had It So Good 1990 Living In A Boom Time 1992 Love Over Rage 1994 Thin Green Line (EP) with TV Smith 1995 Having It Both Ways 1996 Home From Home Vols 1 & 2 1998 Faith, Folk & Anarchy 2001 Faith Folk & Anarchy – Live 2002 Smelling Dogs 2001 Don't Jump, Don't Fall (single) 2015 Only The Now 2015