Get 20% off sitewide with promo code SUMMER22 at checkout! Shop now »

For more great books from Algonquin, visit Algonquin.com.

Beeswing

Losing My Way and Finding My Voice 1967-1975

By Richard Thompson

With Scott Timberg

A Rolling Stone Best Music Book of 2021

“Thompson is a master showman . . .  [Beeswing is] everything you’d hope a Richard Thompson autobiography would be . . . It’s both major and minor, dirge and ditty, light on its feet but packing a punch.”
The Wall Street Journal


Now Featuring an Interview with Elvis Costello
 
In this moving, immersive, and long-awaited memoir, beloved international music legend Richard Thompson recreates the spirit of his early years, where he found, and then lost, and then found his way again. Considered one of the top twenty guitarists of all time, Thompson also belongs in the songwriting pantheon alongside Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and Randy Newman. Here the British folk musician takes us back to the late 1960s, a period of great change and creativity for both him and the world at large.

During the pivotal years of 1967 to 1975, just as he was discovering his passion for music, he formed the band Fairport Convention with some schoolmates and helped establish the genre of British folk rock. It was a thrilling period of massive tours, where Thompson was on the road in both the UK and the US, crossing paths with the likes of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix, as well as a time of heady and explosive creativity for Thompson, who wrote some of his most famous songs during this time. But as Thompson reveals, those eight years were also marked by upheaval and tragedy. Honest, moving, and compelling, Beeswing vividly captures the life of a remarkable man and musician during a period of artistic intensity, in a world on the cusp of change.

“An absorbing, witty, often deliciously biting read, as all rock memoirs should be.” —Los Angeles Review of Books

 

Read more

Shipping to the U.S. only. Please see our International FAQ for more information.

Books also available at
Meet the Authors
Richard Thompson headshot

Richard Thompson

More about the author
Scott Timberg headshot

Scott Timberg

More about the author
Review quotes
Beeswing is wry, un-ponderous, anti-obligatory. Because the sound Thompson created with Fairport was rooted in centuries-old songs, he isn’t captive to ’60s clichés; and because British electric folk is off the classic-rock grid . . . The book’s period accent makes it feel fresh and exploratory.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Mr. Thompson is a master showman. The balancing act of major and minor, strung together by his witty, self-deprecating banter, is the crux of Mr. Thompson’s shows, and that same equipoise between dirge and ditty is the hallmark of Beeswing: It’s everything you’d hope a Richard Thompson autobiography would be . . . It’s both major and minor, dirge and ditty, light on its feet but packing a punch: like the very best Richard Thompson show.”
—Wesley Stace​, The Wall Street Journal

“In an appealing memoir, the renowned British folk rocker recounts the frenetic pace and gritty fun of his many decades as a touring musician.”
People magazine

“Richard Thompson is one of the world’s great guitarists and songwriters and, with Beeswing, Richard adds master memoirist to his long list of artistic accomplishments. Beeswing is a fascinating look at his formative years in the vibrant, vital London music scene of the 1960s.”
 —Bob Mould, musician and songwriter

“With pure alchemy, Richard Thompson created his own iconic guitar style, electrifying and reimagining Celtic music and going on to write some of the most passionate, intelligent and heartbreaking songs I know.” 
Bonnie Raitt

“I admire Richard Thompson so much, and I found Beeswing as inspiring as his music. I devoured and savored it.”
Steve Gunn, musician and songwriter

“A beloved musician’s memoir is cause for celebration . . . The prose is smart and smartly moving . . . [Beeswing] documents a beloved band’s prime existence.”
—RJ Smith, Los Angeles Times

“An absorbing, witty, often deliciously biting read.” 
Los Angeles Times Review of Books

“[Thompson] is never less than razor-sharp, and credit is due for including both the highs and lows . . .  [His] spell is never broken, and, as on disc, his is a welcome voice to meet on the page. Readers will be eager for the next volume of the story. Like a great Richard Thompson solo, this title contains surprise, beauty, delight, and a voice like no other. His autobiography is as welcome as it is long overdue.”
 —Library Journal, starred review

“Thompson has a reputation as a guitarists’ guitarist and a top-notch singer-songwriter . . . With Beeswing, Thompson proves himself equally adept as a memoirist . . . Just as he has a knack for lyrics, Thompson has a way with words on the page, offering colorful portraits of his contemporaries and collaborators . . . Thompson’s humor and insight also shine. He evocatively recreates a time and place, and, like his shows, his memoir leaves you wanting more.”
 —Booklist, starred review

“More than a typical celebrity memoir, Beeswing is thoughtful, well written and at times very funny. With his sophisticated songs and distinctive guitar work, Thompson, 72, has long been the thinking person's musician. Turns out he's also the thinking person's memoirist.”
 —Laurie Hertzel, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“[Thompson] offers plenty of insight into the early days of Fairport Convention and its ever-changing lineup along with charming anecdotes.”
 —Kirkus Reviews

“Readers who regard Thompson as a major figure in the arts will consider this a must-read.”
 —Publishers Weekly

“Thompson is extraordinarily special: a singer-songwriter of rare bite and insight; an emphatic moderniser of ancient traditions; a guitarist with few equals.”
Mojo

“Intimate, honest . . . For Fairport Convention fans, this book offers a teasure trove of information.”
 —The Wire

“A beautiful, funny, fascinating book, covering a transformative time in Thompson’s life, as he puts together Fairport Convention and a new approach to English folk music." 
 —Ed Park, author of Personal Days

“Warm and witty.”
 —Steven Hyden, Uproxx.com

“Thompson writes exceptionally well, in a droll, very British way…If you love music in all its myriad forms, you’ll love this book.”
 New York Journal of Books

“Unpretentious, particular and entirely lovely.”
—Shelf Awareness
 
“Essential and delightful.”
—Kip Berman, The Talkhouse
 


 
Product Details
Categories
Number of pages
304
Publication date
March 29, 2022
ISBN
9781643752532