Shoot Out the Lights

Shoot Out the Lights

:"This article is about the Richard and Linda Thompson album. For the single by British heavy metal band Diamond Head see Shoot Out the Lights (Diamond Head single)."Infobox Album
Name = Shoot Out the Lights
Type = studio
Artist = Richard and Linda Thompson

Released = start date|1982|4
Recorded = start date|1981|11 at Olympic Studios, London
Genre = Rock
Length = 38:16
Label = Hannibal
Producer = Joe Boyd
Reviews =
* Allmusic Rating|5|5 [ link]
* Robert Christgau (A) [ link]
Last album = "Sunnyvista" (1979)
This album = "Shoot Out the Lights" (1982)
Next album =
Misc = Singles
Name = Shoot Out the Lights
Type = studio
Single 1 = Don't Renege on Our Love
Single 1 date = start date|1982|4
Extra chronology 2
Artist = Richard Thompson
Type = studio
Last album = "Sunnyvista" (with Linda Thompson) (1979)
This album = "Shoot Out the Lights" (with Linda Thompson) (1982)
Next album ="Hand of Kindness" (1983)
Extra chronology 2
Artist = Linda Thompson
Type = studio
Last album = "Sunnyvista" (with Richard Thompson) (1979)
This album = "Shoot Out the Lights" (with Richard Thompson) (1982)
Next album = "One Clear Moment" (1985)

"Shoot Out the Lights", released in 1982, was the sixth and final album by the British husband-and-wife rock duo Richard and Linda Thompson.


After their 1979 album "Sunnyvista" had sold poorly, Richard and Linda Thompson found themselves without a record deal. In the spring of 1980 they toured as the support act for Gerry Rafferty and in June of that year they recorded some demo tracks at [Woodworm Studios in Oxfordshire.Smith, Dave, "The Great Valerio - a study of the songs of Richard Thompson", 2004]

Later that same year and with the Thompsons still without a contract, Rafferty stepped in and offered to finance and produce a new Richard and Linda Thompson album and then use his contacts in the industry and the finished album to secure a new contract with the Thompsons. This album was recorded during September and October 1980 at Chipping Norton Studios in Oxfordshire.Humphries, Patrick, "Richard Thompson - The Biography", Schirmer, 1997. ISBN 0-02-864752-1]

As the project proceeded there was increasing tension between Richard Thompson and Rafferty. Thompson preferred a spontaneous approach to recording and found Rafferty's time-consuming and perfectionist approach hard to cope with. He also felt increasingly frozen out of the project: "When he got to the mixing, I just didn’t bother to turn up . . . because if I said something it was totally ignored and I thought 'hey, whose record is this anyway?'"

However the album was completed, but Rafferty was unable to interest any record companies and lost in the region of thirty thousand pounds on the project. Copies of the tapes of the Rafferty-sponsored sessions have subsequently become available as a bootleg.

Finally, in the summer of 1981 Joe Boyd signed the Thompsons to his small Hannibal label, and in November of that year the Thompsons went back into the studio and recorded a new album. Boyd's proposal, which the Thompsons accepted, was that the album be recorded in a matter of days so that money could be put aside for a tour of the USA. The resulting "Shoot Out The Lights" included six songs that had been recorded during the Rafferty-sponsored sessions and two newer songs.. Linda Thompson was several months pregnant when the album was recorded and so there was no prospect of an immediate release or supporting tour.

In December 1981 Richard Thompson embarked on a series of low-key solo concerts in the USA (his first shows in that country for more than ten years). During this "mini tour" he commenced a relationship with Nancy Covey, who had arranged the tour and who was to become Thompson's second wife. Richard and Linda Thompson separated in early 1982, and severed their working relationship after the May tour to promote "Shoot Out The Lights".

This timeline is required to debunk the great myth about this album — that it deals specifically and publicly with the breakdown of the Thompsons' marriage. Six of the eight songs that were included on the album had been recorded over two years earlier at Woodworm Studios and again during the Rafferty sessions, nearly a year before Richard Thompson first met Nancy Covey. "Man in Need" and "Did She Jump Or Was She Pushed?" were newer than the other songs on the album, but they, too, had been recorded before there was any indication that the marriage was over.

Ironically, the album that was recorded when the Thompsons' career seemed all but over and which turned out to be their last album together was their best selling album and acclaimed as one of their greatest artistic achievements. More importantly the album and the May 1982 tour to promote it were very well received in the USA by the public, the critics and by other musicians..

"Shoot Out The Lights" and the May 1982 tour were crucial in re-launching Richard Thompson's career and in restoring his reputation as a songwriter and guitar player.

Critical response

At the end of 1982, many critics placed the album on their year-end "best of" lists.

In 1989, it was ranked #9 on "Rolling Stone" magazine's list of the "The 100 Greatest Albums of the 80's". RS500|333

In March 2005, "Q" magazine placed the title song at number 99 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.

Release history

In 1991, Rykodisc released "Shoot Out the Lights" with "Living in Luxury" as a bonus track on the first run. In 1993, Rykodisc released it as part of their AU20 Mastering Gold CD series. Dr. Toby Mountain of Northeastern Digital Recording, Inc., in Southborough, Massachusetts using Sony's proprietary "Super Bit Mapping" (SBM) compression system to reduce the digital master from 20-bit to 16-bit required for the Red Book compact disc digital mastering standard.

Track listing

All songs written by Richard Thompson except as noted.
#"Don't Renege on Our Love" – 4:19
#"Walking on a Wire" – 5:29
#"Man in Need" – 3:36
#"Just the Motion" – 6:19
#"Shoot Out the Lights" – 5:24
#"Back Street Slide" – 4:33
#"Did She Jump or Was She Pushed?" (R. Thompson, Linda Thompson) – 4:52
#"Wall of Death" – 3:43
#"Living in Luxury" – 2:32 (single B-side included on some versions of the album)

"Track listing note:" On the original LP, side one consisted of tracks 1-4; side consisted of tracks 5-8.


*Richard Thompsonvocals, lead guitar, accordion, hammered dulcimer
*Linda Thompson – vocals
*Simon Nicolrhythm guitar
*Dave Peggbass on 3 6 7 8
*Pete Zorn – bass on 1 2 4 5, backing vocals
*David Mattacksdrums

Additional personnel

*The Watersons (Norma, Mike, Lal, and Martin Carthy) – backing vocals
*Clive Gregson – backing vocals
*Stephen Corbett – cornet
*Brian Jones – cornet
*Phil Goodwin – tuba
*Stephen Barnett – trombone
*Mark Cutts – trombone


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