Danny Thompson: I Joined Roy Orbison Band… Without Knowing Who He Was
Danny Thompson has recalled how he wound up playing electric bass for the first and only time as a member of Roy Orbison’s band.
The multi-instrumentalist, best-known for playing double bass, never played its smaller cousin again.
And he’d never heard of the Big ‘O’ – he only took the job because he was broke.
Thompson says in an exclusive video clip launched by Prog’s sister title, Classic Rock: “They said, ‘It’s electric bass.’ I said, ‘Oh, I don’t play bass guitar.’ They said, ‘It’s alright, we’ll show you.’ I said, ‘But I haven’t got one.’ They got me a bass, an amp and £40 a week. I said, ‘I’ll do it!’
“So I did six weeks with Roy Orbison on the Beatles tours: Gerry and the Pacemakers, Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, Billy J Kramer, Cilla Black’s very first live concert.
“All these things and touring with the Beatles – of course it was fantastic. Roy was an amazing bloke. It shames me to say I’d never heard of him.
“After that I found it affected my left hand, playing electric bass, so I never ever played it again. But I can say the only time I’ve played electric bass is with Roy Orbison.”
Pentangle founding member Thompson releases a career retrospective album called Connected at the end of September. Orders placed before September 23 will be signed by him. Order here.