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 Rock Against Racism and Amnesty International. Unusually for the time, Tom was also a prominent advocate for LGBT equality.
TRB enjoyed chart success in the UK with 2-4-6-8 Motorway, Don’t Take No For An Answer and Up Against The Wall and a BBC ban for their song Glad To Be Gay. The band’s debut album Power In The Darkness – produced by Chris Thomas – went gold in the UK and Japan but the follow-up, TRB TWO (produced by Todd Rundgren), was less successful and the band broke up in 1979.
TRB were early supporters of Rock Against Racism and Amnesty International. Unusually for the time, Tom was also a prominent advocate for LGBT equality.
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. The last of these, Having It Both Ways, reflected the fact that he had married his female partner in 1990 and now identified as bisexual. Around the same time his career as radio broadcaster began to take off: Robinson 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 alternative music station BBC Radio 6 Music when it launched in 2002 and figured prominently in the campaign to save the station when it was threatened with closure in 2010. Tom currently hosts three shows a week at BBC Radio 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 released Only The Now – his first new studio album in almost 20 years – recorded with violinist and award-winning record producer Gerry Diver. The album includes guest appearances by Nitin Sawhney, John Grant, Lisa Knapp, Swami Baracus, Colin Firth, Martin Carthy, Nadine Shah, Billy Bragg, TV Smith and Sir Ian McKellen.