Robin Leonard Trower (born 9 March 1945) is an English rock guitarist and vocalist who achieved success with Procol Harum throughout 1967–1971, and then again as the bandleader of his own power trio known as the Robin Trower Band.
|Birth name||Robin Leonard Trower|
|Born||9 March 1945|
Catford, London, England
|Genres||Blues rock, hard rock|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, vocalist, songwriter, bandleader|
|Associated acts||Procol Harum, The Paramounts, Jack Bruce|
Robin Trower was born in Catford, London, England, and grew up in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. In 1962, he formed a band that became the Paramounts, later including Westcliff High School pupil Gary Brooker. The Paramounts disbanded in 1966 to pursue individual projects. During this time, Trower created a local three-piece band called the Jam (not to be confused with the later group with Paul Weller). Trower then joined Brooker's new band Procol Harum following the success of their debut single "A Whiter Shade of Pale" in 1967, remaining with them until 1971 and appearing on the group's first five albums.
Before launching his eponymous band, he joined singer Frankie Miller, ex-Stone the Crows bassist/singer James Dewar, and former Jethro Tull drummer Clive Bunker to form the short-lived combo Jude. This outfit did not record and soon split up.
Trower retained Dewar as his bassist, who took on lead vocals as well, and recruited drummer Reg Isidore (later replaced by Bill Lordan) to form the Robin Trower Band in 1973. In 1974, the group released Bridge of Sighs. This album, along with his first and third solo albums, was produced by his former Procol Harum bandmate, organist Matthew Fisher. His early power trio work was noted for Jimi Hendrix influences. Trower is an influential guitarist who has inspired other guitar legends such as Robert Fripp, who praised him for his string bending and the quality of his sounds, and took lessons from him.
In the early 1980s, Trower teamed up with former Cream bassist Jack Bruce and his previous drummers Lordan and Isidore for two albums, BLT (Bruce, Lordan, Trower) and Truce (Trower, Bruce, Isidore). After those albums, he released another album with James Dewar on vocals titled Back It Up in 1983. Robin Trower was dropped from Chrysalis Records afterwards.
Trower was also a part of the Night of the Guitars II European tour in 1991, organized by Sting and The Police manager Miles Copeland. The tour featured Ronnie Montrose, Rick Derringer, Saga's Ian Crichton, Dave Sharman, Jan Akkerman and Laurie Wisefield.
Thirteen albums later, Trower's album Living Out of Time (2004) featured the return of veteran bandmates Dave Bronze on bass, vocalist Davey Pattison (formerly with Ronnie Montrose's band Gamma) and Pete Thompson on drums—the same line-up as the mid-1980s albums Passion and Take What You Need.
With the same bandmates, Trower gave a concert on his 60th birthday in Bonn, Germany. The concert was recorded by the German television channel WDR. It was then released on DVD and subsequently on CD throughout Europe and later the US under the title Living Out of Time: Live. Trower toured the United States and Canada in the summer and autumn of 2006.
In 2007, Trower released a third recording with Jack Bruce, Seven Moons, featuring Gary Husband on drums. A 2008 world tour began in Ft. Pierce, Florida, on 16 January 2008. Joining Davey Pattison and Pete Thompson was Glenn Letsch (formerly of Gamma) playing bass. European dates began in April. The show of 29 March 2008 at the Royal Oak Music Theater in Royal Oak, Michigan, was released as a double album on V12 Records.
In 2016, he enjoyed a successful tour of the US. On 20 March 2018, Trower played a show at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis, Maryland. Ten minutes later (approximately 9:00PM EDT) after playing back-to-back songs "Day of The Eagle" and "Bridge of Sighs", he announced on his microphone that he was not feeling well (he had flu symptoms), handed his guitar to a stage crew, walked backstage and collapsed. He was transported by ambulance to the hospital for treatment.
During a 1971 tour with Jethro Tull, Robin Trower arrived early for a sound check and found Martin Barre's Fender Stratocaster (which Barre used for slide playing) propped up against an amplifier. Trower picked up the guitar, plugged it in, and with a shout that resounded around the auditorium he yelled, "This is it!" "I then switched to Strat" he says. "Up to then I had been playing Les Pauls."
Since then Trower has been an ongoing proponent of the Fender Stratocaster. He currently uses his custom-built Strat (made by the Fender Custom Shop) which comes in black, arctic white and midnight wine burst. The guitar is equipped with a 1950s reissue pick-up in the neck position, a 1960s reissue in the middle position, and a Texas Special at the bridge. Other features included a custom C-shaped maple neck featuring a large headstock with a Bullet truss-rod system, locking machine heads and a maple fingerboard with narrow-spaced abalone dot position inlays and 21 jumbo frets. The Strats he plays live are an exact model of his signature guitar, which is entirely unmodified. For his first two albums, his guitar was tuned in Standard Tuning EADGBE. Starting from the third album, he detuned the strings a semitone to an Eb Tuning (Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb). It is reported that during live performances, his guitar is tuned a full step down to a DGCFAD tuning. This long-established practice of detuning may have been prompted by his preference for very heavy gauge guitar strings. Trower's three top strings measure, high E, B and G = .12, .15 and .17 gauge. By comparison, the most common choice of rock and roll lead players is .09, .11, .15. The width and weight of Robin's string set are similar to common acoustic guitar strings, and that weight makes vibrating and bending the strings more difficult, especially with the full tension of a standard tuning. Detuning them a half-step or more lower eases the tension and provides greater control. Robin told Guitar Player Magazine in a July 1980 interview that he recommends every young player try a thicker set of strings. "The thicker sound alone is worth it, but they also help keep you from forming bad habits." (String gauge measurement: .12 = .012 inches diameter).
Trower uses between one and three 100-watt Marshall heads with four to six cabinets on stage. While he usually uses two JCM 800s and a JCM 900, he also links 100-watt Marshall Plexi heads. In studio sessions, Trower uses a mix of amplifiers, such as a Fender Blues Junior and Cornell Plexi Amplifiers models to acquire different tonality.
He has recently been using Fulltone pedals and effects. He favors the OCD, Distortion Pro, Fat Boost, CLYDE Deluxe Wah, Deja Vibe 2, Soul-Bender, and a BOSS Chromatic Tuner. He runs his Deja Vibe into his distortion pedal to get his famous tone. He was given his own signature Fulltone Robin Trower Overdrive in late 2008.
For his 2009 and 2011 US tours Robin was using his Fender Custom Shop Signature Stratocaster into a Fulltone Deja Vibe 2, Fulltone Wahfull, Fulltone Clyde Standard Wah, Fulltone Full Drive, Fulltone Robin Trower Overdrive, and Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner into two Marshall Vintage Modern 2466 heads.
On his 2018 tour he used the same gear but through two 50 watt Marshall Plexi Reissue Heads, the 1987X.
With Procol HarumEdit
- 1967 Procol Harum
- 1968 Shine on Brightly (Trower sings backup on "Wish Me Well")
- 1969 A Salty Dog (Trower sings lead on "Crucifiction Lane")
- 1970 Home
- 1970 Ain't Nothin' to Get Excited About (a vintage rock'n'roll side-project by members of Procol Harum, recording as 'Liquorice John Death')
- 1971 Broken Barricades (Trower sings lead on "Song for a Dreamer" and "Poor Mohammed")
- 1991 The Prodigal Stranger
- 1995 The Long Goodbye
With Robin Trower BandEdit
|1973||Twice Removed from Yesterday||–||–||–||106||Chrysalis|
|1974||Bridge of Sighs||–||41||3||7||
|1975||For Earth Below||26||47||9||5||
|1976||Long Misty Days||31||63||75||24||
|1977||In City Dreams||58||–||27||25||
|1978||Caravan to Midnight||–||87||57||37||Chrysalis|
|1980||Victims of the Fury||61||95||86||34||Chrysalis|
|1983||Back It Up||–||–||–||191||Chrysalis|
|1988||Take What You Need||–||–||–||133||Atlantic|
|1990||In the Line of Fire||–||–||–||–||Atlantic|
|1994||20th Century Blues||–||–||–||–||V-12 (Trower's label)|
|2000||Go My Way||–||–||–||–||Aezra/Orpheus|
|2003||Living Out of Time||–||–||–||–||V-12|
|2005||Another Days Blues||–||–||–||–||V-12|
|2009||What Lies Beneath||–||–||–||–||V-12|
|2010||The Playful Heart||–||–||–||–||V-12|
|2013||Roots and Branches||–||–||–||–||V-12|
|2014||Something's About To Change||–||–||–||–||V-12|
|2016||Where You Are Going To||–||–||–||–||V-12|
|2017||Time and Emotion||–||–||–||–||V-12|
|2019||Coming Closer to the Day||–||–||–||–||Provogue|
|2020||United State of Mind||–||–||–||–||Manhaton|
- 1976: Robin Trower Live! (recorded 2/3/75, Stockholm) – UK #15, US #10, AUS #73SWE #40 CAN #52
- 1985: Beyond the Mist (recorded April 1985 at The Marquee Club, London)
- 1992: BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert (recorded 1/29/75)
- 1996: King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Robin Trower in Concert (recorded 10/18/77, New Haven, CT)
- 1999: This Was Now '74–'98 (recorded 1974, Pittsburgh, PA; 1998, Seattle, WA) -2-CD set
- 2006: Living Out of Time: Live (recorded 9/3/05, Bonn, Germany) [note: also available on DVD]
- 2009: RT@RO.08 (recorded 3/29/08, Royal Oak, MI)
- 2011: Robin Trower at The BBC 1973–1975 (recorded 3/26/73 [John Peel Session], 9/26/73 [Bob Harris Session], 2/20/74 [Bob Harris Session], 3/5/74 [John Peel Session], 1/28/75 [John Peel Session], and 1/29/75 [BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert, omitting 2 songs but adding 2 others]) -2-CD set
- 2013: State To State: Live Across America 1974–1980 (recorded 1974, Philadelphia; 1974, California; 1976, Illinois; 1977, Oklahoma; 1980, Missouri) -2CD
- 2015: Rock Goes To College 1980 (recorded 2/25/80, London)
- 1987: The Robin Trower Portfolio
- 1991: Essential Robin Trower
- 1991: Robin Trower: The Collection
- 1994: Robin Trower Anthology
- 2002: Speed Of Sound: The Best of Robin Trower
- 2004: Dreaming the Blues -2-CD set
- 2008: Day of The Eagle: The Best of Robin Trower
- 2010: A Tale Untold: The Chrysalis Years 1973–1976 -3-CD set
- 2012: Farther On Up The Road: The Chrysalis Years 1977–1983 -3-CD set
- 2014: Compendium 1987–2013 -2-CD set
- 2014: Original Album Series (contains Twice Removed from Yesterday, Bridge of Sighs, For Earth Below, Robin Trower Live!, Long Misty Days) -5-CD set
- 2015: Original Album Series, Vol. 2 (contains In City Dreams, Caravan to Midnight, Victims of the Fury, B.L.T., Truce) -5-CD set
- 2019: The Studio Albums 1973–1983 (contains all 10 studio albums presented in card-sleeves housed in a clamshell box) -10-CD set
With Jack BruceEdit
- 1981: B.L.T. – US #37
- 1982: Truce – US #109
- 1989: No Stopping Anytime (compilation of B.L.T. and Truce)
- 2007: Seven Moons
- 2009: Seven Moons Live (recorded 2/28/09, Nijmegen, Holland) [note: also available on DVD] re-released as Songs from the Road
With Bryan FerryEdit
- Larkin, Colin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 1192/3. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
- Claes Johansen (2000). Procol Harum: Beyond the Pale. p. 136. ISBN 9780946719280.
- Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 233. CN 5585.
- Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 776–777. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
- "Fripp on Trower". Procolharum.com. 19 November 1996. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
- "Back It Up". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
- Muise, Dan (2002). Gallagher, Marriott, Derringer & Trower: their lives and music (Google Books). Rock Chronicles. Hal Leonard. p. 273. ISBN 9780634029561.
- Fox, Darrin. "Robin Trower". Guitar Player. Archived from the original on 18 September 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
- "Robin Trower collapses at Annapolis concert - Eye On Annapolis". Eyeonannapolis.net. 21 March 2018.
- Hunter, Dave (2013). The Fender Stratocaster: The Life & Times of the World's Greatest Guitar & Its Players (Google Books). Voyageur Press. p. 178. ISBN 9780760344842.
- Guitar Player, April 2008
- "Rig Rundown: Robin Trower". Premier Guitar. 28 March 2018.
- "ROBIN TROWER | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 313. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- Canada, Library and Archives (17 July 2013). "Results: RPM Weekly". www.bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
- "Robin Trower". Billboard. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
- "Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
- Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 1005–1006. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
- "Robin Trower : Roots and Branches Review". Guitarhoo!. Guitarhoo.com. 30 March 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
- "swedishcharts.com - Swedish Charts Portal". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Robin Trower.|
- Official website TrowerPower.com; accessed 6 March 2016
- Complete history of The Robin Trower Band (fansite), accessed 6 March 2016.
- Robin Trower biography by Greg Prato, discography and album reviews, credits & releases at AllMusic
- Robin Trower discography, album releases & credits at Discogs
- Robin Trower albums to be listened on Spotify
- Robin Trower songs & albums to be listened on YouTube
- 2006 Robin Trower Interview (with Brian D. Holland), ModernGuitars.com; accessed 6 March 2016.
- Robin Trower profile, NPR.org; accessed 6 March 2016.
- "Funky" Paul Olsen's album cover artwork for Robin Trower, OlsenArt.com; accessed 6 March 2016.