Early life and career
Although always compared to his peer Jimi Hendrix, blues rock/classic rock axeman Robin Trower is a guitar virtuoso in his own right. He was born on March 9, 1945 in Catford, England but grew up in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. In his early days as a musician, Trower played in his first band The Paramounts. Following its split during the mid-1960s, Trower also formed his own band called The Jam (not to be confused with Paul Weller’s group), which was also short-lived.
As member of Procol Harum
In 1967, Trower got his big break when he was recruited by his friend and ex-Paramount band mate Gary Brooker’s new project called Procol Harum. Brooker, a singer and keyboardist, was looking for the perfect lineup to back him and his songs and so he hired Trower to be a part of that band.
Trower became a regular member of Procol Harum for a few years. The band achieved its biggest hit ever, “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” Trower would appear on the following Procol Harum albums: Procol Harum (1967), Shine on Brightly(1968), A Salty Dog (1969), Home (1970) and Broken Barricades (1971).
Solo career and Robin Trower Band
Trower found out that being in Procol Harum limited his guitar-playing abilities so he left the band during the early 70s music scene. In 1973, Trower formed his own act, a trio consisting of himself, bassist James Dewar and drummer Reg Isidore (who was later replaced by Bill Lordan). He named it simply as Robin Trower Band.
Together with his power trio, Trower released his debut album Twice Removed from Yesterday in 1973. The album left a little impression on the charts, and its single “Man of the World” bubbled under the US Billboard Hot 100.
His second LP Bridge of Sighs (1974) showcased his guitar playing’s uncanny resemblance to the style of Hendrix (who died a few years earlier). Bridge of Sighswent to #7 on the US Billboard 200, catapulting him into prominence.
Bridge of Sighs would be Trower’s only successful album, although he released the follow-up LP’s: For Earth Below (1975), Robin Trower Live! (1976), Long Misty Days (1976), and In City Dreams (1977) all of which became decent oldies music hits. His singles, “For Earth Below,” “Live,” and “Long Misty Days,” made it to the UK Top 40 singles chart.
By the 1980s, Trower continued to release more albums such as Back It Up (along with Dewar), Passion, and Take What You Need, but they all began to sell less. Trower also made an attempt to update his sound to his rock-blues repertoire, but his none of his records were able to bring him back to his old glory. He also teamed with bassist/singer Jack Bruce (formerly of Cream) for a time, as well as his former drummers Isidore and Lordan for a couple of albums BLT and Truce. In the new millennium he and Bruce continued to release three more albums: No Stopping Anytime, Seven Moons, and Seven Moons Live.
In 1991, Trower joined Procol Harum’s reunion, which saw the release of their new studio album The Prodigal Stranger which met with modest sales. However, he didn’t join Procol Harum’s newer lineup when it went for a worldwide tour for a few years.
He teamed up with former Roxy Music vocalist Bryan Ferry for a few records such as Taxi and Mamouna in the early 1990s. They reunited for the last time in 2007 to work on Ferry’s album Dylanesque.
In the 20th century and beyond, Trower has still been active in making music. He continued to release a steady stream of albums such as Go My Way (2000), Living Out of Time (2004), Another Days Blues (2005), What Lies Beneath (2009), The Playful Heart (2010) and Roots and Branches (2013) as well as a few live albums. Almost 69 years old, Robin Trover still seems to be at the top of his game.