R.I.P. Tommy Thompson


Tommy Thompson died this morning, June 28. I saw the announcement posted on Facebook by his kids .


Tommy Thompson with Pen Lucy, circa 1970

My memories of Tommy  are mostly from the mid-‘60s. He played with The Elegants and I knew a couple guys in that band. I used to see them at Hollywood Park, and alternate with them there with the Majestics. The Tommy I knew back then was a sharp and talented musician who was always a significant contributor to any band he was in. Like Tommy, I always saw myself as a multi-instrumentalist, and he shared some of his knowledge with me on both bass and drums. These weren’t lessons … just little things, discussed on the bandstand at Hollywood Park between sets, but they are things I still remember that helped move me forward with what I wanted to do.


Tommy Thompson on bass with The Elegants, circa 1965

Fast forward 40 years and Tommy jumped into the Ray Charles Tribute band on tenor sax for Jam 3 at Bobby B’s Palace. I didn’t get to talk to him much that day, but I saw him help organize the sax section on the spot, with courtesy and camaraderie, for that spontaneous performance.


Tommy Thompson on tenor sax with the J308 Ray Charles Tribute Band, June 19, 2005.

Three years later Tommy signed on to play bass with the big band for Jam 4, also at Bobby B’s, and I got to talk with him a little bit more. That was a great band, and Tommy’s bass playing with Dave Tucker on drums was solid as a rock.


Tommy Thompson playing bass with the J408 Big Band, October 4, 2008

In 2012 the last Jam at Padonia Station also featured a big band, with multiple vocalists doing all custom arrangements, and once again Tommy nailed the bass. These were performances for all fun and no pay .. just for the love of the music and the fellow musicians who played it. They were also spontaneous … zero rehearsal … not an easy gig. At that last Jam I got to talk to Tommy a little more, and I also got to meet his wife. As his friend on Facebook I felt his deep pain when she died.

As a musician, Tommy was a true professional … something to be held in very high regard. My knowledge of Tommy as a person is limited, but I can say in every small instance that I knew him he was gracious and smart. I didn’t get to see Tommy very often over the years, but I will sure miss knowing he’s out there.


One Response to “R.I.P. Tommy Thompson”

  1. ewockenfuss Says:

    I went to Overlea High School with Tommy. He was a year ahead of me and he played Sax in the school band. We also went to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church and my mother was his sunday school teacher. We were friends but I had to get used to calling him Tommy cause his real name was Lloyd. We both played at school dances and CYO’s. I was with the Stratfords and he was with the Elegants. I always admired Tommy cause he could play both sax and bass, and when he started playing at Hollywood Park…well that was big time!!. Later he went with PenLucy and then the Admirals. By his time I was with the Inner Cyrkle at the Paddock night club in O.C. and the Admirals were at the Ships Cafe.The Inner Cyrkle and the Admirals were both managed by Pete Boinis so,for several years, we often followed each other in different venues. The last time I saw and talked with Tommy was at the reunion at Hoffmans. Ever since, we stayed in touch and have talked on face book.
    Tommy will be surely missed for his talent and his kind personality.
    RIP Tommy (Lloyd) Thompson

    Eddie Wockenfuss

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: