Tom Robinson

Tom Robinson at Glastonbury 2010

London-based broadcaster & songwriter, born 1950. His best known songs are 2-4-6-8 Motorway, Glad To Be Gay and War Baby; he has also co-written songs with Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Dan Hartman and Manu Katché.

Tom was educated at a (Quaker) Friends School in Essex, interrupted by a brief spell at boarding school in France at age 14. In 1966 he suffered a nervous breakdown and lived for the following 6 years at the Finchden Manor community in Kent.

Later in his 20s he formed the Tom Robinson Band – becoming an early campaigner for Rock Against Racism and lifelong supporter of Amnesty International and LGBT rights. In 1978 he achieved mild notoriety with TRB’s Top 20 hit Glad To Be Gay,

As a recording artist he has released 14 albums since 1978 – plus various compilations and live LPs. He also appeared on an earlier album in 1975 as a member of Cafe Society (produced by Ray Davies), and on two others as a member of Faith, Folk & Anarchy (with Steve Knightley and Martyn Joseph) in 2001.

1982 was a landmark year – when Tom relocated to Hamburg, wrote the future hit War Baby and recorded an indie single in German. That Autumn he lived and worked briefly in East Berlin, touring the German Democratic Republic with local band NO55.

Finally, back home at the end of the year, he contracted late-onset bisexuality after meeting his future wife at a Gay Switchboard benefit. A brief period in Tabloid Hell (“Britain’s No.1 Gay In Love With Girl Biker” etc) followed a few years later when the red-tops got hold of the story.

As a broadcaster he began hosting his own radio show on the BBC World Service in 1985. He’s since presented programmes on BBC Radios 1, 2, 3, 4, 4Xtra, 5 Live, 6 Music. He won his first gold Sony Radio Academy award for GLR (now BBC LDN) in 1997 and a second as the presenter of NowPlaying@6Music in 2012.

He has hosted weekly shows on BBC Radio 6 Music since the station started in 2002, with a particular emphasis on new and emerging artists. He can currently be heard on Saturday nights, Sunday evenings and Monday mornings,

Tom is a keen supporter of BBC Introducing, a member of the Ivors panel at BASCA, and hosts occasional workshops for songwriters and performers. He founded Fresh On The Net to help listeners find new music and musicians find new listeners.

He now lives in South London with his wife and two children.

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  1. Hi Tom,

    We’re a brand spanking new band and would love it if you could have a quick little listen to our songs, either on our site, or here..

    If you would like an album I will happily post you one!

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated



  2. Tom

    Hello Mark – just send us your lead track via any Monday – Thursday and several members of the team including me will take a listen. If we like it we’ll put it on our Listening Post that weekend.

  3. Keeping it real as ever Tom, I hope the new format is working for you. The new ‘mixtapes’ are a great idea.
    Home Vol 3 has been plugged on BBC Radio Cornwall.

    Cheers Bobby

  4. Ed

    Hey Tom,

    Zodiac N Black have recently released their debut album ‘The Aftermyth’ to very strong reviews.
    I am new to the industry and have been surprised how hard it’s been to promote a new band. When I manage to get heard the reviews have pretty much all been exceptional including ‘The breakthrough act of 2012 and setting the bar from British Rock and guitar music’.
    There need to be more people like your good self in the industry who actively and selflessly help promote emerging talent. This country should be so proud of the great music it has given the world and needs to support the grass roots.
    Long live Tom Robinson…

  5. Robert

    Hello Tom,
    I have been a life long fan of the music of the Tom Robinson Band and how I wish that there was a music scene like that of the late 70s/80s. One of my personal favourites is blue murder and think that music is such a powerful medium to carry political messages. I have written some new lyrics to the blue murder music and I would like to explore the possibility of using these lyrics with the blue murder music and wonder if you would be interested in such a project. Best wishes Robert

  6. Hi Tom,

    Please listen to aperture’s new track (chemistry)
    We are a post punk rock band from Edinburgh in the style of Siouxsie and the banshees x

  7. Hi Tom …I have submitted one track that is complete and another that is a piano and strings demo. Hope you get the chance to take a listen. Si Jones friom The Verve is producing for us and Davide Rossi (Coldplay String Arranger) are working with myself and my band to launch us in the summer. Any feedback or airplay would be fantastic. Sophie Morgan …

  8. Tom

    @Lisa Mcglynn @SophieMorgan You probably didn’t notice my reply to Mark above. Just send us your lead track via any Monday – Thursday and several members of the team including me will take a listen. If we like it we’ll put it on our Listening Post that weekend.

    We get anything between 100-180 tracks a week and listen to every one. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to offer feedback on individual tracks as well.

  9. Broken witt rebels

    We are The Broken Witt Rebels from Birmingham , please take 2mins to check out our debut single/video “all worn out”.
    Let me know if you want anymore information
    Thank you

  10. Tom

    Hello Broken Witt Rebels. Please take 2mins to check out which explains how to send us your music.

  11. Hi Tom,
    I’m probably posting in the wrong place, so let me apologize beforehand. I did submitt a song via last week and a different song again on monday. We had only 7 plays this week. As there are 16 moderators. Is that what I should expect?
    Isabel (The Fireworks’ Bass player)

  12. Al

    Hello Isabel,
    The Moderators listen to tracks at different times in the week. Personally I tend to add my favourites on Tuesday or Wednesday. So if you submit your track on a Thursday I would not listen to it. The best time to submit is on a Monday as soon as the Submission group goes live. Also it is not possible for every Moderator to listen every week which is why there are 15 of us. That way at least 10 will usually be able to listen and choose their 3 favourite tracks. That is how we arrive at our 30 picks each week for the listening post. Looking at your track on Soundcloud, you have 11 plays, so the Moderators have listened.
    Al (One of the FOTN Moderators)

  13. The Fireworks

    Hi Al, Thanks for your detailed reply . . . last week I submitted the track on Thursday just before the track submission closed, and this week first thing on monday . . . I guess there are so many good tracks here that the chances our track gets chosen are pretty slim. We’ll keep on trying though . . .

  14. Al

    It was a good track. I’d suggest trying again next week!

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