Thompson went solo in 1971, releasing the album Henry The Human Fly in 1972. Richard then began performing with wife Linda and I Want To see The Bright Lights Tonight (1974) was the first of six albums from the duo. This first album and the last, Shoot Out The Lights (1982), are the most notable of the duo's releases. The couple divorced in 1982, and he now performs solo again. Thompson's albums are often acclaimed by critics, and his guitar work has long received the respect of his peers (Rolling Stone placed him at #19 on their 2003 list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time), but over the years he has found only moderate commercial success. His solo recordings have received two Grammy Award nominations, one for Best Alternative Music Album for Rumour and Sigh (1992), his most commercially popular album to date, and one for Best Contemporary Folk Album for his double CD you? me? us? (1996)
At the time of their separation Linda had just given birth to their third child Kamilla, who together with her brother Teddy (who started his own career in 2003), and their father, recorded on Linda's album Fashionably Late, which also included ex-Pentangle bass player Danny Thompson (no relation), a frequent collaborator with Richard on his recent albums.
Thompson has made two records with John French, Fred Frith and Henry Kaiser under the name French Frith Kaiser Thompson.