As a member of the Hampton Grease Band, Bruce Hampton helped record the 1971 album Music to Eat. According to legend, this was the second-worst-selling album in Columbia Records history, with the worst being a yoga record.
Hampton's band The Late Bronze Age consisted of Col. Hampton B. Coles, Ret. (Bruce Hampton) on vocals, slide guitar, mandolin, and chazoid; Ben "Pops" Thornton (Billy McPherson) on vocals, guitar, saxophones, and keyboards; Lincoln Metcalfe (Ricky Keller) on bass, guitar, brass, and vocals; and Bubba Phreon (Jerry Fields) on drums, percussion, trombone, and vocals. They performed several songs in the 1983 movie Getting It On.
Hampton helped start the 1990s seminal H.O.R.D.E. tours. The best known of his bands to play H.O.R.D.E. is the jazz-rock outfit Aquarium Rescue Unit, which featured improvisational music all-stars Oteil Burbridge, Jimmy Herring, Rev. Jeff Mosier, Matt Mundy and Jeff Sipe.
In 1994, Hampton then formed the progressive rock/jazz duo Fiji Mariners and recorded two albums on Capricorn Records with Dan Matrazzo who simultaneously played keys, drums, and bass. Later, Ricky Fargo, Marcus Williams joined on drums and Joseph Patrick Moore joined on bass.
Hampton was the voice of Warren, a talking potted shrubbery, in a 1998 episode (entitled "Warren") of the TV show Space Ghost Coast to Coast. Hampton played Morris, the songwriting band manager, in Billy Bob Thornton's 1996 film Sling Blade. He also starred in Mike Gordon's 2001 film Outside Out teaching guitar 'out'struction.
Grammy Award nominated blues singer and longtime friend Susan Tedeschi wrote a song about Bruce called "Hampmotized." It appears on her 2002 release Wait For Me. Hampton returned the favor with the song "Susan T".
Basically Frightened: The Musical Madness of Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret. is a documentary about Hampton. It premiered at the Atlanta Film Festival in March 2012.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal presented Hampton with the Governor's Award In The Arts and Humanities in 2012.
In 2014 Hampton made a cameo in the music video for rap group Run The Jewels' single "Blockbuster Night, Pt. 1".
On May 1, 2017, Hampton was honored by his friends at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia for his 70th birthday. Hampton 70: A Celebration of Col. Bruce Hampton was an all-star concert featuring Widespread Panic members John Bell, Dave Schools, Duane Trucks and Jimmy Herring; Peter Buck of R.E.M; steel guitarist Darick Campbell; saxophone player Karl Denson; Drew Emmitt and Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon; Jon Fishman of Phish; banjo player Rev. Jeff Mosier; guitarist Warren Haynes; Drivin N Cryin frontman Kevn Kinney; Atlanta jazz-staple Johnny Knapp; Chuck Leavell; Athens rock-troubadour T. Hardy Morris; 13-year-old guitar prodigy Brandon Niederauer; Slide Guitarist Derek Trucks and Blues Singer Susan Tedeschi of the Tedeschi Trucks Band; John Popper of Blues Traveler; funk bassist Kevin Scott; keyboardist Matt Slocum; Denny Walley of Frank Zappa fame; gypsy-metal guitarist Emil Werstler; Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers; MLB pitcher Jake Peavy; and the Colonel’s Sling Blade co-star, actor Billy Bob Thornton who cancelled due to illness. The event was produced by Good Times Productions with the proceeds benefiting the Fox Theatre Institute and other musician-focused charities.
During the encore performance of the show, Hampton suffered a medical emergency and collapsed on stage. Onlookers and his fellow musicians initially either did not notice that Hampton had collapsed, or thought it was a ruse. As a result, Hampton lay face down at Niederauer's feet, his left arm draped over a stage monitor, as Niederauer soloed on "Turn on Your Love Light." The band played for several minutes before Hampton was taken offstage for medical attention; he died shortly thereafter at Emory University Hospital Midtown.1971 - Music to Eat - Hampton Grease Band (Columbia Records)
1978 - One Ruined Life of a Bronze Tourist - Col. Bruce Hampton (Terminus Records)
1980 - Outside Looking Out - Col. Bruce Hampton and the Late Bronze Age (Terminus Records)
1982 - Isles of Langerhan - Col. Bruce Hampton and the Late Bronze Age (Terminus Records)
1987 - Arkansas - Col. Bruce Hampton (Terminus Records)
1992 - Col. Bruce Hampton & the Aquarium Rescue Unit - Col. Bruce Hampton and The Aquarium Rescue Unit (Capricorn Records)
1993 - Mirrors of Embarrassment - Col. Bruce Hampton and The Aquarium Rescue Unit (Capricorn Records)
1994 - Strange Voices: A History 1977-1987 - Col. Bruce Hampton (Landslide Records)
1996 - Fiji Mariners - Fiji Mariners featuring Col. Bruce Hampton (Volcano Records)
1998 - Live - Fiji Mariners featuring Col. Bruce Hampton (Volcano Records)
2000 - Bootleg Live! - The Codetalkers featuring Col. Bruce Hampton
2004 - Deluxe Edition - The Codetalkers featuring Col. Bruce Hampton (re-released in 2005 as Dee-lux Uh-dish-un)
2006 - Now - The Codetalkers
2007 - Give Thanks To Chank - Col. Bruce & The Quark Alliance (Brato Ganibe Records)
2008 - Songs Of The Solar Ping - Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret. (Brato Ganibe Records)
2014 - Pharoah's Kitchen - Col. Bruce Hampton, Ret. (Ropeadope Records)
1994 - The Best of Mountain Stage Live, Vol. 6 (Blue Plate Records)
1997 - Mucho Mojo: Best of Fat Possum (Capricorn Records)
2000 - Wintertime Blues: The Benefit Concert (Evil Teen Records)
2003 - Bonnaroo, Vol. 2 (Sanctuary Records)
2007 - The Benefit Concert, Volume 2 (Evil Teen Records)
1967 - We're Only In It For The Money - Frank Zappa (Capitol Records)
1968 - Lumpy Gravy - Frank Zappa (Verve/Bizarre Records)
1979 - Skin Deep - Yeah - David Earle Johnson (David Earle Johnson Records)
1981 - Route Two - David Earle Johnson (Landslide Records)
1995 - The Best of CeDell Davis – CeDell Davis (Fat Possum Records)
2000 - The Flower & the Knife – Kevin Kinney (Capricorn Records)
2001 - Project Z - Project Z (Terminus Records)
2002 - Wait for me - Susan Tedeschi (Tone Cool Records)
2002 - Uninvisible – Medeski Martin & Wood (Blue Note Records)
2002 - Live in the Classic City – Widespread Panic (Sanctuary Records)
2003 - Inside In – Mike Gordon (Ropeadope Records)
2006 - Faces – Blueground Undergrass (Landslide Records)
2012 - Back To The Woods: A Tribute To The Pioneers Of Blues Piano - Chuck Leavell (Evergreen Arts Red)
2012 - Wood - Widespread Panic (Widespread Records)