Thompson Twins

The Thompson Twins are a British band which emerged in the 1980s in the immediate aftermath of New Romanticism, scoring a string of hits and conquering the USA in the process.

They were originally a new-wave act who, after the founding threesome moved south from Sheffield, had so little money that they lived as squatters in London, with the personnel rising to seven members. After a lucky break, they were signed up to Arista records and group leader Tom Bailey (born January 18, 1956) paid off four of the members in return for their instruments.

The remaining trio - singer and main musician Bailey; lyricist and percussionist Alannah Currie (born September 20, 1959); and multi-instrumentalist and stylings guru Joe Leeway (born November 15, 1957) - broke into the UK charts at the beginning of 1983 with "Love On Your Side". Further hits from debut album "Quickstep And Sidekick" followed, with Bailey's flame-red hair and bright ponytail and Currie's wasp-swatting style at the xylophone swiftly becoming endearing images of an exciting new act.

At the end of 1983, a single "Hold me Now" was released. It defied the trends of the electronic pop which was still dominating the charts, relying almost wholly on an emotive piano, some clever percussion from the New Zealand-born Currie and a heartfelt vocal from Bailey. It hit the Top 3 and remains one of the more timeless singles from an era and decade which tends to date a little more easily than others. Three equally as mature singles followed into 1984 - the poppy "Doctor Doctor"; the quirky, accordion-dominated "You Take Me Up" (at No.2, their biggest UK hit); and the haunting "Sister Of Mercy". The corresponding album, "Into The Gap" was one of the best sellers of the year. The trio had peaked.

In 1985, they had three hits which were palpable compared to the previous year's highs, but still made headlines when they performed at the American end of Live Aid and were joined onstage by the fresh-faced Madonna, who was in only her second year of fame. As the most talked about and hippest woman on the planet at the time, her appearance with the Thompson Twins should have helped their cause further, but by the end of the year, by which time they'd enjoyed three US Top 10 hits, they'd plummeted substantially.

Leeway left and the remaining duo soldiered on for another seven years, only occasionally puncturing the singles charts and never again making the Top 40.

Bailey and Currie, despite years of denying romantic inclinations at the height of their fame, got married and now raise their family in New Zealand while still occasionally dabbling in music under the name Babble. The band have, however, declined to follow the examples of many of their contemporaries and reform to tie in with a nostalgic rebirth of the 1980s. The two divorced in 2004.

Much merriment was gained from their name (they took it from the detectives in bowler hats who featured in the Tintin comics) as there were three in the band; none of them were twins; and none of them were called Thompson.


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Much merriment was gained from their name (they took it from the detectives in bowler hats who featured in the Tintin comics) as there were three in the band; none of them were twins; and none of them were called Thompson. These are the highest rated compilations on All Music Guide. The two divorced in 2004. One of Tosh's personal friends was sentenced to hang following the murder trial. The band have, however, declined to follow the examples of many of their contemporaries and reform to tie in with a nostalgic rebirth of the 1980s. Only one of the three men was caught. Bailey and Currie, despite years of denying romantic inclinations at the height of their fame, got married and now raise their family in New Zealand while still occasionally dabbling in music under the name Babble. He died on September 11, 1987.

Leeway left and the remaining duo soldiered on for another seven years, only occasionally puncturing the singles charts and never again making the Top 40. Shortly after the release of his 1987 album, No Nuclear War, Tosh was murdered at his own home during a burglary. As the most talked about and hippest woman on the planet at the time, her appearance with the Thompson Twins should have helped their cause further, but by the end of the year, by which time they'd enjoyed three US Top 10 hits, they'd plummeted substantially. After the release of 1983's Mama Africa, Tosh went into self-imposed exile, seeking the spiritual advice of traditional medicine men in Africa, and trying to free himself from recording agreements that distributed his records in South Africa. In 1985, they had three hits which were palpable compared to the previous year's highs, but still made headlines when they performed at the American end of Live Aid and were joined onstage by the fresh-faced Madonna, who was in only her second year of fame. Released on the Rolling Stones' personal label, Tosh tried to gain some mainstream success while keeping his militant views, but was largely unsuccessful, especially compared to Marley's achievements. The trio had peaked. Bush Doctor (1978), Mystic Man (1979), and Wanted: Dread or Alive followed.

The corresponding album, "Into The Gap" was one of the best sellers of the year. His lyric "I don't want no peace, I want equal rights and justice!" would become a rallying cry for the world's downtrodden masses. Three equally as mature singles followed into 1984 - the poppy "Doctor Doctor"; the quirky, accordion-dominated "You Take Me Up" (at No.2, their biggest UK hit); and the haunting "Sister Of Mercy". Always taking the militant approach, he released Equal Rights in 1977. It hit the Top 3 and remains one of the more timeless singles from an era and decade which tends to date a little more easily than others. He proudly wore his scars that he had received from the beatings he endured. It defied the trends of the electronic pop which was still dominating the charts, relying almost wholly on an emotive piano, some clever percussion from the New Zealand-born Currie and a heartfelt vocal from Bailey. As Marley preached his "One Love" message, Tosh railed against the hypocritical "shitstem," and became a favorite target of the Jamaican police.

At the end of 1983, a single "Hold me Now" was released. The title track soon became an anthem for the marijuana movement and was a favorite at Tosh's concerts. Further hits from debut album "Quickstep And Sidekick" followed, with Bailey's flame-red hair and bright ponytail and Currie's wasp-swatting style at the xylophone swiftly becoming endearing images of an exciting new act. McIntosh began recording under the name Peter Tosh, and released his solo debut, Legalize It, in 1976 on CBS Records. The remaining trio - singer and main musician Bailey; lyricist and percussionist Alannah Currie (born September 20, 1959); and multi-instrumentalist and stylings guru Joe Leeway (born November 15, 1957) - broke into the UK charts at the beginning of 1983 with "Love On Your Side". When Marley was eventually told the whole story he allegedly laughed and responded: "Petah? Fussin'? You don't say!" - suggesting like many other sources that some of Tosh's personal relationships were stormy and complicated but not necessarily mean spirited. After a lucky break, they were signed up to Arista records and group leader Tom Bailey (born January 18, 1956) paid off four of the members in return for their instruments. Later that day Bob casually walked into a room where Peter was relaxing with some of their mutual friends but mysteriously McIntosh seemed happy to see him and made no mention of any misgivings about the controversial relationship.

They were originally a new-wave act who, after the founding threesome moved south from Sheffield, had so little money that they lived as squatters in London, with the personnel rising to seven members. He talked big and threatened both physical violence and damnation and hellfire for his friend, vowing to track him down and take him to task. The Thompson Twins are a British band which emerged in the 1980s in the immediate aftermath of New Romanticism, scoring a string of hits and conquering the USA in the process. Many biographies focusing on members of the Wailers relate a specific incident where several people alleged that Tosh became enraged upon hearing that Marley was seeing a well known white woman in Kingston. McIntosh became bitter with his ex-bandmate, claiming that the only reason Marley was so successful was that his father was white, although it should be noted that Peter was known for having a big mouth and was not always to be taken too seriously in his pronouncements. After Island Records president Chris Blackwell refused to issue his solo album in 1974, the volatile McIntosh and Bunny Wailer left the Wailers citing the unfair treatment they received from Blackwell, who Tosh often referred to as 'Whiteworse'.

He survived, but became even harder to deal with. In 1973, McIntosh accidentally drove his car off a bridge, killing his girlfriend at the time and severely fracturing his own skull. The band earned a record contract with Island and released their debut, Catch a Fire, in 1972; following it up with Burnin' the following year. The Wailers penned several songs for American singer Johnny Nash before teaming up with production wizard Lee Perry to record some of reggae's earliest hits including "Soul Rebel," "Duppy Conqueror" and "Small Axe." With the addition of bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett and his brother, drummer Carlton in 1970, the Wailers became Caribbean superstars.

Veering away from the up-tempo dance of ska, the band slowed down to a rock-steady pace, and infused their lyrics with political and social messages. Soon afterwards, they renamed the group the Wailers. McIntosh and Bunny were already rastafarians when Bob returned from the USA and the three became heavily involved in the Rastafarian movement. Marley spent much of 1966 in America with his mother, but he returned to Jamaica in early 1967 with a renewed interest in music and a new spirituality.

The Wailing Wailers had a huge ska hit with their first single, "Simmer Down," and recorded several more successful singles before Braithwaite, Kelso and Smith left the band in late 1965. In 1962 he was the driving force behind the trio's formation of the Wailing Wailers with Junior Braithwaite and back-up singers Beverly Kelso and Cherry Smith. In the early 1960s he met Bob Marley and Bunny Livingston through his guitar teacher, Joe Higgs and taught Bob to play the guitar. Although his short-fuse temper usually kept him in trouble, earning him the nickname Stepping Razor, he began to sing and learn guitar at a young age, inspired by the American stations he could pick up on his radio.

Born Winston Hubert McIntosh, young Peter grew up in the Kingston, Jamaica slum of Trenchtown. Militant, well-read and trailblazing, Tosh was the Malcolm X to former bandmate Bob Marley's Martin Luther King, Jr. Peter Tosh (October 9, 1944 – September 11, 1987) was a pioneer reggae musician. The Essential Peter Tosh - the Columbia Years (2003).

Arise Black Man (1999). Scrolls Of The Prophet: The Best of Peter Tosh (1999). Honorary Citizen (1997). Collection Gold (1994).

No Nuclear War (1987). Captured Live (1984). Mama Africa (1983). Wanted Dread And Alive (1981).

Mystic Man (1979). Island Zorro (1979). Bush Doctor (1978). Equal Rights (1977).

Legalize It (1976).

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