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. On December 15, 1943, at age 39, Waller died aboard an eastbound train in the vicinity of Kansas City, Missouri, following a west coast engagement. The two divorced in 2004. This song, a searing treatment of racism, black and white, calls into question the accusations of "shallow entertainment" levelled at both Armstrong and Waller. 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. With Razaf he wrote "What Did I Do (To Be So Black and Blue)?" 1929 which became a hit for Louis Armstrong. 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 also appeared in several feature films and short subject films, most notably "Stormy Weather" in 1943.

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. Waller also made a successful tour of the British Isles in the late 1930's, and appeared in one of the earliest BBC Television broadcasts. 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. His weight and drinking are believed to have contributed to his death. 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. His nickname came about because he weighed nearly 300 pounds (136 kg). The trio had peaked. He collaborated with the Tin Pan Alley lyricist Andy Razaf and had a commercially successful career, which according to some music critics eclipsed his great musical talent.

The corresponding album, "Into The Gap" was one of the best sellers of the year. Among his songs are "Squeeze Me" 1919, "Ain't Misbehavin'" 1929, "Blue Turning Grey Over You" 1930, "Honeysuckle Rose" 1929, "I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling" 1929, and "Jitterbug Waltz" 1942. 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". Before his solo career, he played with many performers, from Erskine Tate to Bessie Smith, but his greatest success came with his own five- or six-piece combo, "Fats Waller and his Rhythm". 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 was an excellent pianist--now usually considered one of the very best who ever played in the stride style--but his songwriting and his lovable, roguish stage personality ("One never knows, do one?") overshadowed his playing. 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. Johnson introduced Waller to the world of rent parties (a party with a piano player, designed to help pay the rent by charging the guests), and soon he developed a performing career.

At the end of 1983, a single "Hold me Now" was released. Johnson. 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. Waller studied classical piano and organ before apprenticing himself to legendary Harlem stride pianist James P. 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". He was born Thomas Wright Waller in New York City. 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. Fats Waller (May 21, 1904 - December 15, 1943) was an African-American jazz pianist, organist, composer and comedic entertainer.

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. Download sample of "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie" by Fats Waller. 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.

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