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. They enjoyed a minor comeback in America as a live attraction in the 1980s, with the resurgence of interest in surf music. The two divorced in 2004. Their commercial fortunes in the US sharply declined after 1965 due to changing musical trends. 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 Ventures pioneered the use of guitar special effects on such songs as "2000 Pound Bee" (1963), in which guitarist Nokie Edwards employed a fuzz box, and on the landmark Ventures in Space album (1965), which included the hit single "Penetration". 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. A few of their more famous tunes are "Walk, Don't Run" (1960), "Perfidia" and "Lullaby of the Leaves" (1961), "Apache" (1962), "Telstar" (1963, "Slaughter On Tenth Avenue" (1964) and the "Theme from Hawaii Five-O" (1969).

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. Other members have included Gerry McGee, Mel Taylor, Leon Taylor (Mel's son) and Nokie Edwards. 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. Group membership has been very stable over the years with the core pair being Bob Bogle and Don Wilson. 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. They produced dozens of albums exclusively for the Japanese and European markets and regularly toured Japan throughout the 70's and 80's -- influencing Japanese pop music in Japan far more than they ever had in America. The trio had peaked. The Ventures became one of the most popular world-wide groups ever and are still the most popular American rock group in Japan.

The corresponding album, "Into The Gap" was one of the best sellers of the year. By the the 1970's the group was nearly unknown in America, they continued to have an enormous influence on pop culture globally. 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". In the US almost 40 Ventures' albums charted, and 17 of their singles made it into the Top 40. 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. With at least 90 million albums sold, the group remains the best selling instrumental rock group both in the US and globally. 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. The Ventures are a surf rock band formed in 1960 and mainly active in the 1960s but they continue to perform and record right up to the present (2004).

At the end of 1983, a single "Hold me Now" was released. 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. 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". 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.

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. 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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