Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Worth Another Listen - Thompson Twins

Thompson Twins
Thompson Twins
Thompson Twins

The Thompson Twins started to make some noise on the music scene in 1982, but it was in 1983 when they not only were noticed, they were a staging a musical coup. With the release of the album Into The Gap and the first single, the band, which was made up by Tom Bailey, Alannah Currie and Joe Leeway, none of whom were named Thompson nor twins, took hold of the charts and were not to let go for a couple of years. The first single, Hold Me Now, went to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, establishing the New Wave band as a group to be heard. The song also topped the US Dance chart.

The band first came together in 1977 with a very different lineup from the one we came to know in the 80s. Red-headed Tom Bailey was part of the nucleus of the band, but it wasn't until 1981 that Joe joined the band, and a few months later when Alannah came on board. The band was named after a pair of comic book detectives. Their second single from the album, Doctor! Doctor!, kept the repetitive theme going in the title. This one made it too #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

The trip seemed to be very close and happy with one another for some time, although that changed in 1986. No, that would be misleading, for everything that I read at the time was that Joe was unhappy with the management of the band, but stayed close to Bailey and Currie. By the time Close To The Bone was released in 1987, Joe had left the band. You Take Me Up was the third single from the album, and it only made it to #44 on the Billboard singles chart. The song is an infectious song, with some vague Island flavors, but was certainly pure Pop.

Throughout the years, the critics on both side of the Atlantic were not really that kind to the band. In the US, I seem to remember reading some reviews of the early stuff that was positive, but quickly things changed, and they were chided for being too Poppy, for being all about the haircuts, a victory of style of substance. Personally, I think the critics were full of it, cause I loved the band. There was joy, fun, and caring put into the music, and I couldn't wait to buy it. The fourth single from the album was Sisters Of Mercy, which didn't make an appearance on the singles chart.

At some point in their collaboration, Bailey and Currie stopped being co-workers and started being lovers. In 1988, Alannah gave birth to the first of two children. In 1991 they were wed in Las Vegas and in 1992, they relocated their family to New Zealand. Leeway was pursuing a solo work, as well as an acting career. Bailey and Currie stopped performing under the Thompson Twins name, moving on to record using the band name Babble, although the last album released was in 1996. The final single from the Into The Gap album was the Middle Eastern tinged The Gap. It was one of my favorites from the album.

I remember first hearing them in 1983, when I heard the song Lies, and had to go buy the album Quick Step and Side Kick. That led to my unstoppable love for the song We Are Detective. Ah, but I think that might be fodder for another post.

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