80s Music

Artist Profile: Thompson Twins

The Thompson Twins was a British new wave/ mainstream pop group that was formed in 1977. They gained popularity in 1983 when they scored a string of hits in the United States, United Kingdom, and all around the world. Ten years later, the band decided to change their name from Thompson Twins to Babble along with the change in their genre. The Thompson Twins was a prominent act during the Second British Invasion in the 80s. In this article, we are going to know more about the Thompson Twins and how they made their permanent mark in the music industry. 

Early Days and Career

The band originally consisted of Tom Bailey on bass and vocals, Jon Podgorski on drums, John Roog on guitars, and Pete Dodd on vocals and guitars. During the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Before the Thompson Twins got a recording contract with Arista Records in 1981, they released several independent songs and became a part of the growing New Romantic scene in London. On that same year, the band released their debut album called “A Product Of” and not long after it’s release, Tom Bailey added his girlfriend, Alanna Currie as the band’s saxophonist, percussionist, and vocalist, Joe Leeway on vocals and percussions, and former Soft Boys member Matthew Seligman as the bassist. The band then recorded another album with their current line up in 1982 which was called “Set.” Unfortunately, the album didn’t perform well in the market and after the release, the Thompson Twins was trimmed to a trio with Leeway, Currie, and Bailey. The group did not give up and quickly released another album called “Quick Step & Side Kick” in 1983 which became a major hit in the United Kingdom and reached the number two spot of the charts. The album featured the singles “We Are Detective” and “Love on Your Side” which both reached the top ten of the charts in the United Kingdom. The album was released in America under the name “Side Kicks” and it quickly earned a cult following. 

In 1984, the band received their American commercial breakthrough with their album “Into the Gap” which featured the carrier single “Hold Me Now” which became an instant hit in the United States than in the U.K. The “Into the Gap” album also featured other singles such as “You Take Me Up” and “Doctor Doctor.” Not wanting to let go of their new found success, the Thompson Twins quickly followed up their album in 1985 with the release of “Here’s to Future Days.” It featured the hit carrier single “Lay Your Hands on Me” which reached the top ten of the American charts. 

In 1986, Tom Leeway left the group but the Thompson Twins decided to go on as a duo and released their album “Close to the Bone” after a year Leeway left. The album managed to peak at number 90 in the United Kingdom charts and also in other countries such as Norway and Canada but not in the United States. Two years after the release of their album Bailey and Currie made their relationship public and had a child together. In 1988, they released a remix album called “The Best of Thompson Twins: The Greatest Mixes.” 

In 1989, the Thompson Twins released their debut album for Warner Records called “Big Trash” and it produced a minor hit song in the United States entitled “Sugar Daddy.” In 1991, The Thompson Twins released their club inspired final album called “Queer.” Even if the album failed to chart, their single “Come Inside” reached the top ten of the U.S dance chart and the top spot of the dance chart in the U.K. That same year, Currie and Bailey got married and they moved to New Zealand in 1992. 

After the Thompson Twins

In 1993, Bailey and Currie decided to team up with their engineer, Keith Fernley and change the band’s name into Babble. Together, they released two albums called “The Stone” in 1994 and “Ether” in 1996. However, both the albums failed to be successful in the market. Despite everything, Bailey continued to do occasional studio work with other artists such as co-producing the debut album of the band Mix in 1999. The album managed to reach the top spot in New Zealand and won the Best Album category in 200 at the New Zealand Music Awards. During the same time, Tom Bailey also started the dub-oriented band project called “International Observer”. The band released their debut album in 2000 called “Seen” and it featured a collaboration with a visual artist named Rakai Karaitiana. Three years after, Bailey and Currie got a divorce. 

Bailey’s project band, International Observer, continued to release several album into the next decade. Their fifth album, “Touched” was released in August 2014. During that same month, Tom Bailey performed Thompson Twins songs in a live performance for the first time since the 1980s. The positive feedback from the performance led to other performances of Thompson Twins songs during International Observer’s shows in the United Kingdom, North America, and Japan. 

In 2016, Tom Bailey released his first solo single called “Come So Far” using his own name. He released a pop album called “Science Fiction” in 2018. That same year, while he was on tour with the band Culture Club, Bailey played a mix of his solo songs and Thompson Twins’ songs to arenas, large theaters, and amphitheaters in the United States and the United Kingdom.

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