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Thompson Twins

From Academic Kids

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1983 Promotional Photo. L-R: Joe Leeway, Alannah Currie, Tom Bailey.
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Thompson-Twins-Logo.jpg
Thompson Twins Logo, 1982-1986.
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. The band was named after the two bumbling detectives in Hergé's comic strip, The Adventures of Tintin.

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 "Lies" and "Love On Your Side". Further singles from their third album Quick Step And Side Kick (called simply Side Kicks in the US) followed with "We Are Detective" and "Watching", 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. Four 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); the haunting "Sister Of Mercy"; and "The Gap" with its middle eastern rhythms. The corresponding album, Into The Gap, was one of the best sellers of the year. The trio had peaked.

In 1985, the Twins released their next album Here's To Future Days, which spawned two Top 10 hits "Lay Your Hands On Me" and "King For A Day". Other singles included the anti-drug message "Don't Mess With Doctor Dream" and a cover of The Beatles' 1968 hit "Revolution". They 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 they'd plummeted substantially.

Leeway left in 1986 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 raised their two children 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 as there were three in the band; none of them were twins; and none of them were called Thompson.

Albums and Singles

Soundtracks

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