Thompson Twins

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The Thompson Twins were an English New Wave band from Sheffield that premiered as an art-funk sextet with the album A Product Of… on T Records in 1981. After a lineup shuffle that brought percussionist Alannah Currie into the fold, the now-seven-piece released Set in 1982. The following year, the band trimmed to the trio of vocalist/keyboardist Tom Bailey, percussionist Joe Leeway, and Currie. Under this iteration, the band released three popular synthpop albums on Arista between 1983 and 1985. After Leeway’s departure, Bailey and Currie carried the nameplate as a duo for three further albums between 1987 and 1991.

Members: Tom Bailey (vocals, keyboards), Peter Dodd (guitar, 1977-82), John Roog (guitar, 1977-82), Chris Bell (drums, 1979-82), Alannah Currie (percussion, saxophone, vocals, 1981-93), Matthew Seligman (bass, 1981-82), Jane Shorter (saxophone, 1981-82), Joe Leeway (percussion, vocals, 1981-86)


The Thompson Twins were formed in 1977 by musician Tom Bailey (b. Jan. 18, 1956, Halifax, Yorkshire) with two guitar-playing pals, Pete Dodd and John Roog, plus a drummer named Pod. Despite training as a classical pianist, Bailey initially played bass in the group. Prior to forming the band, he traveled the world and taught music class at Brook School, Sheffield.

Minus Pod, they eventually moved to London, where they lived communally as squatters on Lillieshall Road, Clapham, in close proximity to another arrival, young journalist Alannah Currie (b. Sept. 20, 1957, Auckland, New Zealand). Her and Bailey became an item.


In early 1980, Tom backed Alannah’s improvisational band The Unfuckables at an anti-psychiatry conference at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, with members of The Slits, The Pop Group, and This Heat. For eighteen months, drummer Andrew Edge (later Savage Progress) filled out the Thompson Twins lineup. With the arrival of drummer Chris Bell, the Thompson Twins cut their debut single.

First Two Singles

“Squares and Triangles” (b/w “Could Be Her .. .. Could Be You”), in April 1980 on one-press Dirty Discs.

A. “Squares and Triangles” ()
B. “Could Be Her, Could Be You” ()

It was produced by Alan O’Duffy (Horslips, Meal Ticket, Rory Gallagher).

In September 1980, the Thompson Twins issued their second single, “She’s In Love With Mystery” (b/w “Fast Food” / “Food Style”), on one-press Latent, started by music writer Steve Taylor (Smash Hits, The Face).

A. “She’s In Love With Mystery” ()
B. “Fast Food/Food Style” ()

Concurrently, Bailey played clarinet on the album Drip Dry Zone by post-punk/dub band S.W.9.


In 1981, the lineup of Bailey, Dodd, Roog, and Bell grew to a six-piece with roadie-turned-percussionist Joe Leeway and saxophonist Jane Shorter, formerly of post-punks The Fridges.

20 Feb 1981
A: Perfect Game
B: Politics


A Product Of…

The Thompson Twins released their debut album, A Product Of…, on June 5, 1981, on T Records.

1. “When I See You” ()
2. “Politics” ()
3. “Slave Trade” ()
4. “Could Be Her…Could Be You” ()
5. “Make Believe” ()
6. “Don’t Go Away” ()

7. “The Price” ()
8. “Oumma Aularesso (Animal Laugh)” (Traditional from Sierra Leone; arranged by Tom Bailey)
9. “Anything Is Good Enough” ()
10. “A Product Of…” ()
11. “Perfect Game” ()
12. “Vendredi Saint” (Traditiional Gregorian chant; arranged by Tom Bailey)

Recorded April 1981

Tom Bailey – bass, lead vocals, keyboards, percussion, reeds
Chris Bell – drums, backing vocals, percussion
Peter Dodd – guitar, backing vocals, percussion, saxophone
Joe Leeway – congas, backing vocals, percussion
John Roog – guitar, backing vocals, percussion
Jane Shorter – saxophone, percussion

Steve Dewey – engineer, mixing
Alan O’Duffy, John Hade, Tom Bailey – mixing
Jonathan Phipps – cover art

12 Jun 1981
A1. “Animal Laugh (Oumma Aularesso)”
B1. “A Dub Product”
B2. “Anything Is Good Enough”

Aug 1981
A. “Make Believe (Let’s Pretend)”
B. “Lama Sabach Tani” ()



Feb 1982
Thompson Twins
A1: Squares And Triangles
Tom Bailey
B1: Weather Station
The Blankets
B2: Modern Plumbing


The Thompson Twins released their second album, Set, on February 26, 1982, on T Records.

1. “In the Name of Love” ()
2. “Living in Europe” ()
3. “Bouncing” – (Bailey, Joe Leeway)
4. “Tok Tok” – (Bailey, Leeway, Julian S. Subero)
5. “Good Gosh” – (Leeway)
6. “The Rowe” ()

7. “Runaway” ()
8. “Another Fantasy” ()
9. “Fool’s Gold” ()
10. “Crazy Dog” – (Leeway, Pete Dodd)
11. “Blind” – (Bailey, Leeway)

Recorded 1981–82

Tom Bailey – vocals, pianos, synthesizers, percussion
Peter Dodd – synthesizers, guitars, percussion
John Roog – guitars
Matthew Seligman – bass
Chris Bell – drums
Alannah Currie – percussion, saxophone
Joe Leeway – congas, percussion, vocals

Additional musicians
Thomas Dolby – additional synthesizers (6, 7, 9)

Steve Lillywhite – producer
Phil Thornalley – engineer
John Rule – assistant engineer
Thomi Wroblewski – sleeve design, photography

A: In The Name Of Love
B: In The Beginning

May 1982
A: Runaway (Remix)
B: Open Your Eyes

A: Runaway (Remix)
B: Open Your Eyes
C: Living In Europe (Live)
D: Make Believe (Live)

New Lineup

22 Oct 1982
A: Lies
B: “Beach Culture” ()


Jan 1983
A: Love On Your Side
B: Love On Your Back

Smash Hits

Quick Step & Side Kick

The Thompson Twins released their third album, Quick Step & Side Kick, in February 1983 on Arista.

1. “Love On Your Side” ()
2. “Lies” ()
3. “If You Were Here” ()
4. “Judy Do” ()
5. “Tears” ()

6. “Watching” ()
7. “We Are Detective” ()
8. “Kamikaze” ()
9. “Love Lies Bleeding” ()
10. “All Fall Out” ()

Studio Compass Point Studios (Nassau, Bahamas)
RAK Studios, (London, England)
Alex Sadkin – producer
Phil Thornalley – engineer
Ted Jensen – mastering at Sterling Sound (New York City, USA).

Tom Bailey – vocals, synthesizers, drum programming
Joe Leeway – synthesizers, congas, vocals
Alannah Currie – percussion, xylophone, vocals

Additional musicians
Boris Williams – cymbals on “If You Were Here” and “Tears”
Monte Brown – guitars on “Watching”
Grace Jones – backing vocals on “Watching”

David Shortt – art direction
Satori Graphic – design
Jeremy Pemberton – design
Roger Charity – photography

Apr 1983
A: We Are Detective
B: “Lucky Day” ()

Jul 1983
A: Watching
B: “Dancersaurus” ()

“Watching” picture disc

UK Albums (OCC)[14] 2
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[12] 7
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[10] 26
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[13] 27
US Billboard 200[15] 34

11 Nov 1983

A: Hold Me Now
B: “Let Loving Start” ()


27 Jan 1984

A: Doctor! Doctor!
B: “Nurse Shark” ()

Into the Gap

The Thompson Twins released their fourth album, Into the Gap, on February 17, 1984, on Arista.

1. “Doctor! Doctor!” (4:39)
2. “You Take Me Up” (4:26)
3. “Day After Day” (3:49)
4. “Sister of Mercy” (5:09)
5. “No Peace for the Wicked” (4:09)

6. “The Gap” (4:44)
7. “Hold Me Now” (4:46)
8. “Storm on the Sea” (5:26)
9. “Who Can Stop the Rain” (5:46)

Recorded Autumn 1983 (“Hold Me Now”); November 1983 – January 1984
Recorded at Compass Point Studios (Nassau, Bahamas).
Mixed at RAK Studios (London, UK).
Mastered at Sterling Sound (New York City, New York, US)

Tom Bailey – vocals, synthesizers, pianos, guitars, bass guitar, double bass, melodica, harmonica, drum programming
Joe Leeway – synthesizers, congas, backing vocals
Alannah Currie – acoustic drums, percussion, marimba, xylophone, backing vocals

Additional musicians
Pandit Dinesh – tablas on “The Gap”
Tom Bailey – producer
Alex Sadkin – producer, engineer
Phil Thornalley – recording, mixing
Chris Dickie – assistant engineer
Frank Gibson – assistant engineer
Steve Dewey – assistant engineer
Ted Jensen – mastering

Alannah Currie – art direction
Nick Marchant – art direction
Satari Graphic – design
Paul Cox – front cover photography
Peter Ashworth – inside photography

March 1984
A: You Take Me Up
B: “Passion Planet” ()

29 Jun 1984
A: Sister Of Mercy
B: Out Of The Gap

New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[20] 1
UK Albums (OCC)[24] 1
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[14] 3
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[13] 4
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[18] 6
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[23] 7
European Albums (Eurotipsheet)[16] 8
US Billboard 200[25] 10
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[22] 14
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[21] 16

Oct 1984
“Adventure Game for the Spectrum”
Flexi Records Ltd.

Nov 1984
A: Lay Your Hands On Me
B: “The Lewis Carol” ()


picture disc



In April 1985, the Thompson Twins released the standalone single “Roll Over” backed with “Fools In Paradise.”

A: “Roll Over” ()
B: “Fools In Paradise” ()

Aug 1985
A: Don’t Mess With Dr. Dream
B: “Big Business” ()

Here’s to Future Days

The Thompson Twins released their fifth album, Here’s to Future Days, on September 20, 1985, on Arista.

1. “Don’t Mess with Doctor Dream” (4:25)
2. “Lay Your Hands on Me” (4:22)
3. “Future Days” (3:00)
4. “You Killed the Clown” (4:54)
5. “Revolution” John LennonPaul McCartney (4:06)

6. “King for a Day” (5:22)
7. “Love Is the Law” (4:45)
8. “Emperor’s Clothes (Part 1)” (4:46)
9. “Tokyo” (3:39)
10. “Breakaway” (3:34)

Recorded 1984–1985
Studio Marcadet (Paris), Guillaume Tell (Suresnes, France), Skyline (New York City)

Some UK copies came with a “free 5-track album of re-mixes” (this disc having cat. no. FRE TT 1). The remixes were also included as bonus tracks on the cassette version of the album.

1. “Shoot Out” (Engineered by Jay Mark) Tom Bailey (6:23)
2. “Alice” Nile RodgersTom Bailey (4:59)
3. “Heavens Above!” Jay Mark (3:20)

4. “The Kiss” Jay Mark (5:44)
5. “Desert Dancers” Jay Mark (7:05)

Tom Bailey – lead vocals, synthesizers, pianos, Fairlight CMI programming, guitars, double bass, drum programming
Joe Leeway – E-mu Emulator, synth bass, congas, backing vocals
Alannah Currie – acoustic drums, percussion, marimba, xylophone, backing vocals

Additional musicians
Nile Rodgers – guitars, backing vocals
Steve Stevens – guitars (“Revolution”, “Breakaway”, “Roll Over”)
Steve Elsin – tenor saxophone (“You Killed the Clown”)
East Harlem Hobo Choir – backing vocals (“Lay Your Hands on Me”, “Future Days”)

Tom Bailey – producer (1, 3-10)
Nile Rodgers – producer (1, 3-10)
Alex Sadkin – producer (2)
James Farber – engineer (1, 3-10), mixing
John “Tokes” Potoker – engineer (1, 3-10)
Terry Becker – engineer (2)
Scott Ansell – second engineer
Olivier De Bosson – second engineer
Knut Bøhn – additional second engineer
Jay Mark – additional engineer
Lee Charteris – technical assistant
Steve Dewey – technical assistant
Alex Melnyk – project coordinator
Alannah Currie – art direction
Andie Airfix – design, artwork
Rebecca Blake – photography

Sep 1985
A: King For A Day
B: “Rollunder” ()

Nov 1985
A: Revolution
B: “The Fourth Sunday” ()

New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[18] 1
UK Albums (OCC)[22] 5
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[20] 7
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[12] 8
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[19] 9
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[21] 12
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[13] 14
European Albums (Eurotipsheet)[15] 16
Italian Albums (Musica e dischi)[17] 20
US Billboard 200[23] 20 


  • A Product Of… (1981)
  • Set (1982)
  • Quick Step & Side Kick (1983)
  • Into the Gap (1984)
  • Here’s to Future Days (1985)
  • Close to the Bone (1987)
  • Big Trash (1989)
  • Queer (1991)


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