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, he backed her 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 18 months, drummer Andrew Edge (later Savage Progress) filled out the Thompson Twins lineup.
With the arrival of drummer Chris Bell, the Thompson Twins issued their debut single, “Squares and Triangles” (b/w “Could Be Her .. .. Could Be You”), in April 1980 on one-press Dirty Discs. It was produced by Alan O’Duffy (Horslips, Meal Ticket, Rory Gallagher). That September, they 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). 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.
- 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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