Blue Plate Special: Thompson Twins
One of my earliest music purchases (in the summer of 1982, I believe) was a compilation cassette that I picked up at the Alpha Beta grocery store in Danville, California (with Bill’s Drugs next door) that included songs by Duran Duran (which is primarily why I purchased it), Depeche Mode, Billy Idol, and a few other notable bands. Included was the song ‘In the Name of Love’ by the Thompson Twins.
Formed in the UK in 1977, the band originally had 7 members, led by Tom Bailey on bass and vocals. While their single In The Name of Love became a major dance hit in the US, most of the founding members left the band by 1982, when as a Trio that included former roadie Joe Leeway on percussion and vocals, and Alannah Currie on drums, saxophone, percussion and vocals, the band found major success with their 3rd album, including their song ‘If You Were Here’ appearing in the massively successful John Hughes film “16 Candles.” Their 4th studio album ‘Into the Gap’ was an international hit, and was followed by the very successful ‘Here’s To Future Days’ and an appearance at Live Aid and the Glastonbury Festival.
After Leeway’s departure in 1986, Bailey and Currie soldiered on with 3 more studio albums, before shuttering the band and forming trip-hop band Babble. More recently, Bailey has toured as “Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey” including a performance of the entire ‘Into the Gap’ album in September 2022.
Here are some of my favorites from their collection:
In the Name of Love – from the album Set (1982)
I remember hearing this on the radio and loving it, and was quite excited to find it in the collection of singles from my grocery store purchase in early 1982.
Lay Your Hands on Me – from the album Here’s to Future Days (1985)
This album was a staple of my collection when it was released. I had a cheap little record player in my barn loft bedroom in Placerville, California, and played the album repeatedly at the highest volume.
If You Were Here – from the album Quick Step and Side Kick (1983)
If you’re a fan of the iconic 80’s film “16 Candles” you may not have realized that this single was by Thompson Twins, as it was a slight departure from their dance hits. It appears at the end of the film when the girl finally gets the boy and they celebrate her birthday over candlelight dinner.
Hold Me Now – from the album Into the Gap (1984)
Their first single from the 4th album, this song and accompanying video helped the album reach #1 in the UK and #10 in the US charts. If you were alive at the time and aware of modern music, you knew this single.
Lies – from the album Quick Step and Side Kick (1983)
A classic new wave hit, this was their first single from their 3rd studio album, which became a hugely successful dance hit. This is another song that I found on an early compilation cassette (I used to buy them frequently, because they were cheap and helped me discover many bands).
Come Inside – from the album Queer (1991)
Probably the most well known single from their final 3 studio albums after Leeway left the band, and Bailey and Currie recorded as a duo. It’s a good song that sounds less like Thompson Twins and more like their trip-hop follow up project, Babble. For those that remember, this was the era when grunge music was taking off, but trip-hop and house music was also growing in the UK and elsewhere.
Doctor! Doctor! – from the album Into the Gap (1984)
Another hit single from their 4th studio album, the song reached #3 in the UK and #11 in the US and is another new wave classic.