Thursday, April 26, 2012

1984: A labour of love

Of all the Eighties bands who've been rehabiliated and are now officially OK to like, there's one glaring omission: The Thompson Twins.

Perhaps not doing themselves any favours with her ludicrous hat and their cartoonish personas, they nevertheless should be remembered for their cracking hits. There's none more Eighties than that heavy keyboard and Linn drum sound, is there? Just a note of their over-produced music and I'm instantly transported back. 

I bought Lies, their first single to chart, in late '82. With its tinny production and general feeling of emptiness, it was however a taste of the fun that was to come. Love On Your Side, never my favourite, but rocketing them right into the Top 10 came next and from then on their career trajectory was set.

So by the time this corker was released around this time in '84, they were big. Like really big. Huge. This reached No.2, which is surprising because it could have been enormously hard work to like, with its strange industrial sounds and heavy use of the mouth organ, it's kind of folky electronica. But once you're in, you're in. You never hear this on the radio of course, but you don't hear Doctor! Doctor! or Hold Me Now either, and remember how they used to be everywhere?

It's a shame - they suffered because they were a bit silly and they're still suffering now. Trendy for about five mintues when they first started then it all went tits up image wise, and they were no more cool than Nik Kershaw or Bucks Fizz - i.e., not at all. Beloved by kids mainly and majorly Smash Hits-friendly. That includes me by the way. I wasn't ashamed to love the singles, but I didn't much care for anything post Lay Your Hands On Me, the song that came out in the latter part of this year and was meant to herald a newer, more grown-up direction, but actually just left everyone cold.

That said, I adore their gorgeous, rather moving If You Were Here from the film Sixteen Candles. Perhaps they don't want or need rehabilitation. Perhaps they wonder why on earth they should get back out there and do the nostalgia-in-a-basket circuit - the music should speak for itself, after all. However, I feel strongly that they shouldn't be forgotten. They're part of the fabric of music in the Eighties after all. They need to be brought to a wider audience again.

The campaign starts here.


  1. I've got a vinyl copy of their forgotten first album, A Product of Participation. It's completely different from anything that came afterwards - very self-consciously arty, and not remotely commercial. They were terribly serious. The single 'In The Name of Love' became massive in the New Romantic clubs and of course when they changed tack and became hugely successful, we all had a good old sneer ( ie, we were jealous.).

    I can forgive them a few of their subsequent singles (which is very gracious of me, I'm sure), but can never forgive We Are Detective, which to this day will give me an instant nosebleed if I hear it.

  2. I was quite a fan, had a bit of a thing for the singer, though the lady, with all her big hair, really got on my nerves. I, too, loathed We Are Detective. Annoyingly, it has now crept into my sub-conscious ......aaaaaaargh!

  3. They were, of course, the main protagonists in the second British invasion. The Americans absolutely adored them.

    I'm surprised a little that Love On Your Side was "never" your "favourite", as I've always imagined it to have started as a really classy piano song of frustration with a proper hook and melody, that only then got sanitised by the production demands of the time. I hate Doctor, Doctor though. Always have done. I never play it or listen to it.