Tom Bailey (musician)

Last updated

Tom Bailey
Tom Bailey Nocturnal Culture Night 16 2023 16.jpg
Bailey performing live on the Nocturnal Culture Night festival in 2023
Background information
Birth nameThomas Alexander Bailey
Born Halifax, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Origin Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • composer
  • record producer
  • Vocals
  • keyboards
  • synthesiser
  • piano
  • guitar
  • bass guitar
  • upright bass
  • harmonica
  • percussion
Years active1975–present
Formerly of

Thomas Alexander Bailey is an English singer, songwriter, musician, composer and record producer. Bailey came to prominence in the early 1980s as the lead vocalist for the new wave band Thompson Twins, which released five singles that entered the top ten charts in the United Kingdom during the 1980s: "Love On Your Side", "We Are Detective", "Hold Me Now", "Doctor! Doctor!", and "You Take Me Up". He was the only member of the band to have formal musical training. From 1994, Bailey was also a member of its later incarnation, Babble, releasing two commercially unsuccessful studio albums. He released his debut solo studio album Science Fiction in 2018.


He currently works in various musical fields including scoring for film. He records and performs dub music under the name International Observer and Indo-fusion music with the Holiwater Project. He also collaborated with astronomer and visual artist José Francisco Salgado as part of the audio-visual ensemble Bailey-Salgado Project (BSP).

Early life and education

Tom Bailey grew up in a family associated with the medical profession. His father was the Medical Officer of Health for Chesterfield Borough Council, and Bailey was educated at Chesterfield Grammar School. After training as a classical pianist, Bailey initially worked as a music teacher at Brook School, Sheffield. In his late teens and early twenties, he travelled the world.[ citation needed ]

Musical career

1977–1993: Thompson Twins

Bailey in San Bernardino, California, 1986 Thompson-twins-tom2.jpg
Bailey in San Bernardino, California, 1986

Bailey formed Thompson Twins in 1977 with Pete Dodd (guitar and vocals), John Roog (guitar), and Jon Podgorski (drums). Podgorski did not want to move to London, so Andrew Edge played drums with them for one year before Chris Bell joined. [1] The group eventually ended up as a trio with Bailey on lead vocals, guitar, bass, and keyboards, his then girlfriend Alannah Currie (percussion, saxophone, and backing vocals), and Joe Leeway (percussion and vocals). [1] Thompson Twins became fixtures on MTV during the 1980s as the videos for "Hold Me Now", "Lay Your Hands on Me" and "King for a Day" were played frequently. [1] Subsequent to the marriage of Bailey and Currie, Thompson Twins released their final studio album, Queer , in 1991.

1993–1996: Babble

In 1994, Bailey and Currie formed the electronica-orientated duo, Babble. [1]

2000s: International Observer

Between 2001 and 2015, Bailey released several dub and electronica albums under the name International Observer.

2010s: Tom Bailey solo

Bailey performed Thompson Twins songs live for the first time in 27 years on 17 August 2014 at Temple Island Meadows, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire for the Rewind Festival. [2]

Also in 2014, Bailey took part in the Retro Futura Tour in the US. He was billed under the moniker "Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey." The 2014 Retro Futura Tour also featured Howard Jones, Midge Ure, China Crisis, and Katrina Leskanich of Katrina and the Waves. [3] During an interview with the Stuck in the '80s podcast prior to the tour, Bailey said that while preparing for his return to the stage he went to a store and bought a Thompson Twins greatest-hits CD to help him learn the songs again. [4]

In 2016, Bailey released a new solo single titled "Come So Far", which included a music video. [5]

On 25 April 2017, the official Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey website announced that Bailey was recording his debut solo studio album and that he hoped to release the album in early 2018. The album, titled Science Fiction , was released in July 2018. [6] To promote the album, Bailey toured the United States and United Kingdom with the B-52's, Culture Club, and Belinda Carlisle as part of The Life Tour. [7] [8]

2020s: Into the Gap Australian Tour

Bailey performing "Hold Me Now" at Northcote Theatre in 2022 Tom Bailey performing Hold Me Now, Northcote Theatre, October 2022.jpg
Bailey performing "Hold Me Now" at Northcote Theatre in 2022

In October 2022, Bailey performed the Thompson Twins' studio album Into the Gap in its entirety in Australia, (along with his band known as "The Sisters of Mercy"), having recently moved back to New Zealand full time from his home in London.

Musical collaborations

In 1983, Bailey played keyboards and percussion on Paul Haig's debut studio album Rhythm of Life .

In 1988 Bailey collaborated with Phil Thornalley, who worked frequently with Thompson Twins, on Thornalley's only solo studio album, Swamp . Aside from playing instruments, Bailey also produced three tracks, remixed three tracks along with Thornalley and co-wrote the track "When I Get to Heaven". [9] [10]

In 1999 Bailey produced the New Zealand band Stellar, and in 1999 he won Record Producer of the Year in New Zealand for their debut studio album, Mix . [11]

In 2002 Bailey became the figurehead for the dub project International Observer. Recent performances with 'Holiwater', a cinematic fusion of Indian classical music (Sarod- Vikash Maharaj), electronica (keyboards – Bailey) and video (film maker – Andrei Jewell), blur boundaries between art installation and performance. The band was formed to highlight issues of water pollution on the Ganges.

In 2010 Bailey and astronomer and visual artist José Francisco Salgado formed an audiovisual ensemble called Bailey-Salgado Project (BSP). BSP combines music with photography, video, and motion graphics to create multimedia works that have as subject the physical world. Their first work together, a short film entitled Sidereal Motion, was previewed in Bath, England in October 2010. [12]

Personal life

Bailey was married to Thompson Twins member Alannah Currie from 1991 to 2003. They have two children. As of 2014, Bailey lives in France with his second wife, artist Lauren Drescher. [13] He has homes in New Zealand, France, and London. [14] Bailey has been vocal about his choice to be a vegan, and he does not drink or use recreational drugs. [14]



with Thompson Twins

with Babble

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thompson Twins</span> British pop band

Thompson Twins were a British pop band, formed in 1977 in Sheffield. Initially a new wave group, they switched to a more mainstream pop sound and achieved considerable popularity during the early and mid-1980s, scoring a string of hits in the United Kingdom, the United States, and around the world. In 1993, they changed their name to Babble, to reflect their change in music from pop to dub-influenced chill-out. They continued as Babble until 1996, at which point the group permanently broke up.

<i>Def, Dumb & Blonde</i> 1989 studio album by Deborah Harry

Def, Dumb & Blonde is the third solo studio album by the American singer Deborah Harry. Released in October 1989 on Sire Records in the US and Chrysalis Records in the UK, the album saw Harry reverting from "Debbie" to "Deborah" as her professional name. Harry worked with a variety of producers on the album, including Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins and Mike Chapman who had previously produced the last four Blondie albums. "I wanted to do certain things that were reminiscent of Blondie," she stated.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alannah Currie</span> New Zealand musician

Alannah Joy Currie is a New Zealand artist based in London. She is a musician and activist, best known as a former member of the pop band Thompson Twins.

<i>Set</i> (Thompson Twins album) 1982 studio album by Thompson Twins

Set is the second studio album by English pop band Thompson Twins. Released in February 1982, it was the second album they recorded for their own T Records imprint, which was released by Arista Records/Hansa.

<i>Into the Gap</i> 1984 studio album by Thompson Twins

Into the Gap is the fourth studio album by British pop group Thompson Twins, released on 17 February 1984 by Arista Records. The album was recorded during 1983 at Compass Point Studios, in Nassau, Bahamas, and was produced by Alex Sadkin who had produced the band's previous studio album, Quick Step & Side Kick (1983).

<i>Close to the Bone</i> (Thompson Twins album) Album by Thompson Twins

Close to the Bone is the sixth studio album by the British pop group Thompson Twins, released on 6 April 1987 by Arista Records. Only the duo of Tom Bailey and Alannah Currie remained; this was the first album the group made without Joe Leeway. It was produced by Bailey and Rupert Hine.

<i>Big Trash</i> Album by Thompson Twins

Big Trash is the seventh studio album by the British pop group the Thompson Twins, released in 1989 by Warner Brothers/Red Eye. It was produced by Tom Bailey and Alannah Currie, with two tracks produced by Steve Lillywhite.

<i>Queer</i> (Thompson Twins album) 1991 studio album by Thompson Twins

Queer is the eighth and final studio album by the British pop group Thompson Twins, which was released in 1991 by Warner Bros.

<i>The Stone</i> (Babble album) 1994 studio album by Babble

The Stone is the debut studio album by Babble, an electronic dance music group that was composed of Tom Bailey, Alannah Currie, and Keith Fernley. The group changed its name as it changed the outward appearance of its sound, from pop to dub-influenced chill-out. The underlying melodies and the familiar voices of Bailey and Currie still gave a Thompson Twins tone. However, the addition of Quest vocalist Amey St. Cyr, emcee Q-Tee ("Beautiful"), deep basslines, and loads of spacious effects made it a much more relevant album for the lounge music scene. Promotion of the album was minimal. However, during an interview in Classic Pop magazine in 2014, Bailey stated the album was influential in the recording of Original Soundtracks 1, an album released in 1995 by U2 and Brian Eno under the pseudonym Passengers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hold Me Now (Thompson Twins song)</span> 1983 single by Thompson Twins

"Hold Me Now" is a 1983 song by British band the Thompson Twins. Written by the band members, the song was produced by Alex Sadkin and the group's lead vocalist Tom Bailey. The song is a mid-tempo new wave song that uses a varied instrumentation, including keyboards, a xylophone, a piano and Latin percussion. It was released in November 1983 as the first single from their fourth studio album, Into the Gap.

<i>Rhythm of Life</i> 1983 studio album by Paul Haig

Rhythm of Life is the debut studio album by the Scottish musician Paul Haig, released in November 1983 by Island Records. It was recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in New York City and RAK Studios in London with renowned record producer Alex Sadkin, known for his work on multiple albums by Grace Jones, and Thompson Twins. The album features guest musicians such as Bernie Worrell of Parliament-Funkadelic, Anton Fier of the Feelies and the Golden Palominos, and Tom Bailey of Thompson Twins. Four singles were released from Rhythm of Life: "Heaven Sent", "Never Give Up ", "Justice" and "Blue for You". The track "Adoration" was originally performed while Haig was still a member of the post-punk band Josef K. The album spent 2 weeks on the UK Albums Chart, peaking at No. 82.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Babble (band)</span> British–New Zealand electronic dance group

Babble was a British-New Zealand electronic dance music group active in the 1990s. It was formed by Tom Bailey and Alannah Currie, with Keith Fernley.

International Observer is a British-New Zealand musical duo formed by Tom Bailey, musician and ex-lead singer of the British band the Thompson Twins, which rose to fame during the 1980s. Its debut album, Seen, featured Māori visual artist Rakai Karaitiana as part of the project.

The Bailey-Salgado Project is an audiovisual ensemble formed in 2010 by musician and composer Tom Bailey and astronomer and visual artist José Francisco Salgado. They combine music with photography, video, and motion graphics to create multimedia works that have as a subject the physical world. Their first work together, a short film entitled Sidereal Motion, was previewed in Bath, England in October 2010.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Don't Mess with Doctor Dream</span> 1985 single by Thompson Twins

"Don't Mess With Doctor Dream" is a 1985 song by the British band Thompson Twins. It was released as a single from their album Here's to Future Days, and peaked at No. 15 in the UK, spending six weeks on the chart. Written by bandmembers Tom Bailey, Alannah Currie and Joe Leeway, it is an anti-drug song warning of the dangers of drug addiction. It was the first Thompson Twins single to be co-produced by Nile Rodgers. A promotional music video was made for the single which was directed by Godley & Creme along with Meiert Avis.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sister of Mercy (song)</span> 1984 single by Thompson Twins

"Sister Of Mercy" is a song by the British pop group Thompson Twins. It was originally included on the group's 1984 album Into The Gap, though a remixed version was released as the fourth single from the album in the summer of 1984. The single peaked at #11 in the UK, spending ten weeks on the UK singles chart.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">You Take Me Up</span> 1984 single by Thompson Twins

"You Take Me Up" is a song by British pop group Thompson Twins, released as the third single from their fourth studio album, Into the Gap (1984), on 19 March 1984. It was written by Tom Bailey, Alannah Currie and Joe Leeway and prominently features the harmonica and a melodica solo. In addition to the regular 7-inch and multiple 12-inch releases, Arista Records also released four different shaped picture discs for the single, three of which were part of a jigsaw.

<i>Swamp</i> (album) 1988 studio album by Phil Thornalley

Swamp is the debut and only solo studio album from English songwriter-producer Phil Thornalley, released in 1988 by MCA.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Play with Me (Jane)</span> 1992 single by Thompson Twins

"Play with Me (Jane)" is a song from the British pop duo Thompson Twins, which was released in 1992 as a single from Songs from the Cool World, the soundtrack release for the 1992 film Cool World. The song was written and produced by Alannah Currie and Tom Bailey.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Love Has No Name</span> 1996 single by Babble

"Love Has No Name" is a song from British-New Zealand electronic dance music group Babble, which was released in 1996 as the sole single from their second and final studio album Ether. The song was written by Alannah Currie (lyrics) and Tom Bailey (music), and was produced by Bailey, Currie and Keith Fernley. It reached number 10 on the US Billboard Hot Dance Music Club Play chart.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Sutton, Michael (18 January 1956). "Tom Bailey — Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  2. "Rewind Festival 2014 line-up revealed". Henley Standard. 3 November 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  3. Retro Futura Tour 2014 (Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey, Howard Jones, Midge Ure, Katrina) at Mountain Winery, 2 September 2014, retrieved 30 May 2015
  4. Stuck in the '80s interview (Tom Bailey talks to host Steve Spears) , retrieved 30 May 2015
  5. Badgley, Aaron. "SPILL FEATURE: COME SO FAR – A CONVERSATION WITH TOM BAILEY OF THE THOMPSON TWINS". The Spill Magazine. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  6. Shapiro, Eileen (27 June 2018). "Tom Bailey: Science Fiction – album review". Louder Than War. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  7. "The Life Tour: Starring Boy George & Culture Club and The B-52s with Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey Kicks Off This Summer". Broadway World. 20 March 2019. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  8. Hafey, Lisa (11 April 2019). "'The Life Tour' – Boy George & Culture Club, Belinda Carlisle, And Tom Bailey From The Thompson Twins To Do 11 Date UK Arena Tour". Essentially Pop. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  9. "Phil Thornalley — Swamp (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". 1988. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  10. "Swamp — Phil Thornalley : Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  11. "Thompson Twins — The Bubble Burst — Where are they now?". The Bubble Burst. Archived from the original on 10 December 2007. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  12. "INSAP VII speaker — José Francisco Salgado". Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  13. Alper, Eric (10 August 2014). "Tom Bailey Of The Thompson Twins On Coming Back, MTV and His Favorite Song". Archived from the original on 31 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  14. 1 2 Stephens, Stephanie (17 July 2018). "Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey: Gives '100 Percent' to New Music, New Tour". Parade . Archived from the original on 19 July 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2018.