Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tom Tom Club

Genius of Love

Tom Tom Club was a New Wave band set up in 1981 by Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, who were also members of the Talking Heads.

Although originally established as a side project, The Tom Tom Club enjoyed early success with hits such as the above video "Genius of Love" and "Wordy Rappinghood", which were taken from their self-titled first album which was released on Sire in the US and Island Records elsewhere in 1981.

"Genius of Love" has been sampled or reinterpreted by many artists, including rapper Funkdoobiest and Mariah Carey in her hit single "Fantasy". "It's Nasty" (1982) by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five was one of the early rap versions of the song - however, the sample was re-recorded by a live band, as was common practice at the time. Another version, "Genius Rap" (1981), by Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, appeared even before Flash and the Furious Five's version.

Early pressings of their first album featured short versions of "Genius of Love" and "Wordy Rappinghood" but to capitalise on the club success of these songs, Island reissued the album with the full 12" versions in 1982. A new single "Under the Boardwalk", which was the group's second and final UK hit, replaced another song "Booming and Zooming".

The following year, the group released a follow-up, Close to the Bone, which was similar in style to their first album but didn't fare as well despite songs such as Pleasure of Love and The Man With The Four Way Hips.

Despite this disappointment, The Tom Tom Club appeared in the Talking Heads concert film, Stop Making Sense in 1984.

There was then a four-year gap until the band's next album, the first version of Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom. By this stage, the band's deal with Island had expired and Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom was released outside the US on Fontana. The album saw the group adopt a more conventional rock song with a harder edged sound and a hint of menace in the lyrics of some songs.

The group's line-up was also solidified along more conventional commercial lines. Whereas the previous two albums had been recorded by a loose collective of a dozen musicians, the Tom Tom Club was now reduced to the trio of Weymouth, Frantz and Weymouth's sister Laura Weymouth.

There were, however, a number of prominent guest musicians on the record including Lou Reed and Talking Heads frontman David Byrne on a cover of Reed's "Femme Fatale". The fourth member of Talking Heads Jerry Harrison also featured on some tracks.

As with Close to the Bone, the album wasn't a commercial success although Suboceana got some radio play. The album was the first Tom Tom Club album to be issued on CD and the Japanese CD version featured an added bonus track, the b-side Devil, Does Your Dog Bite? which was also featured on the soundtrack "Married to the Mob."

The following year, in a bid to recapture the attention of the US market, the group and Sire decided to issue a radically altered version of the album in the US. The US version of Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom replaced four songs with four others, one of which I Confess was a total overhaul of the original album's Mighty Teardrop. The running order of the rest of the album was shuffled while the artwork was revamped. However, the changes had little effect on the album's US commercial success, which was minimal.

The group's later albums have also met with little success.

Tom Tom Club (1981)
Close to the Bone (1983)
Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom (1988)
Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom (US version) (1989)
Dark Sneak Love Action (1991)
The Good, The Bad, and the Funky (2000)
"Sand", on Sharin in the Groove (2001)
Live @ the Clubhouse (2001)

"Wordy Rappinghood"

"Genius of Love"

"Under the Boardwalk"


External links
Official Tom Tom Club website

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