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"Genius of Love" is a 1981 song by Tom Tom Club from their eponymous debut album, Tom Tom Club.


"Genius of Love" was Tom Tom Club's second single. Although the album had not been released in North America, over a hundred thousand copies of the single sold as imports from Island Records's UK, at which point Sire Records made a deal to release the single and the album in North America in late 1981.

"Genius of Love" was a huge hit (peaking at #31 on the US Billboard Hot 100) in the clubs and on the R&B and dance charts, soon earning the Tom Tom Club LP a Gold Sales Award in 1982. Despite its relatively low chart position in the United Kingdom, the song received a great deal of airplay on UK radio and became a club favorite in Britain, helped by the popularity of the accompanying video. A song based on the keyboards-and-bass rhythm in "Genius of Love" was used in a long-running TV advertising campaign in the UK by the Bird's desserts company between 1985 and 1992, the commercials featuring a spin on the psychedelic animation of the Tom Tom Club video using rudimentary CGI. In 2002 it was also used in a popular TV commercial for Kia cars.

The song's narrator implies that her boyfriend is a "maven of funk mutation" and compares him to James Brown, Bob Marley, Smokey Robinson, Hamilton Bohannon, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Sly and Robbie, and Kurtis Blow.

Tom Tom Club appeared in the 1984 Talking Heads concert movie Stop Making Sense performing "Genius of Love," although this incarnation of the group did not include Tina Weymouth's sisters Laura and Lani. Director Jonathan Demme added "Genius of Love" to the concert primarily so that David Byrne could exit the stage and change into his oversized suit, and he assured Weymouth that the performance would not be included on the final cut of the film. When Weymouth saw an early screening of the film she was thus surprised and irritated to see "Genius of Love," but Demme refused to change anything before the official release.

The B-side of the "Genius of Love (Long Version)" 12" vinyl has a lesser-known underground hit called "Yella." On some pressings, the song is sometimes credited to Mr. Yellow and, on others, it is credited to Yella. It is assumed that this is really the Tom Tom Club using a pseudonym. This cover repeats the chorus: "You've got to have a strong heart to live in New York...".


This song is one of the most sampled rhythm tracks of all time, particularly within the rap/R&B/hip-hop genre, with dozens of unsolicited remixes and versions, most notably Dr. Jeckyl & Mr. Hyde's "Genius Rap" in 1981; GrandMaster Flash & The Furious Five's "It's Nasty" in 1982; Mariah Carey's "Fantasy" in 1995; and The X-Ecutioners' "Genius of Love 2002" in 2002. Also, Mark Morrison's "Return of the Mack" in 1996.

Other artists have incorporated "Genius of Love" into their works, including: Public Enemy's "Leave This Off Your Fu*kin Charts," Redman's song "Brick City Mashin!," Cam'Ron's "Me, My Moms & Jimmy," 2nd II None's "Niggaz Trippin'," Fresh Kid Ice's "Roll Call," Tupac Shakur's "High Speed," Mark Morrison's "Return of the Mack," Busta Rhymes' "One," Ant Banks' "Roll 'Em Phat," P.M. Dawns' "Gotta Be... Movin' On Up," Annie's "Chewing Gum," Menajahtwa's "I Ain't Nasti," and "Genius E Dub" by Eric Sermon.

Music video

Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel produced the animated music video based on the pop art work of James Rizzi, which took off from the cartoony style of the Tom Tom Club album cover.


  • "Genius of Love" / "Lorelei" (Instrumental) UKmarker, 1981 (7"/12")
  • "Genius of Love" / "Lorelei" (Instrumental) Netherlandsmarker, 1981 (7"/12")
  • "Genius of Love" / "Lorelei" (Instrumental) Germanymarker, 1981 (7")
  • "Genius of Love" / "Lorelei" (Instrumental) USAmarker, 1981 (7"/12")


Chart (1982) Peak
UK Singles Chart 65
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 31
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 2
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 1


See also

External links

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