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Tom Tom Club is an Americanmarker new wave band founded in 1980 by Talking Heads alumni Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, a married couple.


Originally established as a side project, the Tom Tom Club comprise a loose aggregate of musicians, sound engineers and artists of the Compass Point All Stars family, including Tina Weymouth's sisters and guitarist Adrian Belew, the latter of whom toured with Weymouth and Frantz in the expanded version of Talking Heads in 1980 and 1981.

Named after the dancehall in the Bahamas where they rehearsed for the first time, the Tom Tom Club enjoyed early success in the dance club culture of the early 1980s with the hits "Genius of Love" and "Wordy Rappinghood," taken from their self-titled first album released on Sire in the US and Island Records elsewhere in 1981.

"Genius of Love" has been sampled or reinterpreted by many artists, including emcee Redman, 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 hip-hop 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 & Mr. Hyde, was the first cover version.

Early British pressings of its first album featured short versions of "Genius of Love" and "Wordy Rappinghood," but to capitalize on the club success of these songs, Island reissued the album with the full 12-inch versions in 1982. A new single, a cover version of The Drifters' "Under the Boardwalk," which was the group's second and final UK hit, replaced another song "Booming and Zooming." The US version did not contain these modifications until the album was released on compact disc in the 1990s

The following year, the group released a follow-up, Close to the Bone, which was similar in style to its first album but didn't fare as well despite songs such as "Pleasure of Love" and "The Man With The Four Way Hips," but the former song was a minor hit on urban radio in the US. The album was released on cassette and vinyl and has yet to be reissued on CD. The original British vinyl was put out in six different colors.

The Tom Tom Club appeared in the Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense in 1984, performing "Genius of Love."

There was then a 4-year gap until the band's next album, the first version of Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom. By this stage, the band's non-US deal with Island had expired and the album was released outside the US on Fontana/PolyGram Records. On the album, the group adapted a more conventional rock style 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' front man 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 was not a commercial success although "Suboceana" received some radio play, mainly in the UK. 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. "Suboceana" was also remixed for dance clubs by house-music pioneer Marshall Jefferson.

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.

In 1991 Chris and Tina built the Clubhouse, a painting and music studio, over their garage near Gamecock Island, Connecticut. In 1992 they released the fourth Tom Tom Club album, "Dark Sneak Love Action", which included a cover of Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing." That album's focus was on the burgeoning techno-music scene, although the songs on the album reflect the sunny, quirky, and playful style of its first two albums. A single, "Sunshine & Ecstasy," featured remixes by Roger Sanchez.

The group's next album, The Good the Bad and the Funky, was released in 2000 and featured cover versions of Donna Summer's "Love to Love You, Baby" and Lee Perry's "Soul Fire." Among the musicians on The Good the Bad and the Funky are Jamaican singer Mystic Bowie, Pettigrew and Toots of Toots & the Maytals. The album's release was followed by one European, and several American, tours.

In 2002, Frantz and Tina Weymouth, along with their former Talking Heads bandmates, were inducted at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famemarker.

A complete live concert was released in 2003 on the double CD Live @ the Clubhouse, recorded at Tom Tom Club's regular hide-out studio, the Clubhouse in Connecticut in front of an audience of fifty guests. Tom Tom Club has been doing incidental live shows since.

In 2007, the band released a special Christmas single called "Mistletunes," containing two specially recorded Christmas songs: "Il est Ne" and "Christmas in the Club," which features Mystic Bowie and scratcher/turntableist Kid Ginseng (Weymouth and Franz's son). The single was released by Dutch indie label La La Land Records, which was founded by the former Tom Tom Club merchandise crew.



Chart singles

Year Title Chart positions Album
U.S. Hot 100 U.S. Modern Rock U.S. Main. Rock UK
1981 "Wordy Rappinghood" - - 65 7 Tom Tom Club
1981 "Genius of Love" 31 - 24 65
1982 "Under the Boardwalk" - - - 22
1989 "Suboceana" - 10 - - Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom
1992 "Sunshine and Ecstacy" - 15 - - Dark Sneak Love Action

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