A Young Person’s Guide To: Thompson Twins – In The Name Of Love US LP/CD

Thompson Twins 82

The more vibrant 7-person Thompson Twins lineup made two albums that became one in America

I first heard Thompson Twins like most “hip” Americans. In the summer of 1982 I was hearing “In The Name Of Love” a lot on college radio. The single would go on to be the Billboard “dance single” of the year 1982 but the band never crossed over into the pop charts just yet. I had read an interview with Steve Lillywhite in Trouser Press magazine where he talked up producing the second album by Thompson Twins; calling them “psychedelic African music.” I guess that came as close as anything in describing their “large collective” band-era sound. There were a lot of guitars and five people credited with percussion! It was in the fall of 1982 [if memory serves] that I finally saw their album, “In The Name Of Love,” in the stores and bought it forthwith.

Arista ‎| US | CD | 1988 | ARCD 8244

Thompson Twins: In The Name Of Love US CD [1988]

  1. In The Name Of Love [12″ Dance Extension – 5:39]
  2. Living In Europe 3:30
  3. Bouncing 2:30
  4. The Rowe 6:26
  5. Make Believe 3:23
  6. Runaway 3:13
  7. Another Fantasy 3:58
  8. Fool’s Gold 3:20
  9. Perfect Game 4:26
  10. Good Gosh 3:08

I bought the LP and listened to it for years, but in 1988, I bought the US CD of that album which replaced the LP in my Record Cell. It was obvious that US Arista was playing the sort of games that US labels who licensed UK music often did; making a patchwork compilation album from disparate sources for the US market. Even pre-internet I found out that the two original albums by the Thompson Twins large band were issued in ’81/’82 and were as follows.

Fame ‎| UK | LP | 1981 | FA 41 3074

Thompson Twins: A Product of…Participation UK LP [1981]

  1. When I See You 4:05
  2. Politics: 2:24
  3. Slave Trade 3:28
  4. Could Be Her…Could Be You 3:50
  5. Make Believe 3:20
  6. Don’t Go Away 3:05
  7. The Price 4:28
  8. Oumma Aularesso (Animal Laugh) 3:02
  9. Anything Is Good Enough 2:34
  10. A Product Of… 3:52
  11. Perfect Game 4:25
  12. Vendredi Saint 3:10

I finally tracked down a copy of the Thompson Twins debut album some time in 1993 during a run to Vinyl Fever in Tampa. I found this LP in the dollar bins which were overflowing with copious amounts of desirable releases. I bought this with the eye towards making my own CD of it as the technology was reaching affordability very soon. So that gave me the two tracks on the “In The Name Of Love” CD from the debut album. What about that second album that Steve Lillywhite had mentioned producing?

Hansa International ‎| Mexico | LP | 1982 | LA-470

Thompson Twins: Set MEX LP [1982]

  1. In The Name Of Love 3:50
  2. Living In Europe 3:27
  3. Bouncing 2:32
  4. Tok Tok 2:27
  5. Good Gosh 3:06
  6. The Rowe 6:31
  7. Runaway 3:29
  8. Another Fantasy 3:59
  9. Fools Gold 3:22
  10. Crazy Dog 3:47
  11. Blind 4:56

Sine “Set” had been mostly released in America, it was a tough nut to crack! I only ever saw a copy of this album in Portland in 2008. At one of the many record stores we visited during Ron-Kon I, I came across the Mexican copy that was the first copy of “Set” to ever hit the Record Cell… but not the last. As we can see, seven of the eleven songs were present and accounted for. Americans only got the LP mix of “In The Name Of Love” on 7″ single, but I’ve never seen one of those. The US 12″ version was ubiquitous… but I never had one of those since the US LP featured the 12″ A-side.

T Records | UK | 12″ | 1982 | TEE 124

Thompson Twins: In The Name of Love UK 12″ [1982]

  1. In The Name Of Love [12″ Dance Extension 5:39]
  2. In The Beginning 3:15
  3. Coastline 3:38

Being a purist, I opted for the original UK 12″ single. The music was the same but the cover was a 2-color variant on the big budget US 4-color 12″ sleeve. I had just started buying Thompson Twins rarities on 12″ about 18 years ago with an interest in getting the very scarce indie 7″ material and singles from the first and second UK albums, which I had never seen before! I bought less than a handful of these records [not at great expense] before the Edsel DLX RMs of “A Product Of …Participation/Set” in a 2xCD with a generous complement of bonus tracks were released in 2008 to my general relief. If I could have sourced copies of every single mix and rarity for the first two album period of Thompson Twins, I would have been looking at a copious amount of money! I think the 2xCD cost me under $10 online!

To this day they are my favorite period of Thompson Twins. While, yeah, I am a “synth guy,” sometimes synthesizers are not the most interesting way forward. It’s not like “Set” was bereft in the synth department as any album with Thomas Dolby guesting in 1982 would feature top notch playing. But all of the natural percussion and the guitars/sitars that the multi-culti inclined early Twins favored just sounded more complex and rewarding to their later, synth-dominant trio period. And when the whole thing was produced by producers like Dennis Bovell, Mike Howlett, and Steve Lillywhite it just sounded richer to these ears.

– 30 –

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25 Responses to A Young Person’s Guide To: Thompson Twins – In The Name Of Love US LP/CD

  1. jsd says:

    “When I See You” is pretty amazing- it sounds exactly like XTC, even down to the middle 8!

    Those first two albums are indeed pretty great, but I have a very large soft spot in my heart for Quick Step & Side Kick (just “Side Kicks” in the USA). I got it on original release and it blew me away as a young ‘un. I came to the “large band” era much later in life, and I do appreciate it, but in a different way.

    I have the Edsel reissue and it is almost too generous with the bonus tracks. It’s a lot of material to get through! I’ve had to take it in smaller batches.

    Liked by 2 people

    • postpunkmonk says:

      jsd – XTC you say? I always associate Thompson Twins 1982 with XTC 1982 since they both had somber deep cuts called “Runaway.” I have to give the [slight] edge to the Twins there.


  2. Don’t hate me but I regard The T Twins story as a cautionary tale of how a great new band loses it’s edge and becomes another faceless cog in the commercial music industry machine. Some of their early work was fresh, experimental and engaging. “We Are Detective” and “Watching” are two of my faves. By the time “Hold Me Now” and the cringe inducing “King For A Day” came out their music had devolved into the kind of late 80s Pop dreck that defined the top 40 MOR charts of the day. The lame lyrics make Bon Jovi seem like Shakespeare.

    Seemed like they traded their fun, quirky energy for bland music that was indistinguishable from other radio friendly hits. I have always lamented that. The fact that they did little of significance after that may be a good thing.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Orange County DJ – You are preaching to the choir here! There is a world of difference between the zesty “Set” and the bland “Into The Gap.” Only “You Take Me Up” and the title track rise above the mediocre on that album. There is selling out well [see: Icehouse “Man Of Colours”] and selling out poorly. Thompson Twins squandered their considerable mojo. Why on earth did they lose the many players that gave them greater color?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Echorich says:

      This is what it all comes down to. Thompson Twins as this big collective sound interested me, Thompson Twins as 3 misfits who were dressing in designer “workers clothes” and bouncing around like they were floating in helium making radio friendly Pop did not.

      Liked by 1 person

      • postpunkmonk says:

        Echorich – “Thompson Twins as 3 misfits who were dressing in designer ‘workers clothes’ and bouncing around like they were floating in helium making radio friendly Pop did not.” That was poetry, sir. The crux of the matter simply nailed with aplomb. That “floating in helium” line was brilliant!


        • Tim says:

          I always thought their downfall was smack. I clearly remembering the media circa “Here’s To Future Days” saying that the band was falling apart and it was due to Bailey’s heroin habit. Anything I find online about them nowadays says that he was suffering from “exhaustion.”

          I’m not trolling for gossip here but does any of the forumites here know the story on that?


          • postpunkmonk says:

            Tim – That has a sliiiiiight ring of familiarity. Well, that still wouldn’t excuse
            “Don’t Mess With Doctor Dream.”


          • Bill Van Ryn says:

            The idea that Tom was on heroin is completely untrue. He’s gone on record saying he used a lot of recreational drugs in the 70s, but has been a teetotaller since his late 20s. His collapse in 1985 was brought on by plain old exhaustion at working too much. Alannah on the other hand was very open about the fact that she used drugs in the TT days, and once remarked about doing coke in a bathroom with Grace Jones. Alannah also discussed having a heroin problem before the pop days, which she kicked and never resumed. The association of TT with heroin could have come from their anti-heroin song from “Here’s To Future Days” called “Don’t Mess with Doctor Dream”, which they wrote after being approached by children in Ireland who offered them smack.

            The band’s downfall was the very thing everyone has been commenting on here in the thread, they became successful and got sucked into the corporate machine. They were in the right place at the right time when MTV was looking for programming. Clive Davis gave them great opportunities and they worked very hard to be a commercial property, and then when that happened, they realized they had lost their creative inspiration. They’ve been very open about all this in the years since and would probably agree with everything that’s been said here in the thread, they even suggested they were embarrassed that they were taken so seriously when they claimed the band was only meant to be a laugh.

            Personally I’m in cautious agreement with what’s been said here, and I love the early TT days, but I don’t consider “Side Kicks” or “Into the Gap” to be poor or boring albums at all. Definitely commercial, but also innovative. The exotic sounds from the old days were still there – tablas, unusual percussion, rhythmic arrangements. To me, their immediate nosedive happened with “Here’s To Future Days”, which abandoned their unique approach almost entirely and reached for things like stadium rock and hair metal. Not a good fit for them at all, but an obvious attempt to emulate the success of American bands who were selling millions of records at the time.

            Thanks for this discussion BTW, it’s nice to find people talking about this band (a longtime fave of mine, helium and all), as they tend to be overlooked and disregarded in general whenever people talk about big acts from the 80s.


            • postpunkmonk says:

              Bill Van Ryn – Welcome to the comments! Yep, “Side Kicks” certainly streamlined their sound. And “Into The Gap” was teetering on the precipice for my ears. “Here’s To Future Days” was definitely the free fall. I did buy “Big Trash” and still have it, but I felt that they were better off writing songs for Deborah Harry by then. I never took the bait for Babble as that was so not my thing in the 90s! I know that Tom Bailey has a lot of fans that waited for him to do something new for ages, but I was never on that bus. I was not strongly motivated to bother with “Science Fiction.” I didn’t think he could ever regain the charm of the Big Band.


    • negative1ne says:

      Mr. Monk and others,
      you gave up way too quickly.
      Yes, there is the dreaded pop era,
      and decline of the group. But by the
      time big trash and queer came out.

      They were back doing indie electro,
      and techno which I liked. They then
      went further electronica with the
      Babble spinoff.

      Things to check out down the road.


      • postpunkmonk says:

        negative1ne – I bought “Sugar Daddy” + “Big Trash” when they came out. I still have them. They’re okay. I never heard anything after that. Not the biggest techno fan and the mixes from “Queer” looked pretty dance oriented at a time when I was not enjoying dance music.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Tim says:

          I am quite fond of both the traditional version and the EDM (for it’s day) versions of Play With Me (Jane). I first heard them via the Cool World soundtrack, one of those very 90’s things being a soundtrack where a lot of the music was never in the movie AND the soundtrack was better than the film it was promoting (exhibit B the soundtrack for the 3rd or 4th Batman movie, can’t remember which movie but the soundtrack has Nick Cave, Eddi Reader, EbtG with Massive Attack, PJ Harvey, etc).


        • Tim says:

          May land a double post here, appears last one didn’t go through.
          I really love Jane (Play With Me) both the traditional album take and the EDMified (for it’s day) versions.
          I gave up on the Twins by this point but they were on the Cool World soundtrack. Great soundtrack, cruddy movie.


          • postpunkmonk says:

            Tim – That was a super cruddy movie! I gave it a wide pass having seen “Wizards” in the 70s and “American Pop” in the 80s and didn’t fall for Bakshi again [apart from the excellent “New Adventures Of Mighty Mouse” for which he just received a check, I think]. But Ralph Bakshi was always overrated. There are two funny scenes in “Wizards.”


            • Tim says:

              I saw it because my girlfriend at the time wanted to see it and you know, cinematic compromises were made but at least I like the soundtrack.


  3. Echorich says:

    Interesting (maybe) personal note…the first time I heard MARRS – Pump Up The Volume, I immediately thought of In The Name Of Love…Play them and see if you hear what I hear.


  4. Ade.W says:

    Wasn’t it the Thomson Twins who took some flack on live TV here in the U.K ?.Thomson Twins LP’s can be easily found in the 2 quid boxes of the sort of record shops I go in, but I can still enjoy one or two of there 12″ singles. But overall TT stock is pretty low.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Ade.W – Seeing as I’m an American, I don’t know about any Thompson Twins live TV issues in the UK. Do any British readers have any insights here for Ade.W?

      If you had to limit a TT collection to 12″ singles, I’d opt for these:

      • Make Believe
      • Runaway
      • In The Name Of Love
      • Love On Your Side
      • You Take Me Up
      • The Gap

      Throw in all the B-sides/dubs and that would be a great single disc compilation. Things got very slick on “Quick Step + Side Kick,” but on “Love On Your Side,” at least, it all clicked magnificently.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. zoo says:

    The first trio album (“Side Kicks”) is good stuff. I don’t care to listen to anything after that, but if “Hold Me Now” comes on the radio I won’t turn it off. Oh, and I spent many a Saturday browsing those same bargain bins at Vinyl Fever. They often contained gold!!!


    • postpunkmonk says:

      zoo – I also like “Quick Step + Side Kicks.” It had some good songs but was so monochrome compared to what I was used to from them. I’d still rank it as their second best overall since the band were just learning on “A Product of…Participation.” Compared to ‘Into The Gap” the band were still working for me.

      What fun hitting Vinyl Fever. Lots of good memories in shopping there. After 1985 I usually tried to stop in when visiting Tampa.


  6. Gavin says:

    I listened to “A Product Of…” for the first time yesterday and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
    I was never a big fan of the band,though I liked “In the Name of Love” and “Love on your Side” when they first came out,then later a few of the bigger hits.
    What really piqued my interest in the band was a super-slowed-down remix of their song “If you were here” which appeared on the soundtrack to the incredible video film “Memorex” by Smash TV,which I found about 7 years ago.Used to be on Vimeo but now only on YouTube alas.A film I have watched countless times for both audio and visuals.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Gavin – “A Product Of …Participation” has its charms, but it was still a little rough around the edges from the squat lifestyle. I felt that they got the balance right on “Set.” And “Quick Step And Side Kicks” was probably as far as they should have gone in a commercial direction. But Capitalism is a virulent disease that takes over most host bodies. Never heard of “Memorex” or Smash TV but you learn something new every day! Perhaps chasinvictoria will weigh on on this one? It seems like the kind of thing he would have known about. Saw a trailer for it still on Vimeo.

      Smash TV Presents: MEMOREX from Spectacle on Vimeo.

      Maybe the video equivalent of the amazing CD cover paintings by Aussies Snog on their “3rd Mall From the Sun” album?
      snog 3rd mall from the sun cover art


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