T’Pau formed in 1986 in Shropshire, taking their name from a Vulcan priestess by the same name on the Star Trek TV series.
Fronted by vocalist Carol Decker (a former lifeguard at Shrewsbury baths), the band personified the archetypal chart-topping formula of the late 80s: polished production properties, atmospheric videos, and a strong but glamorous and big-haired leading lady.
Their debut single, Heart and Soul (1987), was initially a flop in the UK and first became a hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US, reaching #4 in Britain after being featured on a Pepe Jeans advertisement.
It then repeated the feat in the UK Singles Chart some months later.
The band had their biggest hit in 1988 with the ballad, China In Your Hand, which spent five weeks at #1 in the UK chart, and also claimed the top slot in several European countries. The single made little impact in the US.
Their 1987 album, Bridge of Spies (renamed simply T’Pau for US release), was a best seller and won several British music industry awards. The album produced a number of UK Top 40 singles, including Valentine (#9), Sex Talk (#23), and I Will Be With You (#14).
Their second album, Rage (1988), produced the hit single Secret Garden. A third album The Promise followed in 1991, but the band split soon afterwards.
Carol Decker re-formed the band with a new line-up in 1998, and T’Pau have in recent years continued to work live regularly.