Tom Tom Club began life as a side project for Talking Heads members Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth to keep themselves busy while David Byrne gallivanted about as early-80s post-modern renaissance man.
They adopted a light, tropical dance style that won them a gold album with Tom Tom Club in 1981 and a Top 40 US single with Genius Of Love. They also notched up a Top 10 UK hit with the Dr Seuss bubblefunk of the single Wordy Rappinghood – which also topped the charts in 16 other countries but was never released as a single in the USA.
Chris and Tina had originally hired legendary reggae producer Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry to produce them, but he failed to turn up at the recording sessions.
Instead, they employed a DIY ethic with the help of a young Jamaican engineer, Steven Stanley, and stunt guitarist Adrian Belew, whose playful guitar riffs combined perfectly with the Tom Tom Club’s schoolyard chants.
Tunes from their debut album have been sampled by just about every hip-hop or rap artist of note since.
Other Tom Tom Club albums were Close To The Bone (1983) and Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom (1989). Chris and Tina even toured Tom Tom Club in the northern summer of 1989.
When Talking Heads broke up in 1991, Tom Tom Club became Frantz and Weymouth’s main outlet. They released Sneak Love Action in 1992.