The Tourists were a typical British post-punk new wave group, except for the fact that in a brief career spanning 1979 and 1980 they recorded three albums (The Tourists, Reality Effect and Luminous Basement), all of which made the UK charts
They also scored five chart singles, two of which (I Only Want To Be With You and So Good To Be Back Home Again) made the Top Ten. I Only Want To Be With You also made the US singles chart.
Undemonstrative northerner songwriter and co-lead singer Peet Coombes had a pinched nasal tenor that suited the slightly sour sentiments of songs like Another English Day and Don’t Get Left Behind. But The Tourists’ secret weapon was peroxide blonde Annie Lennox who tended to overpower Coombes on their duets and helped make the overtly pop The Loneliest Man In The World their first Top 40 hit.
Apart from bassist Eddie Chin’s Chinese nationality and ponytail, her gaunt good looks, short bleached fringe and mildly androgynous air were The Tourists’ sole distinguishing feature.
Their third album (Luminous Basement) integrated Annie’s classically-trained keyboards into the mix while maintaining their basic pop focus.
Peet Coombes’s lyrics had an inward-looking, psychoanalytical flavour and Lennox, on her one contribution (One Step Nearer The edge) maintained that introspection. Meanwhile, Dave Stewart brought in a Yardbirds-style rave-up in Let’s Take A Walk.
Don’t Say I Told You So showed that the group could still come up with a catchy single, but it and the album enjoyed only modest success.
After the band split in 1980, Coombes and Chin formed the Acid Drops (who vanished into oblivion) while Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox formed Eurythmics (who most certainly did not).