Phil Thornalley

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Phil Thornalley
Background information
Birth name Philip Carden Thornalley
Born (1960-01-05) 5 January 1960 (age 55)
Origin Worlington, Mildenhall, Suffolk, England
Genres Punk rock, post-punk, new wave, gothic rock, alternative rock, pop rock
Occupation(s) Songwriter, producer
Instruments Bass guitar, guitar, vocals, drums
Years active 1978–present
Associated acts The Cure
Johnny Hates Jazz

Philip Carden Thornalley (born on 5 January 1960) is an English songwriter-producer who has worked in the music industry since 1978. He is perhaps best known for co-writing (with Scott Cutler and Anne Preven) the Ednaswap song "Torn" (made famous by Natalie Imbruglia's cover version) and "Mama Do" (with Mads Hauge) for Pixie Lott. He was also a member of The Cure in the early 1980s, as well as the acting frontman for the band Johnny Hates Jazz in the early 1990s.


He was born in Worlington, near Mildenhall, Suffolk, England.

Thornalley began working as a recording engineer in 1978, at RAK Studios in St. John's Wood, London for producer Mickie Most. He also worked with producer Steve Lillywhite (the Psychedelic Furs and the Thompson Twins) and Alex Sadkin.[1]

Thornalley became the producer for The Cure on their fourth album, Pornography.[2] After Simon Gallup quit in 1982, he filled in as their bassist for their 1983 single The Love Cats and their first live album, Concert but eventually quit to keep on working as a songwriter and producer.[3]

In 1984, he was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for Into the Gap by the Thompson Twins.

Thornalley has worked as a mixer for Duran Duran, XTC, Sting, Ash and Cyndi Lauper.

In 1988 he released his only solo album (Swamp).[1] He then joined Johnny Hates Jazz, and was the frontman on their 2nd album, 1991's Tall Stories. In 2010, Thornalley referred to his time with the band as "a grand mistake, in the sense that I devoted three years to it, and it was deeply unsuccessful. But you learn from your mistakes."[1]

Since leaving Johnny Hates Jazz, Thornalley has worked primarily as songwriter and record producer for other artists. In 1991, he co-wrote "Torn" (with Scott Cutler and Anne Preven), which later appeared on Ednaswap's 1995 debut album.[1] Subsequently he was asked to produce some songs for Natalie Imbruglia, and "Torn" was rerecorded, as among five songs Thornalley co-wrote on Imbrulgia's 1997 debut album Left of the Middle, and became a worldwide hit single.[1]In 2012 the single was covered by One Direction on their live concert DVD 'Up All Night: The Live Tour'.

Other artists Thornalley has worked with include Wax, Bryan Adams, Melanie C,[4] Hepburn,[4] Ronan Keating, BBMak,[4] and Pixie Lott.[1][5]

Thornalley's primary influences are Todd Rundgren, The Beatles, Motown, Pink Floyd and the songwriting team Burt Bacharach, Hal David, Gerry Goffin and Carole King. Soul and R&B singer Reggie Sears has named Thornalley to be his favourite singer and credits Thornalley's 1988 release Swamp as the main driving force for wanting to be a singer and musician.[6][7]

In 2009, two songs co-written for Pixie Lott reached No. 1 on the UK charts.[8]

Work Highlights[edit]

Writer/ Producer (Singles)

Natalie Imbruglia: 'Torn' (#2 UK)

Natalie Imbruglia: 'Wishing I Was There' (#15 USA)

BBMak: 'Back Here' (#11 USA / No. 5 UK) (writer only)

Bryan Adams: 'Today's The Day' (#12 UK)

Ronan Keating: 'The Way You Make Me Feel' (#5 UK)

Pixie Lott: 'Boys And Girls' (#1 UK)

Pixie Lott: 'Mama Do' (#1 UK)

Pixie Lott: 'Cry Me Out' (#5 UK)

Pixie Lott: 'Kiss The Stars' (#9 UK)

Hepburn: 'I Quit' (#15 USA)

Shannon Noll: 'Drive' (#1 Australia)

Writer/ Producer (Albums)

Natalie Imbruglia: 'Left of the Middle' (#5 UK)

Bryan Adams: 'On A Day Like Today' – writer 'On A Day Like Today' & 'How Do You Feel Tonight'

Bryan Adams: 'Room Service' – writer 'Not Romeo Not Juliet'

Melanie C: 'Reason' – writer 'Do I'

Melanie C: 'Northern Star' – writer 'Gaga' & 'Be The One'

Producer (Singles)

The Cure: 'Japanese Whispers'

Prefab Sprout: 'When Love Breaks Down' (#25 UK)

The Cure: 'Love Cats' (#5 UK)

Holly Vallance: 'Naughty Girl' (#9 UK)

Robbie Nevil: 'C'est La Vie' (#2 USA)

Wax: 'Right Between The Eyes' (#1 Spain)

Producer (Albums)

The Cure: 'Pornography' (#8 UK)


Ash: 'Girl From Mars'

Psychedelic Furs: 'Pretty in Pink' (original version)

Sting: 'Spread A Little Happiness'

Duran Duran: 'Is There Something I Should Know?' (#1 USA/UK)

Thompson Twins: 'Hold Me Now'

Thompson Twins: 'Doctor,Doctor'

Thompson Twins: 'In The Name of Love'

Thompson Twins: 'Lies'

Cyndi Lauper: 'What's Going On'


Phil Thornalley: 'Swamp' (US only)

Johnny Hates Jazz: 'Tall Stories'


ASCAP 'Song of The Year' 1998 for 'Torn' (Natalie Imbruglia)

ASCAP 'Song of The Year' 2000 for 'Back Here' (BBMac)


Grammy Award 'Best Engineered Pop Album 1984' for The Thompson Twins 'Into The Gap'


  1. ^ a b c d e f Tingen, Paul (June 2010). "Phil Thornalley: Torn". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 6 July 2010. 
  2. ^ Rees, Dafydd & Crampton, Luke (ed.) Rock movers & shakers, Volume 1991, Part 2 (1991)(ISBN 978-0874366617)("...the band going into RAK studios to record with new producer Phil Thornalley")
  3. ^ "The Cure – Interview". Rockerilla (original in Italian). September 1983. Retrieved 6 July 2010. (noting that Thornalley is a current member of the Cure)
  4. ^ a b c "Production notes". Music Week. 17 July 1999. Retrieved 6 July 2010. 
  5. ^ Savage, Mark (5 June 2009). "Pop Pixie has a whole Lotta love". BBC News. Retrieved 6 July 2010. ("For the last three years, she has been collaborating with some of the biggest hitmakers in the industry, including Red One (Lady GaGa's Just Dance), Phil Thornalley (Natalie Imbruglia's Torn) and Toby Gad (Beyonce's If I Were A Boy).")
  6. ^ "Reggie Sears". Something for the Soul Radio Interview. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "Reggie Sears Biography". Artist Direct. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  8. ^ "QUICKFIRE: Twelve years in waiting: Lott hitmaker reaches top". Music Week. 27 June 2009. Retrieved 6 July 2010. 

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