Genius of Love

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"Genius of Love"
Genius of Love.jpg
Single by Tom Tom Club
from the album Tom Tom Club
ReleasedSeptember 6, 1981
Format7" single
  • Chris Frantz
  • Steven Stanley
  • Tina Weymouth
Tom Tom Club singles chronology
"Wordy Rappinghood"
"Genius of Love"
"Under the Boardwalk"

"Genius of Love" is a 1981 hit song by Tom Tom Club from their 1981 eponymous debut album.


"Genius of Love" was Tom Tom Club's second single. Although the album had not been released in North America, over 100,000 copies of the single sold as imports from Island Records's UK, at which point Sire Records made a deal to release the single and the album in North America in late 1981.

The lyrics pay tribute to many notable black musicians and singers, including George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Smokey Robinson, Bob Marley, Sly and Robbie, Kurtis Blow, Hamilton Bohannon, and James Brown.[2][3]

Tom Tom Club appeared in the 1984 Talking Heads concert movie Stop Making Sense performing "Genius of Love", although this incarnation of the group did not include Tina Weymouth's sisters Laura and Lani.

The B-side of the "Genius of Love (Long Version)" 12" vinyl has a lesser-known underground hit called "Yella". On some pressings, the song is sometimes credited to Mr. Yellow and, on others, it is credited to Yella.

Chart performance[edit]

"Genius of Love" became a commercial success that performed better than Talking Heads' previous singles. Chris Frantz credited the song for convincing David Byrne to continue with Talking Heads.[4] On its release in November 1981, "Genius of Love" became a huge hit in the clubs and on the R&B and dance charts worldwide, soon earning the Tom Tom Club LP a Gold Sales Award in 1982. In the U.S. the song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Disco Top 80 chart along with "Wordy Rappinghood," and also reached No. 2 on the Hot Soul Singles chart. It later went on to peak at No. 31 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1982,[5] becoming the Tom Tom Club's only entry on the Hot 100.

"Genius of Love" reached No. 65 in the UK Singles Chart, while both of the other two singles released from the Tom Tom Club LP achieved Top 30 placings in the UK. A song based on the keyboards-and-bass rhythm in "Genius of Love" was later used in a long-running TV advertising campaign in the UK by the Bird's desserts company between 1985 and 1992, the commercials featuring a spin on the psychedelic animation of the Tom Tom Club video using rudimentary CGI. In 2002, it was also used in a popular TV commercial for Kia Motors.

The single also became a club success all around Europe, and peaked at number 28 in New Zealand, the first of three Top 40 hits for the band there.


The song is one of the most sampled rhythm tracks of the 1980s,[6] particularly within the hip hop and R&B genre. Notable versions include Dr. Jeckyl & Mr. Hyde's "Genius Rap" in 1981; Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's "It's Nasty" in 1982; Mariah Carey's "Fantasy" in 1995, and The X-Ecutioners' "Genius of Love 2002" in 2002.

Other artists have incorporated "Genius of Love" into their works, including Public Enemy's "Leave This Off Your Fu*kin Charts", Redman's "Brick City Mashin'", Cam'ron's "Me, My Moms & Jimmy", 2nd II None's "Niggaz Trippin'", Fresh Kid Ice's "Roll Call", 2Pac's "High Speed", Seagram's "I Don't Give a Fuck", Busta Rhymes' "One", Ant Banks' "Roll 'Em Phat", P.M. Dawn's "Gotta Be... Movin' On Up", Menajahtwa's "I Ain't Nasti", 50 Cent's "When I Get Out", Erick Sermon's "Genius E Dub", Mac Dre's "Chop that Ho", Dream Warriors' "And Now the Legacy Begins", T.I.'s "Down Like That", Mark Morrison's "Return of the Mack", Ice Cube's "Bop Gun (One Nation)", Warren G's "What's Love Got to Do with It", the D-Influence Real Live Mix of Billie's "Girlfriend" and Paramore's "Rose-Colored Boy", during their shows at the After Laughter Tour.

The song's musical bridge, which contains a repeated chant of "Bohannon", was one of several theme songs used for many years by a syndicated U.S. talk radio program hosted by Jim Bohannon. However, the chant was a reference to record producer and disco pioneer Hamilton Bohannon.

In other media[edit]

The song has appeared in the films Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013), Tower Heist and Shame (2011), Lars and the Real Girl (2007), The Family (2013), and Tschick (2016). It appears in the season 19 premiere of South Park named "Stunning and Brave" (2015). It also appears in the 10th episode of season 9 and the 10th episode of season 12 of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. In May 2016, a version of the song by Tinashe was used in a television advertising campaign for Target Corporation.


Music video[edit]

Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel produced the animated music video based on the pop art work of James Rizzi, featured on the Tom Tom Club album cover. Frank Zappa, in an interview with MTV, mentioned that the music video was his favorite at the time, due to it being "animated and clever." [7]


  • "Genius of Love" / "Lorelei" (Instrumental) UK, 1981 (7"/12")[8]
  • "Genius of Love" / "Lorelei" (Instrumental) Netherlands, 1981 (7"/12")[8]
  • "Genius of Love" / "Lorelei" (Instrumental) Germany, 1981 (7")[8]
  • "Genius of Love" / "Lorelei" (Instrumental) United States, 1981 (7"/12")[8]


Chart (1982) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[9] 26
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[10] 28
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[11] 65
US Billboard Hot 100[12] 31
US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[13] 1
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[13] 2

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Flick, Larry (26 August 1995). "Mariah And Janet Tear Up The Dancefloor". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. 107 (34): 26. ISSN 0006-2510. The surprising twist is the use of instantly recognizable keyboard samples from the Tom Tom Club's post-disco classic "Genius Of Love."
  2. ^ Bowman, David (2001). This Must Be the Place: The Adventures of Talking Heads in the 20th Century. New York: HarperCollins. pp. 215–216. ISBN 978-0-380-97846-5.
  3. ^ "Tom Tom Club – "Genius of Love" Lyrics". Genius. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  4. ^ Plagenhoef, Scott; Schreiber, Ryan, eds. (November 2008). The Pitchfork 500. Simon & Schuster. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-4165-6202-3.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  6. ^ Vincent, Rickey (2004). "Hip-Hop and Black Noise: Raising Hell". In Forman, Murray; Neal, Mark Anthony. That's the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader. New York: Routledge. p. 559. ISBN 0-203-64219-8.
  7. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-10-31.
  8. ^ a b c d Discografia - Sítio Oficial Archived 2007-03-07 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ " – Tom Tom Club – Genius of Love" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  10. ^ " – Tom Tom Club – Genius of Love". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  11. ^ "Tom Tom Club". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  12. ^ "Tom Tom Club Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Tom Tom Club Awards". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved May 21, 2013.

External links[edit]