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Origin Madison, Wisconsin
Genres Post-punk, new wave
Years active 1984–1995
Labels I.R.S.

Timbuk3 was an American post-punk band which released six original studio albums between 1986 and 1995.[1] They are most well known for their Top 20 single "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades". The band's music has been featured on more than 20 compilation and soundtrack albums. In 1989, the band appeared on the PBS music program Austin City Limits during Season 14.

Their name is a reference to the Malian city of Timbuktu.


Timbuk3 was formed in 1984 in Madison, Wisconsin, by the husband and wife team of Pat MacDonald (acoustic, electric, bass and MIDI guitars, harmonica, vocals, drum programming) and Barbara K. MacDonald (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin, violin, rhythm programming, vocals).[2]

Timbuk3 was signed by I.R.S. Records after appearing on an episode of MTV's The Cutting Edge in 1986. Soon after, they released their first album, Greetings from Timbuk3, which included their only single to chart, "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades". That song has had numerous film and television appearances over the years since its release, and been included in numerous compilation CDs. Also from the same album, the song "Shame On You" was played during the opening scene of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, released in 1986. The band was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1987. They appeared onscreen as the house band in a bar in the 1988 film, D.O.A., and appeared on the PBS music program Austin City Limits in 1989 during Season 14.

After their successful debut, Timbuk3 receded from the spotlight but went on to record five more critically acclaimed albums.[citation needed] They were joined in 1991 by Wally Ingram and Courtney Audain.[3]

The group broke up in 1995, with the ex-members going on to record other music independently. Pat MacDonald moved to Barcelona and recorded several albums for Ulftone, a German indie label (Sleeps with His Guitar, Begging Her Graces, Degrees of Gone, In the Red Room (a live album) and Strange Love: PM Does DM, a collection of Depeche Mode covers). Of those, only Sleeps with His Guitar was released in the US. His 2007 effort, Troubadour of Stomp on the Broken Halo label, was his first US release since 1997.

Barbara K. MacDonald has released two albums: Ready, and Undercover which is a set of acoustic covers of Timbuk3 songs. She is currently[when?] working as part of Sparrow's Wheel, an Austin label for independent music, and a new group, Ghosts and Sparrows.

As of mid-2012, the first six Timbuk3 albums were not available on physical media in the United States, although all but the last were available from download services. A live CD, Espace Ornano, can be purchased from the band's official website.


Studio albums[edit]

Year Title US
1986 Greetings from Timbuk3 50 86 51
1988 Eden Alley 107 - -
1989 Edge of Allegiance - - -
1991 Big Shot in the Dark - - -
1993 Looks Like Dark to Me EP - - -
1995 A Hundred Lovers - - -

Other albums[edit]

  • Some of the Best of Timbuk3: Field Guide (1992) (greatest hits compilation)
  • Espace Ornano (1993) (live album)
  • Live from Austin City Limits (2011) (live album)


Year Title US

1986 "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades" 19 14 18 11 29 21
1987 "Life Is Hard" - 35 - - - -
1987 "All I Want for Christmas (Is World Peace)" - - - - - -
1988 "Rev. Jack & His Roamin' Cadillac Church" - 34 - - - -
1989 "National Holiday" - - - - - -
1995 "Just Wanna Funk with Your Mind" - - 99 - - -

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bush, John. Biography of Timbuk 3 at AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
  2. ^ "Timbuk3 IMDB Biography". "IMDB". 
  3. ^ Jon Young and Scott Schinder. "Timbuk3 (profile)". Trouser Press. 
  4. ^ "Billboard > Artists / Timbuk 3 > Chart History > Billboard 200". Bilboard. Retrieved 2017-01-25. 
  5. ^ a b Australian chart peaks:
  6. ^ a b "Official Charts > Timbuk 3". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 2017-01-25. 
  7. ^ "Billboard > Artists / Timbuk 3 > Chart History > The Hot 100". Bilboard. Retrieved 2017-01-25. 
  8. ^ "Billboard > Artists / Timbuk 3 > Chart History > Mainstream Rock Songs". Bilboard. Retrieved 2017-01-25. 
  9. ^ "The Irish Charts – All there is to know > Search results for 'Timbuk 3'". Fireball Media. Retrieved 2017-01-25. 
  10. ^ "charts.org.nz > Timbuk 3 in New Zealand Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2017-01-25. 
  11. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 560. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]