Tom Bailey (musician)

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Tom Bailey
Bailey performing live on the Nocturnal Culture Night festival in 2023
Bailey performing live on the Nocturnal Culture Night festival in 2023
Background information
Birth nameThomas Alexander Bailey
Born (1954-01-18) 18 January 1954 (age 69)
Halifax, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
OriginChesterfield, Derbyshire, England
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • composer
  • record producer
  • Vocals
  • keyboards
  • synthesiser
  • piano
  • guitar
  • bass guitar
  • upright bass
  • harmonica
  • percussion
Years active1975–present
Formerly of

Thomas Alexander Bailey (born 18 January 1954) is an English singer, songwriter, musician, composer and record producer. Bailey came to prominence in the early 1980s as the lead vocalist for the new wave band Thompson Twins, which released five singles that entered the top ten charts in the United Kingdom during the 1980s: "Love On Your Side", "We Are Detective", "Hold Me Now", "Doctor! Doctor!", and "You Take Me Up". He was the only member of the band to have formal musical training. From 1994, Bailey was also a member of its later incarnation, Babble, releasing two commercially unsuccessful studio albums. He released his debut solo studio album Science Fiction in 2018.

He currently works in various musical fields including scoring for film. He records and performs dub music under the name International Observer and Indo-fusion music with the Holiwater Project. He also collaborated with astronomer and visual artist José Francisco Salgado as part of the audio-visual ensemble Bailey-Salgado Project (BSP).

Early life and education[edit]

Tom Bailey grew up in a family associated with the medical profession. His father was the Medical Officer of Health for Chesterfield Borough Council, and Bailey was educated at Chesterfield Grammar School. After training as a classical pianist, Bailey initially worked as a music teacher at Brook School, Sheffield. In his late teens and early twenties, he travelled the world.[citation needed]

Musical career[edit]

1977–1993: Thompson Twins[edit]

Bailey in San Bernardino, California, 1986

Bailey formed Thompson Twins in 1977 with Pete Dodd (guitar and vocals), John Roog (guitar), and Jon Podgorski (drums). Podgorski did not want to move to London, so Andrew Edge played drums with them for one year before Chris Bell joined.[1] The group eventually ended up as a trio with Bailey on lead vocals, guitar, bass, and keyboards, his then girlfriend Alannah Currie (percussion, saxophone, and backing vocals), and Joe Leeway (percussion and vocals).[1] Thompson Twins became fixtures on MTV during the 1980s as the videos for "Hold Me Now", "Lay Your Hands on Me" and "King for a Day" were played frequently.[1] Subsequent to the marriage of Bailey and Currie, Thompson Twins released their final studio album, Queer, in 1991.

1993–1996: Babble[edit]

In 1994, Bailey and Currie formed the electronica-orientated duo, Babble.[1]

2000s: International Observer[edit]

Between 2001 and 2015, Bailey released several dub and electronica albums under the name International Observer.

2010s: Tom Bailey solo[edit]

Bailey performed Thompson Twins songs live for the first time in 27 years on 17 August 2014 at Temple Island Meadows, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire for the Rewind Festival.[2]

Also in 2014, Bailey took part in the Retro Futura Tour in the US. He was billed under the moniker "Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey." The 2014 Retro Futura Tour also featured Howard Jones, Midge Ure, China Crisis, and Katrina Leskanich of Katrina and the Waves.[3] During an interview with the Stuck in the '80s podcast prior to the tour, Bailey said that while preparing for his return to the stage he went to a store and bought a Thompson Twins greatest-hits CD to help him learn the songs again.[4]

In 2016, Bailey released a new solo single titled "Come So Far", which included a music video.[5]

On 25 April 2017 the official Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey website announced that Bailey was recording his debut solo studio album and that he hoped to release the album in early 2018. The album, titled Science Fiction, was released in July 2018.[6] To promote the album, Bailey toured the United States and United Kingdom with the B-52's, Culture Club, and Belinda Carlisle as part of The Life Tour.[7][8]

2020s: Into the Gap Australian Tour[edit]

Bailey performing "Hold Me Now" at Northcote Theatre in 2022

In October 2022, Bailey performed the Thompson Twins' studio album Into the Gap in its entirety in Australia, (along with his band known as "The Sisters of Mercy"), having recently moved back to New Zealand full time from his home in London.

Musical collaborations[edit]

In 1983, Bailey played keyboards and percussion on Paul Haig's debut studio album Rhythm of Life.

In 1988 Bailey collaborated with Phil Thornalley, who worked frequently with Thompson Twins, on Thornalley's only solo studio album, Swamp. Aside from playing instruments, Bailey also produced three tracks, remixed three tracks along with Thornalley and co-wrote the track "When I Get to Heaven".[9][10]

In 1999 Bailey produced the New Zealand band Stellar, and in 1999 he won Record Producer of the Year in New Zealand for their debut studio album, Mix.[11]

In 2002 Bailey became the figurehead for the dub project International Observer. Recent performances with 'Holiwater', a cinematic fusion of Indian classical music (Sarod- Vikash Maharaj), electronica (keyboards – Bailey) and video (film maker – Andrei Jewell), blur boundaries between art installation and performance. The band was formed to highlight issues of water pollution on the Ganges.

In 2010 Bailey and astronomer and visual artist José Francisco Salgado formed an audiovisual ensemble called Bailey-Salgado Project (BSP). BSP combines music with photography, video, and motion graphics to create multimedia works that have as subject the physical world. Their first work together, a short film entitled Sidereal Motion, was previewed in Bath, England in October 2010.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Bailey was married to Thompson Twins member Alannah Currie from 1991 to 2003. They have two children. As of 2014, Bailey lives in France with his second wife, artist Lauren Drescher.[13] He has homes in New Zealand, France, and London.[14] Bailey has been vocal about his choice to be a vegan, and he does not drink or use recreational drugs.[14]



with Thompson Twins

with Babble


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Sutton, Michael (18 January 1956). "Tom Bailey — Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  2. ^ "Rewind Festival 2014 line-up revealed". Henley Standard. 3 November 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  3. ^ Retro Futura Tour 2014 (Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey, Howard Jones, Midge Ure, Katrina) at Mountain Winery, 2 September 2014, retrieved 30 May 2015
  4. ^ Stuck in the '80s interview (Tom Bailey talks to host Steve Spears), retrieved 30 May 2015
  5. ^ Badgley, Aaron. "SPILL FEATURE: COME SO FAR – A CONVERSATION WITH TOM BAILEY OF THE THOMPSON TWINS". The Spill Magazine. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  6. ^ Shapiro, Eileen (27 June 2018). "Tom Bailey: Science Fiction – album review". Louder Than War. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  7. ^ "The Life Tour: Starring Boy George & Culture Club and The B-52s with Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey Kicks Off This Summer". Broadway World. 20 March 2019. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  8. ^ Hafey, Lisa (11 April 2019). "'The Life Tour' – Boy George & Culture Club, Belinda Carlisle, And Tom Bailey From The Thompson Twins To Do 11 Date UK Arena Tour". Essentially Pop. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  9. ^ "Phil Thornalley — Swamp (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs". 1988. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  10. ^ "Swamp — Phil Thornalley : Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  11. ^ "Thompson Twins — The Bubble Burst — Where are they now?". The Bubble Burst. Archived from the original on 10 December 2007. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  12. ^ "INSAP VII speaker — José Francisco Salgado". Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  13. ^ Alper, Eric (10 August 2014). "Tom Bailey Of The Thompson Twins On Coming Back, MTV and His Favorite Song". Archived from the original on 31 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  14. ^ a b Stephens, Stephanie (17 July 2018). "Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey: Gives '100 Percent' to New Music, New Tour". Parade. Archived from the original on 19 July 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2018.

External links[edit]