Tom Tom Club is an American new wave band founded in 1980 by spouses and Talking Heads alumni Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz.
Originally established as a side project, the Tom Tom Club comprise a loose aggregate of musicians, sound engineers and artists of the Compass Point All Stars family, including Tina Weymouth's sisters and guitarist Adrian Belew, the latter of whom toured with Weymouth and Frantz in the expanded version of Talking Heads in 1980 and 1981. They enjoyed early success in the dance club culture of the early 1980s with the hits "Genius of Love" and "Wordy Rappinghood," taken from their self-titled first album released on Sire Records in the US and Island Records elsewhere in 1981.
"Genius of Love" has been sampled or reinterpreted by many artists, including emcee Redman, Funkdoobiest, and Mariah Carey in her hit single "Fantasy." "It's Nasty" (1982) by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five was one of the early hip-hop versions of the song. However, the sample was re-recorded by a live band, as was common practice at the time. Another version, "Genius Rap" (1981), by Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde, was the first cover version.
Tom Tom Club are featured in the Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense, where they perform "Genius of Love". This was done during the concerts to allow frontman David Byrne time to change into his famous "Big Suit", and make a grand re-entrance; their number was featured in the finished film for more or less the same reason, much to the dismay of Tina Weymouth.
- Tom Tom Club (1981)
- Close to the Bone (1983)
- Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom (1988)note
- Dark Sneak Love Action (1991)
- The Good, The Bad, and the Funky (2000)
- Downtown Rockers (2012)
- Live @ the Clubhouse (2002)note
- Animated Music Video: Genius of Love; Frank Zappa, a longtime critic of music videos, notably admired this one and considered it his favorite for being "unique and clever."
- The '80s: The band formed and achieved their biggest success during this decade.
- Female Rockers Play Bass: Bassist Tina Weymouth was the only female member, as was the case in Talking Heads.
- Lead Bassist: Tina Weymouth fronts the band.
- Lead Drummer: Chris Frantz acts as the master of ceremonies in live shows and "toasts" during songs, reggae-style (most notably depicted in Stop Making Sense).
- Military Brat: "Booming and Zooming" refers to both Frantz and Weymouth's backgrounds as these.
- Noodle Incident: How did the narrator of "Genius of Love" end up in jail?
- Popcultural Osmosis: "Genius of Love", one of the most sampled rhythm tracks of all time, particularly within the rap/R&B/hip-hop genre, with dozens of unsolicited remixes and versions.
- Revolving Door Band: Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth are the only constant members.
- Rhythm Typewriter: "Wordy Rappinghood" starts with one.
- Shout-Out: "Genius of Love" mentions a number of black musicians, specifically George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Smokey Robinson, Bob Marley, Jamaican rhythm section/production team Sly and Robbie, disco pioneer Hamilton Bohannon, Kurtis Blow, and James Brown.
- Solo Side Project: What the band was initially to Frantz and Weymouth. They started performing full time as the Tom Tom Club after Talking Heads' breakup in 1991.
- Special Guest: The band's debut album features avant-garde guitarist and prior Talking Heads collaborator Adrian Belew on guitar, even co-writing some of the songs. Unfortunately, most of his solos were wiped because the engineer disliked them, and according to Belew, Frantz & Weymouth ghosted him when he asked for writing credits. Belew would put the incident behind him and go on to lead the revived King Crimson right after the recording sessions wrapped up.
- Spoken Word in Music: Chris Frantz's spoken account of the band's beginnings in "Atsababy (Life Is Good)".
- Start My Own: Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth started the band because they were tired of David Byrne's stranglehold on Talking Heads.