- THOMPSON TWINS Lay Your Hands On Me (Arista)
- Week Ending 8th December 1984
- 3 Weeks At #1
You start the year with the biggest hit of your career so far, before releasing arguably the finest pop album of 1984.
A singles run of Hold Me Now, Doctor! Doctor!, You Take Me Up and Sister Of Mercy is just about as good as it gets. Christmas is approaching*, and the record label are anxious for another blockbuster hit to keep the momentum going.
That’s the thing with imperial phases. Everything works out. If Lay Your Hands On Me was merely an attempt to return to the formula of Hold Me Now and sit back while the royalty checks poured in once again, the resulting record was so much more than a calculating career move. At this juncture, Tom Bailey seemed to have the ability to conjure pop magic with almost effortless ease, and Lay Your Hands On Me is the very best of what made Into The Gap so sublime, only with added luxuriousness.
It had more atmosphere, as well as greater sonic subtlety and nuance in the production (surely the late Alex Sadkin’s finest moment). The Twins were on a roll, bringing class and feeling to the traditional pop tune format and everything just sounded so right. It was impossible to imagine how much better they could get at this lark. Just how brilliant was the next album going to be?
Unfortunately, the swooning, almost glacial deluxe-pop of Lay Your Hands On Me (and its attendant imagery) would prove to be both the pinnacle and the final act of their reign as flawless UK chart champs. For some unfathomable reason, the focused craftmanship that bore Into The Gap was jettisoned on the ill-fated Here’s To Future Days album, which eventually emerged in late 1985 after Tom’s collapse from a crazy workload and the pressures of writing, recording and promoting a continual stream of product took its toll.
As 1984 drew to a close however, Lay Your Hands On Me in all its lush perfection was comfortably my #1 single, and had been ever since it debuted in pole position at the beginning of December (only the second track to achieve such a feat, following Two Tribes). Into The Gap itself also returned to the summit on my Top 30 Album chart at the same time, partly due to the release of this new single but also the arrival of Into The Gap Live, a longform concert/tour video that captured the band at their peak.
Howard Jones had dominated much of 1984 for me, thanks to Human’s Lib and even more #1s than the Twins had chalked up (four compared to three), yet the year ultimately belonged to Tom, Alannah and Joe with Lay Your Hands On Me swinging it in their favour.
*no, you might not be the only one mentally singing “…there’s snow upon the ground, it’s good of you to visit me, I’m glad you came around…“
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