On this day in music history: June 23, 1981 - “Tom Tom Club”, the debut album by Tom Tom Club is released in the UK (US release is in November 1981). Produced by Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, and Steven Stanley, it is recorded at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas from November 1980 - April 1981. The album is a side project by Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz and bassist/wife Tina Weymouth, following the recording of Talking Heads’ “Remain In Light” album. When the band decide not to tour in support of the album, keyboardist/guitarist Jerry Harrison records and releases his own solo album “ The Red and the Black”, while lead vocalist David Byrne completes “My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts” with collaborator Brian Eno. The group take their name from a dancehall in the Bahamas that they visited during their previous visit to the islands. Expanding on the Funk and African rhythms used on “Remain in Light”, Frantz and Weymouth are also influenced by the underground Hip Hop culture in New York incorporating it into their project. “Tom Tom Club” also features King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew and Weymouth’s sisters and brother on backing vocals. Frantz and Weymouth’s US label Sire Records initially passes on releasing the album. Taken aback at the decidedly pronounced R&B/dance vibe of the record, they are unsure how to market it, feeling that it will alienate Talking Heads largely white fan base. The album is initially released in the UK through Island Records. Club DJ’s in the US discover the second single “Genius Of Love” (released in September of 1981), quickly making it a sensation on the dance floor and generating a huge demand it. It’s only after the single sells over 100,000 copies as an import, that Sire schedules it for release later in the year. It spins off two singles including “Wordy Rappinghood” (#1 Club Play, #7 UK) and “Genius Of Love” (#2 R&B, #1 Club Play, #31 Pop). The albums innovative and distinctive cover art as well as the animated music videos for both singles are designed by famed pop artist James Rizzi (directed by Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton, and animated by Cucumber Studios in London). “Genius” only grows in popularity over the years as it is repeatedly sampled and interpolated into other songs, including forming the basis of Mariah Carey’s chart topping single “Fantasy” in 1995. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2009 as a two CD deluxe edition (UK & Europe only). It is also remastered and reissued as a limited edition 180 gram vinyl LP on pink swirl (Newbury Comics exclusive) and translucent green vinyl, by Real Gone Music in 2016. “Tom Tom Club” peaks at number twenty three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.