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Genius Of Love

by

Tom Tom Club



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Tom Tom Club is the side project of Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, the drummer and bass player of the Talking Heads. They married in 1977 and released the first Tom Tom Club album in 1981. The group was a family affair: Tina's sisters Laura and Lani were backup singers, and their brother Loric wrote a song called "Booming And Zooming" for them. When "Genius Of Love" became a hit, they served as the opening act for Talking Heads at some shows (double duty for Frantz and Weymouth), and did an extended version of the song to close their sets.
The nimble beat on this song has been appropriated by many other artists, most successfully by Mariah Carey, who used it on her 1995 #1 hit "Fantasy." It was also sampled by Grandmaster Flash on "It's Nasty/Genius Of Love," and by Ziggy Marley on a remix of "Tomorrow People." Money from earned from the sampling royalties financed future albums from the group.
Free from the cerebral lyrical stylings of David Byrne with their group Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club created songs that focused on the grooves. They make this clear in the line, "Who needs to think when your feet just go?"

In lieu of poetic missives, the lyrics are mostly a mention of various artists that influenced Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, including Smokey Robinson, Bob Marley, Kurtis Blow, Bootsy Collins, and James Brown.
"Genius Of Love" was a bigger hit than anything the Talking Heads had done to that point. Chris Frantz thinks this may have extended the life of the Talking Heads by convincing David Byrne to keep the group together.
Tom Tom Club released an updated version of this song in 1999 called "Who Feelin' It," which mentions a new list of influences.
This song was written by group leaders Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth along with Steven Stanley and Adrian Belew. Both Stanley and Belew had worked with Talking Heads and were enlisted for the Tom Tom Club album. Stanley was the engineer and co-producer, and Belew played guitar.
Drawing on Disco, Rock and the Hip-Hop sounds then emerging from the South Bronx, this song set the template not just for the group's 1981 self-titled debut, but also for much of the music they've made since. Tina Weymouth looked back at the song in a 2010 interview with Spinner UK: "It just has a texture that sounds like magic," she recalled. "It was kind of a different edge. Everything else was about 120 bpm at the time for dance music, and we wanted to slow it down to give it more internal swing, and not have any four on the floor -- maybe give it kind of an island feel as well. I can't remember if it was 112 bpm or something. Maybe it was around 108, but it was really slow for us, because we were used to playing these nervous paces and breakneck speed and stuff, so it was a delightful challenge."
As seen in the concert documentary Stop Making Sense, Talking Heads performed this song on their 1983 tour (switching into Tom Tom Club mode). With Tina Weymouth taking over on lead vocals, David Byrne would leave the stage to change into his famous giant suit.
This was used in a 2002 commercial for Kia cars. It features young women driving the cars with men who are not exactly "geniuses."
Tom Tom Club
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Comments (12):

Funny to read someone else's transliteration of the "language" after "we went insane when we took cocaine. I wrote it down when I was first learning the song and this is what I came up with:

iscup handra huta hishki
icup handra huta hi
icup hanti husic handra huta hila
kosaba handro uish kindro aya

Interesting how two people can hear the same thing and have it come out so different!
- Pera, Way Out There, CA
Rick, definitely not Scandanavian (I'm of Norwegian descent). Vaguely Gaelic, but to me it sounds more Indonesian. I wrote out the lines phonetically the best I could:

iko pa handra hoo kuh-haish kay
iko pa handra hoo kuh hay
iko pantsee hootsee kandra roo hoota ra hindra
ko saba handa ruish
kendro wya

I'm surprised no one has tried to translate it. I've seen next to nothing on the 'net.
- Greg, glendale, AZ
I've always been intrigued by the foreign language in which Weymouth says a sentence or two in the song. Does anyone knwo what language that is? My guesses would be Welsh, Gaelic, or perhaps a Scandinavian language.
- Rick, Modesto, CA
The Tom Tom Club rock! Mind you, they were the "little sister" band of the great Talking Heads, so no surprises there. Just shows that David Byrne wasn't the only talent in the 'Heads!
- Dave, Cardiff, Wales
"Stepping to the rhythm of a Kurtis Blow, who needs to think when your feet just go? With a hippity hop, and a hippity ho, who needs to think when your feet just go? Bohannan, Bohannan, Bohannan, Bohannan, who needs to think when your feet just go?"... Loved this song, remember it coming out when I was little even though it didn't do very well in the UK. 2-Pac and Mark Morrisson sampled it commercially as well as Mariah Carey, Ziggy Marley and Grandmaster Flash, although the list of cases where this song has been used as a rhythm sample is massive! The Tom Tom Club did have two bigger UK hits though, with "Wordy Rappinghood" (UK #7 in May 1981) and a cover version of The Drifters' "Under The Boardwalk" (UK #22 in August 1982), and they still enjoy a large cult following in Europe. A corrupted version of "Genius of Love" was also used in a long-running advertising campaign by the Bird's desserts company in the UK for most of the 1980s
- Dave, Cardiff, Wales
Saw the video of the UK music TV station "VH1 Classic" last Saturday (09 Aug 2008), very weird indeed! An animated sequence based on the cartoon-ish picture (of sorts) that formed the front cover of the Tom Tom Club's first album - 20 years before the Gorillaz were creditted with inventing that concept. Even though it did not do very well in the UK Chart, stalling at #65 in 1981, it got a lot of radio airplay and was a massive club hit in the UK, and remains a cult favourite of sorts. Very catchy tune indeed!
- Dave, Cardiff, Wales
That's right! People do need to start coming up with their own tunes!!
- mayra, santa ana, CA
The video for this song is indeed very strange...
- Lydia, Tulsa, OK
"Mentions various artists that influenced Frantz and Weymouth, including Smokey Robinson, Bob Marley, Kurtis Blow, Bootsy Collins, and James Brown." Let's not forget Bohannon, Bohannon, Bohannon, Bohannon - who didn't have much of a career. This song had a very weird video, as I recall.
- Wes, Springfield, VA
This song makes me giggle
- kika, nyc, NY
Sampled? You mean completely and totally taken. At least she asked permission and paid for using it. I just wish people would come up with their own tunes.
- Tim, prescott, AZ
Isn't this the song that Mariah Carey sampled for her 90's tune "Fantasy" ?
- Jo, Newcastle, Australia
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