The The (Matt Johnson) | Best of 83-02

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27 – The The – Pillar Box Red – 2002
25 – The The – I Saw the Light – 1995
24 – The The – That Was the Day – 1994
23 – The The – Love Is Stronger Than Death – 1993
22 – The The – Slow Emotion Replay – 1993
21 – The The – Dogs of Lust – 1993
18 – The The feat. Sinéad O’Connor – Kingdom of Rain – 1989
16 – The The – Gravitate to Me – 1989
15 – The The – The Beat(en) Generation – 1989
13 – The The & Neneh Cherry – Slow Train to Dawn – 1987
12 – The The – Twilight of a Champion – 1986
11 – The The – Out of the Blue (Into the Fire) – 1986
10 – The The – Infected – 1986
9 – The The – Heartland – 1986
7 – The The – I’ve Been Waitin’ for Tomorrow (All Of My Life) – 1983
6 – The The – This Is the Day – 1983
5 – The The – Uncertain Smile [Live] (1983) – 1983


The The | #thethe
(Matt Johnson, David Palmer, Johnny Marr, James Eller, D.C. Collard, Jim Fitting, Keith Joyner, Jared Michael Nickerson, Eric Schermerhorn, Brian MacLeod, Spencer Campbell, Earl Harvin)
[1979-…], London, Greater London, United Kingdom


The The are an English musical and multimedia group that have been active in various forms since 1979, with singer/songwriter Matt Johnson being the only constant band member.

In 1983, The The released their official debut album, the synth-noir classic Soul Mining. It featured the UK No. 71 hit ” This Is the Day “, as well as a new recording of The The performing ” Uncertain Smile “.

For the 1986 album Infected, The The still consisted only of Johnson, but was augmented by session musicians and featured friends such as Manyika and Rip Rig + Panic singer Neneh Cherry. This album spawned four charting singles in the UK, notably ” Heartland “, which made the UK Top 30. It was also unusual for having a full-length accompanying film. Costing hundreds of thousands of pounds, Infected: The Movie was shot on locations in Bolivia, Peru and New York. Different songs were directed by different directors, mainly Tim Pope and Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson (of Throbbing Gristle). Throughout 1986-1987 Johnson toured the world extensively with Infected: The Movie, showing the film in cinemas in place of performing live concerts. The film was also shown twice in its entirety on Channel 4 in the UK and on MTV’s 120 Minutes in the US.

In 1987 Johnson also took some tentative steps back into live performance. Whilst promoting Infected: The Movie in Australia he had a chance encounter with Billy Bragg who persuaded him to return to Britain and support Red Wedge, a coalition of like-minded musicians supporting the British Labour Party in its election campaign. Johnson agreed and enrolled longtime friend and collaborator Manyika to join him in performing shows in London featuring stripped down versions of political The The songs such as ” Heartland “. This experience convinced Johnson to put a band together once again.

By 1988, The The was an actual band again, Johnson having recruited ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, ex-Nick Lowe bassist James Eller and ex-ABC drummer David Palmer as fully-fledged members. This line-up, plus guest singer Sinéad O’Connor, recorded the album Mind Bomb, which debuted at No. 4 in the UK Albums Chart and featured the band’s highest charting single to that time, ” The Beat(en) Generation “, which peaked at No. 18 in the UK Singles Chart. The first single from Mind Bomb was actually scheduled to be “Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)” but with its chorus of “Islam is rising, the Christians mobilising” and sensitivities over the Salman Rushdie affair that had recently erupted, this song was deemed unsuitable for release by Epic/CBS.

The band embarked on a lengthy world tour in 1989–90 called The The Versus The World. The live film of the same name, directed by Tim Pope, was recorded during the three nights at the end of the tour on the 10, 11 and 12 July 1990 at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

In 1993, the five-piece line-up (Johnson/Marr/Collard/Eller/Palmer) issued the album Dusk, which debuted at No. 2 in the UK and spun off three Top 40 singles in the UK, led by ” Dogs of Lust “. Another world tour followed, the Lonely Planet tour, at which point the band’s line-up was reshuffled; Marr and Eller left, and were replaced by Atlanta-based guitarist Keith Joyner and New York bassist Jared Michael Nickerson, respectively after Johnson relocated the band to America. Also added was Boston harmonica player Jim Fitting (formerly of Treat Her Right), who auditioned in New York in early 1993. The version of their hit ” This Is the Day ” featuring Jim Fitting was often dubbed ” That Was The Day “. Palmer bowed out partway through the tour and was replaced by ex Stabbing Westward drummer Andy Kubiszewski. The band headlined the main stage at the 1993 Reading Festival.

Another full-length film, directed by longtime collaborator Tim Pope, was made for this album. From Dusk Til Dawn was shot in New Orleans and New York and along with Johnson and Johnny Marr also featured various characters from the New York underground scene such as sexologist Annie Sprinkle, writer and raconteur Quentin Crisp, Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, and porn star Rick Savage amongst many other carnival characters.

Now permanently relocated to New York, The The’s next project was 1995’s Hanky Panky, an album that consisted entirely of Hank Williams cover tunes. Hanky Panky was recorded by a new group consisting of Johnson, Collard, Fitting, ex Iggy Pop guitarist Eric Schermerhorn, ex David Bowie bass guitarist Gail Ann Dorsey (billed as “Hollywood” Dorsey), and drummer the “Reverend” Brian MacLeod. Their cover version of ” I Saw the Light ” hit No. 31 UK.

In 1997 an experimental album called Gun Sluts was recorded but left unreleased by the band after it was rejected for being too uncommercial by their label. The The severed their eighteen-year relationship with Sony and moved to Interscope, on Trent Reznor’s Nothing Records imprint.

In 2000, The The, now consisting of Johnson, Schermerhorn, Nashville bassist Spencer Campbell and New Jersey drummer Earl Harvin, released NakedSelf and embarked on yet another lengthy world tour, the Naked Tour, this one lasting 14 months. Not counting soundtrack albums, NakedSelf remains The The’s final released studio album to date.

This same line-up also recorded two new tracks, “Deep Down Truth”, featuring Angela McCluskey on vocals and “Pillar Box Red”. Both songs were produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley for the 2002 compilation album 45 RPM: The Singles of The The.

In June 2002 The The made a sole live appearance at the Meltdown Festival at London’s Royal Festival Hall as guests of David Bowie. At this point, the band consisted solely of Johnson and longtime friend and collaborator J. G. Thirlwell aka Foetus on tapes and loops, and young film director Benn Northover on film and video.

This is the last live performance by The The to date; Johnson has stated on the official the The web site in the FAQ section that “There are no plans for one-off shows or tours in the near future but there will undoubtedly be another The The tour at some point.”

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