Tom Bailey (born Thomas Alexander Bailey 18 January 1954, Halifax, West Yorkshire, England) is a British musician and composer who led the New Wave band Thompson Twins, and its later incarnation Babble, from 1977 until 1996. He currently works in various musical fields including scoring for film. He records and performs dub music under the name International Observer and Indo-fusion music with the Holiwater Project. His latest collaboration is the Bailey-Salgado Project (BSP), an audiovisual ensemble formed with José Francisco Salgado.
He grew up in a family associated with the medical profession, was educated at Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School and despite training as a classical pianist, initially worked as a music teacher at Brook School, Sheffield. In his late teens and early twenties he travelled the world. He was shot at in the Khyber Pass and nearly died from illness in India.
Bailey formed the Thompson Twins in 1977 with Pete Dodd (guitar/voc), John Roog (guitar), and Jon Podgorski (drums). Podgorski did not want to move to London, so Andrew Edge played drums with them for one year before Chris Bell joined. The group eventually ended up as a trio with Bailey on vocals, guitar, bass, and keyboards, his then girlfriend Alannah Currie (percussion, saxophone, and vocals), and Joe Leeway (percussion and vocals). The Thompson Twins became fixtures on MTV during the 1980s as the videos for "Hold Me Now", "Lay Your Hands on Me" and "King for a Day" were played in heavy rotation. Subsequent to the marriage of Bailey and Currie, Thompson Twins released their final album, Queer, in 1991. In 1994, Bailey and Currie formed the techno-oriented duo, Babble.
In 1988, Bailey worked with Phil Thornalley, who worked frequently with the Thompson Twins, on Thornalley's only solo album Swamp. Aside from playing numerous instruments, Bailey also produced three tracks, remixed three tracks along with Thornalley and co-wrote the track "When I Get to Heaven".
Bailey produced the New Zealand band Stellar*, where in 1999 he won Record Producer of the Year for their debut album, Mix. Bailey is also the figurehead for the dub project, International Observer. Recent performances with 'Holiwater', a cinematic fusion of Indian classical music (Sarod- Vikash Maharaj), electronica (keyboards - Bailey) and video (film maker - Andrei Jewell), blur boundaries between art installation and performance. The band was formed in 2002 to highlight issues of water pollution on the Ganges.
In 2010, Bailey and astronomer and visual artist José Francisco Salgado formed an audiovisual ensemble called Bailey-Salgado Project (BSP). BSP combines music with photography, video, and motion graphics to create multimedia works that have as subject the physical world. Their first work together, a short film entitled Sidereal Motion, was previewed in Bath, England in October 2010.
Bailey now resides in London with his second wife, artist Lauren Drescher, and two stepchildren.
In 2014, Bailey will embark on a tour of the UK and USA under the name "Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey". The tour will also feature Howard Jones and others.