T’Pau /təˈpaʊ/ is a British pop group led by singer Carol Decker. They had a string of Top 40 hits in the UK in the late 1980s, most notably “China in Your Hand“, “Heart and Soul” and “Valentine“, and several hits in Europe, before disbanding in the early 1990s. Decker still performs under the name T’Pau at solo shows and 1980s nostalgia concerts, and in 2013 she reunited with original bandmember and co-songwriter Ronnie Rogers for a 25th anniversary UK tour.
The band formed in 1986 in Shropshire, taking their name from a Vulcan elder of the same name in the sci-fi series Star Trek. Prior to deciding on this name, they were called Talking America on early demos sent to record and publishing companies.
Their first hit was the 1987 release “Heart and Soul“. Initially a flop in the UK, it first became a hit in the US Billboard Hot 100chart, reaching No. 4 after being featured on a Pepe Jeans advertisement; it repeated the feat in the UK Singles Chart some months later. Their next single, “China in Your Hand“, was their biggest UK hit, spending five weeks at number 1. It also reached the top spot in several other European countries, but made little impact in the United States. Their debut album, Bridge of Spies (simply called T’Pau in the USA), also reached number 1 and went quadruple platinum in the UK. The album produced a total of five hit singles including “Valentine“, “Sex Talk” (a live recording of early flop single, “Intimate Strangers”), and “I Will Be with You“.
1988 saw the release of their second album Rage, which peaked at No. 4 in the UK and reached platinum status there, but failed to come close to the level of success of the band’s debut album the year before. It produced the UK Top 20 single “Secret Garden“, though chart returns were diminishing by this point, and two following singles earned very modest success. Third album The Promise followed in 1991: it peaked at No. 10 in the UK, earning a silver disc. It included one Top 20 hit, “Whenever You Need Me“, but the band’s commercial peak had now passed and they split up following its release. A compilation album, Heart and Soul – The Very Best of T’Pau, was released in 1993 and reached the UK Top 40.
Another greatest hits release appeared in 1997, and Decker reformed the band with a new line-up in 1998, for the release of a new studio album, Red. The record was not a commercial success, but T’Pau have continued to perform live on a semi-regular basis. Two singles “With a Little Luck” and “Giving Up the Ghost” were released from the album. Decker still made guest appearances on TV shows throughout the 2000s, including Hit Me, Baby, One More Time, Just the Two of Us and The Weakest Link.
In 2007, marking the 20th anniversary of T’Pau’s first success, Ron Rogers and Carol Decker released a new single, “Just Dream“, exclusively as an Internet download. In 2008, T’Pau were part of the Here and Now 80s nostalgia tour.
To mark the 25th anniversary of the formation of the band, Decker and Rogers embarked on a 28-date UK tour during the spring of 2013 without the original band members.
In February 2015, T’Pau released their fifth studio album, Pleasure & Pain, and embarked on a tour. The final eight shows on the Pleasure & Pain Tour had to be cancelled in early March after Decker suffered damage to her voice while suffering from bronchitis. Around the same time it emerged that she had also grown frustrated at a lack of airplay for her band’s new material, as many radio stations were only interested in playing T’Pau’s classic hits. In an interview she stated, “It’s a little harder to get on the radio because all the ’80s stations play the ’80s stuff and they won’t play your new stuff. They actually say they can’t, and then the younger stations play the younger artists, the hip stations. That’s the downside, and I miss hearing radio plays for the new stuff… it is a little frustrating that I can’t get it out to the wider audience anymore.” Despite this however the album did manage to edge into the charts at No.98, their first chart action for more than two decades.
- Current members
- Carol Decker (born 10 September 1957, Liverpool) – vocals, songwriter (1986-1991, 1998–present)
- Ronnie Rogers (b. 13 March 1959, Shrewsbury) – rhythm guitars, songwriter (1986-1991, 2007, 2013-present)
- Touring band members
- Carsten Moss – Keyboards
- James Ashby – Lead Guitar
- Kez Gunes – Bass
- Dave Hattee – Drums
- Odette Adams – Backing Vocals
- Former members
- Tim Burgess (b. 6 October 1961, Macclesfield) – drums, percussion (1986-1991)
- Michael Chetwood (b. 26 August 1954, Telford) – keyboards (1986-1991)
- Paul Jackson (b. 8 August 1961, Telford) – bass (1986-1991)
- Taj Wyzgowski (b. 24 November 1959, Edinburgh) – lead guitars (1986-1987)
- Dean Howard (b. 7 May 1961, London) – lead guitars (1987-1991)
- Jez Ashurst – lead guitars (1998)
- Dave Hattee – drums, percussion (1998)
- Dan McKinna – bass (1998)
80s Studio albums
Bridge of Spies (1987)