Great Rock Albums of 1987: T’Pau- Bridge of Spies

Admittedly, it was the singles which turned my attention to T’Pau and their debut album, “Bridge of Spies,” in 1987. The first single, to dispel one misbelief in history, was “Heart and Soul.” The track did do very well, not only reaching the number four in the charts but it also had me thinking, “This song’s pretty good, not metal but a good rock tune.” At first, the introduction might give the impression that it’s going to be an 80s pop song but once the guitars kick in, you are left with no doubt. It is good song and a good album opener.

No matter what was thought of the album, no one can deny that the colossal single, “China In Your Hand,” was what made T’Pau a household name in late 1987. The amusing thing was that the single version is shortened and when my then wife heard the full album cut, she was a little confused but like me, she grew to like the album version better. I simply love the power chords and the fact that as far as the UK charts was concerned, a good rock song not only made the top ten, it got to number one! The timing was perfect because KISS’s “Crazy Crazy Nights” was disappearing from the charts. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, trendies!

Five of the first six songs on “Bridge of Spies” were singles, seven were released from the album, including the two mentioned. The other two are the power ballad, “I Will Be With You” and the rather amusingly titled, “Sex Talk.” Reading a little history, Carol Decker said she got the idea for the song on her first trip to New York and saw all the adverts for sex chat lines. She actually called one of the numbers although the details of that conversation aren’t recorded. Still, it shows that T’Pau could get down and dirty while rocking out.

While the first half of the album has the hits, this isn’t one where the second half of the album doesn’t deteriorate. Of course, there is a hidden gem and on this album, it happens to be “Monkey House.” The track is a total rock out but the main reason I like it is because it houses the best guitar solo on the entire album. I can’t find which to the two guitarists play the solo on it, but whoever does nails it. “Valentine,” which was also a single and a cool power ballad, provides the climax. The remaining tracks, while not filler, serve the purpose of taking the album out very nicely. Though I think tracks nine and ten should be the other way around as “Thank You for Goodbye” would be a better pre-closer but only just as “You Give Up” is quite energetic.

No matter which song on the album is mentioned, the factor no one can ignore is the voice of Carol Decker. At the time, she was called a ‘shorter Cyndi Lauper.’ You can have Cyndi, I’ll take Carol’s voice anytime. Hers is a very powerful but versatile voice which fits every song. Another source said she was no Annie Lennox. Of course not, I think she’s better.

Track Listing:

  1. Heart and Soul
  2. I Will Be With You
  3. China In Your Hand
  4. Friends Like These
  5. Sex Talk
  6. Bridge of Spies
  7. Monkey House
  8. Valentine
  9. Thank You For Goodbye
  10. You Give Up
  11. China In Your Hand (Reprise)

Carol Decker- vocals

Ronnie Rogers- guitar

Taj Wyzgowski- guitar

Michael Chetwood- keyboards

Paul Jackson- bass

Gary Barnacle- tenor sax

Tim Burgess- drums, percussion

Recently, I saw an advert for a cruise where 80s pop acts were providing the entertainment. One of these acts was T’Pau. Yes, they were never a pop act in my opinion but when my daughter does marry her Norwegian fiance and decides to live in Norway, I might have to book a cruise when I would visit her. Hopefully, T’Pau will still be playing and I get to soak up the memories of this album.

Next post: One Hit Wonders of 1987

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20 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1987: T’Pau- Bridge of Spies”

  1. I used to love “Heart and Soul” and still do. And that’s the only song I remember from T’Pau.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Heart and Soul is the song I know, and have the 45 of from back in the day. Apparently China in Your Hand reached 20 on the charts in Canada, but I am not familiar with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I only knew Heart and Soul like the others. I saw the same ad for the 80’s cruise. Looks like fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Greatest band ever to come from Shrewsbury.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Man, I hadn’t thought of these people since Heart And Soul was all over the radio. Time just compressed!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. China in Your Hand is the only tune I know. Haven’t heard it in an awfy long time and I’ve never thought to listen to anything else by them. It’s a good song, though.

    Liked by 1 person

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