Monday, September 7, 2015

They Might Be Giants - Ana Ng

They Might Be Giants (TMBG; named after the 1971 movie) was an odd yet interesting band that started showing up on MTV (mostly on the 120 Minutes program) in the late 1980's.  The group consisted of two Johns (Flansburgh and Linnell) who met as teenagers in Lincoln, Massachusetts and eventually moved to Brooklyn, New York to pursue a career in music.

Not surprisingly, the music industry had absolutely no idea what to make of the band, so TMBG promoted themselves through Dial-A-Song.  The group posted ads in local newspapers (such as The Village Voice) with a phone number, which led to an answering machine with a taped song.  The band maintained the service even after they were signed; some listeners estimate that more than 500 songs were recorded over the years.

Helped by Dial-A-Song, TMBG generated enough interest to be signed in 1985 and their self-titled debut LP came out the following year.  The album even picked up some college radio airplay.  1988's Lincoln actually charted (#89) and "Ana Ng" picked up some mainstream radio airplay as well.

Of course, the band's big break came in 1990 with the Flood album ( "Birdhouse in Your Soul" and "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" may both be familiar to readers.  TMBG's period of major success was relatively brief, but they maintained a loyal following, and expanded their audience in the mid-2000's with a series of children's albums.  The band remains active in the industry as of this writing.

Cool trivia fact:  At their first concert, They Might Be Giants used the name, El Grupo de Rock and Roll.

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