The Tourists (1977–1980) were a British rock and pop band. They achieved brief success in the late 1970s before the band split in 1980. Two of its members, singer Annie Lennox and guitarist Dave Stewart, then went on to achieve massive international success as Eurythmics.

History[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Peet Coombes was a guitarist singer-songwriter, while Dave Stewart, also a guitarist, had been a member of the folk rock band, Longdancer, who were signed to Elton John's Rocket label. The two moved to London and encountered Scottish singer Annie Lennox who had dropped out of her course at the Royal Academy of Music, where she had been studying flute and keyboards, to pursue her ambitions in pop music. Forming a band in 1975, the three of them initially called themselves The Catch, and released a single "Borderline/Black Blood" in 1977 on Logo Records. The single was released in the UK, Holland, Spain and Portugal but failed to garner any commercial success.

By 1977, they had recruited bass guitarist Eddie Chin and drummer Jim Toomey, and rechristened themselves The Tourists. This saw the beginning of a productive two years for the band and they released three albums: The Tourists,Reality Effect, and Luminous Basement, as well as half a dozen singles, including "Blind Among the Flowers" (1979), "The Loneliest Man in the World" (1979), "Don't Say I Told You So" (1980), and two major hits, the Dusty Springfieldcover "I Only Want to Be with You" (1979) and "So Good to Be Back Home Again" (1980), both of which reached the top 10 in the UK. "I Only Want to Be With You" was also a top 10 hit in Australia, and made the US Billboard Hot 100(#83). Coombes was the band's main songwriter, although later releases saw the first compositions by Lennox and Stewart, who were also in a relationship together for a time. The band's music expanded using their folk roots, demonstrating some punk energy, reggae and 1960s pop influences. A key development was their decision to record later material with German avant-garde producer Conny Plank, and a transfer to RCA Records in 1980. The band toured extensively in the UK and abroad, including a support role on Roxy Music's Manifesto Tour in 1979, but despite modest chart success, they were critically savaged by the punk-championing UK music press. This, combined with legal wranglings and some personal tensions, led to the group disbanding in 1980.

Coombes and Chin reputedly began a new project Acid Drops, but this met with little success and Coombes, despite originally being the main artistic force behind the Tourists, drifted out of the music business into obscurity. Lennox and Stewart split as a couple, but decided to continue working as an experimental musical partnership, under the name Eurythmics. They retained their RCA recording contract and links with Conny Plank who produced their first album,In The Garden in 1981. By 1983, they had achieved global success with their hit single "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)".

Eurythmics split in 1990, but the death of Peet Coombes in the late 1990s acted as a catalyst for Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart to revive their friendship and musical partnership following the news of his demise.

The Luminous Basement album was re-issued on CD in 1998. The US version of Reality Effect (actually a compilation of the first two UK albums) was re-issued on CD in 2007. Currently there are no plans to re-issue The Tourists' debut album.

Band members[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Discography[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Albums[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Year Title UK[1] SWE[2]
1979 The Tourists 72
1979 Reality Effect 23 45
1980 Luminous Basement 75
1984 Should Have Been Greatest Hits
1997 Greatest Hits

Singles[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Year Title UK[1] IRE[3] AUS CAN USA[4] Album
1979 "Blind Among the Flowers" 52 The Tourists
"The Loneliest Man in the World" 32
"I Only Want to Be with You" 4 13 6 50 83 Reality Effect
1980 "So Good to Be Back Home Again" 8 9
"Don't Say I Told You So" 40 Luminous Basement
"From the Middle Room"[5]
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