80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ The The (Matt Johnson)

TheThe1No, that’s not a typo in the title. A brilliantly talented collection of musicians, The The’s music is as unique as their name. Matt Johnson formed his band in 1979, made up of Johnson on vocals and guitar, Keith Laws on synths and backing tapes, and Peter Fenton-Jones on guitar and violin. The The finally picked up drummer Triash (Peter Ashworth) a year later to round out the line-up.TheThe2

As with many super-talented bands, The The went through several personnel changes throughout the 80’s until it was just Matt Johnson all on his own. As The The, Johnson released the LPs “Soul Mining” and “Infected,” by picking up session musicians as needed for studio and live performances.

The The finally gained traction again in 1988, infused with the likes of ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, ex-Nick Lowe bassist James Eller, and ex-ABC drummer David Palmer. This line-up created and released the 1989 LP “Mind Bomb” which enjoyed great success on the UK charts.

The The has enjoyed a bit of a current popularity resurgence via the use of their song “This Is The Day” in advertising for M&Ms. Matt Johnson, with the help of a revolving cast of musicians, continued to record and play live performances through 2002. An LP called “The End Of The Day” was announced for release in 2007, but according to Wikipedia remains unreleased to this day. Let’s hope that collection sees the light of day. Matt Johnson was a true creative genius that drove the 80’s music scene to its limits. Today’s lagging, dull, and downright sleep-inducing music industry could use a solid artistic shot in the arm via Matt Johnson.

 “Kingdom Of Rain” via YouTube user sophia11:

“Armageddon Days Are Here (Again) (live)” via YouTube user gktalbo:

“Uncertain Smile (12”)” via YouTube user supermandisco:

 Purchase The The music here.


80’s Discography

TheThe_aBurning Blue Soul (Matt Johnson) (1981)

TheThe_bSoul Mining (1983)

TheThe_cInfected (1986)

TheThe_dMind Bomb

11 thoughts on “80’s Music Rules ~ Criminally Underrated Artists/ Bands ~ The The (Matt Johnson)

  1. Oh yes, so underrated. I remember them well. They were quite successful in Europe but never made it to main stream. Thanks for posting this.


  2. (((((((Xiroi))))))

    Long time no hear! 🙂 Thank you for stopping by and for your comment. Hope things are going well for you.

    All the best,


  3. …and when I went searching online for information about The The a couple of years ago, well, let’s just say that isn’t a friendly google term.

    Yeah, I have music from all of their/his albums and they didn’t have a weak record in the bunch. Here’s hoping that ’07 album surfaces someday, too.


  4. (((((((Joey))))))

    Thank you for the link to Heartland – I agree it is one of their best. In fact, like you, I am finding it difficult to find anything I dislike from the 4 listed 80’s LPs.

    As to Googling the band, I found that putting The The in quotes and adding either Matt Johnson’s name or the name of one of the LPs helped. 🙂

    All the best to you and cheers for a great week!



  5. The three songs you posted are so very different. Not sure what to make of the Armageddon song though. I remember these guys and few of their songs.

    Joey, I’m sure that anyone starting a band now has to make sure their name is “Google friendly.”


  6. Hey ((((Robert)))))

    Agreed: It is an eclectic bunch….but good quality songs are hard to come by on YouTube since Warner Music Group made a stink about almost everything on there. You can get a sense of style – his vocal range – and the instrumentation, and hopefully know that this is music worth listening to.

    All the best,


  7. Truly one of my favourite bands of all time! The girl I drive with every day was complaining one day that her hubby made a mixed disk of different music that he wanted her to listen to. She is pretty much the run of the mill classic rock station kind of girl. Very musically challenged and narrow minded….lol She said to me in an exasperated tone “Can you believe he made me listen to a band called THE THE!” At that point I began singing This is the Day and she just rolled her eyes and said. “It figures you would like them”…lol




  8. Hey ((((Moezy))))

    Great story! My mom used to tell me, “That’s what makes the world go round.” Music tastes are as varied aand wide as clothing, cars, etc. No one where I work appreciates 80’s new Wave and post-punk like I do. I’ve learned to accept it and stay plugged in to my iPod as much as I can. Today feels like a “Japan” kind of day for me……



  9. “the the” music is the fiber of the mind of my soul… the blood that runs through my veins, the passion of my spirit. the very sound track to my meaningless pitiful existance. i hear it when i walk down a street, i see it in the eyes of the man as he points me back into his narrow limits impossed upon me, and feel it with every contact i make with another useless momment of human coexistance. i am another boy drowning, very jealous of youth, who’s exsesses have comeback to haunt him…….no one has nailed it as close as matt johnson, no band has poured it into notes and sounds that vibrate those feelings into a intercourse of sorrow pain and disfuncional pleasure as “the the”……a truely timeless band for the times. it could be played 150 years from now or 150 years ago and its translation remains the same.


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