Forgotten Band: They Might Be Giants

Formed in 1982 by John Flansburgh and John Linnell, They Might Be Giants (TMBG) emerged from the vibrant music scene of Brooklyn, New York, to become one of the most innovative and influential bands of the alternative rock era. With their eclectic blend of pop melodies, witty lyrics, and unconventional instrumentation, TMBG quickly garnered a devoted following and earned a reputation for their distinctive sound and offbeat sensibility. Over the course of their illustrious career, the band has released over 20 studio albums, won multiple Grammy Awards, and continued to push the boundaries of musical experimentation.

John Flansburgh and John Linnell first crossed paths as teenagers in Lincoln, Massachusetts, where they attended the same high school. Bonding over their shared love of music, the two Johns began collaborating on songs and performing in local bands. After graduation, they both moved to Brooklyn, where they continued to pursue their musical ambitions. Drawing inspiration from a wide range of influences, including punk rock, new wave, and experimental music, Flansburgh and Linnell developed a distinctive songwriting style characterized by its irreverent humor, clever wordplay, and catchy hooks.

In 1982, Flansburgh and Linnell officially formed They Might Be Giants, taking their name from the 1971 film of the same name, which starred George C. Scott as a man who believes he is Sherlock Holmes. The choice of moniker reflected the band’s fondness for quirky and unconventional subject matter, setting the stage for the eclectic body of work that would follow. With Flansburgh on guitar and vocals and Linnell on accordion, keyboards, and vocals, TMBG began performing at local clubs and quickly gained a reputation for their energetic live shows and infectious enthusiasm.

In 1986, They Might Be Giants released their self-titled debut album, which featured such now-classic tracks as “Don’t Let’s Start” and “She’s an Angel.” The album received critical acclaim for its innovative songwriting and eclectic musical arrangements, earning TMBG a devoted fanbase and paving the way for their future success. Building on the momentum of their debut, the band released a string of albums throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, including “Lincoln” (1988) and “Flood” (1990), which featured the hit single “Birdhouse in Your Soul.”

“Flood” proved to be a breakthrough success for They Might Be Giants, catapulting them into the mainstream and earning them widespread recognition. With its infectious melodies, clever lyrics, and polished production, the album showcased the band’s versatility and creativity, cementing their status as one of the most innovative acts of the alternative rock era. In addition to “Birdhouse in Your Soul,” “Flood” also spawned the hits “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” and “Particle Man,” further solidifying TMBG’s reputation as masters of the pop songcraft.

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, They Might Be Giants continued to release a steady stream of albums, each showcasing the band’s trademark blend of wit, whimsy, and musical experimentation. Albums like “Apollo 18” (1992), “John Henry” (1994), and “Mink Car” (2001) further expanded TMBG’s sonic palette, incorporating elements of folk, country, and electronic music into their eclectic sound. In addition to their studio albums, TMBG also embraced new technologies, releasing music videos, podcasts, and even experimenting with dial-up internet services to connect with their fans.

In recent years, They Might Be Giants have continued to defy expectations and push the boundaries of their craft. In 2015, they launched “Dial-A-Song,” a project inspired by their early days in Brooklyn, where fans could call a phone number to hear a new song every week. The project proved to be a hit, with TMBG releasing a new song every Tuesday for an entire year. The band has also embraced the world of children’s music, releasing several albums aimed at younger listeners, including “Here Comes Science” (2009) and “Here Comes the 123s” (2008), which won Grammy Awards for Best Children’s Album.

Throughout their storied career, They Might Be Giants have remained true to their independent spirit and uncompromising artistic vision. With their infectious melodies, clever wordplay, and irrepressible energy, they have carved out a unique niche in the musical landscape, inspiring countless bands and winning the hearts of fans around the world. As they continue to explore new avenues of creativity and innovation, one thing remains clear: They Might Be Giants are true pioneers of quirky alternative rock, and their influence will be felt for generations to come.

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Author: guyute