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They Might Be Giants Biography

Home > Music > T > They Might Be Giants > Biography

Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA
Years Active: 1982–present
Genres: Alternative Rock, College Rock, Geek Rock, Children's Music

They Might Be Giants (TMBG) is an American alternative rock band formed in Lincoln, Massachusetts in 1982 by John Flansburgh and John Linnell. During TMBG's early years Flansburgh and Linnell were frequently accompanied by a drum machine. In the early 1990s, TMBG became a full band. Currently, the members of TMBG are Flansburgh, Linnell, Marty Beller, Dan Miller and Danny Weinkauf. They are best known for an unconventional and experimental style of alternative music.

The duo released their self-titled debut album in 1986, which became a college radio hit. In 1988, they released their second album, “Lincoln,” named after the duo's hometown. It featured the song “Ana Ng” which reached #11 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tacks chart.

In 1989, They Might Be Giants signed with Elektra Records, and released their third album “Flood” the following year. “Flood” earned them a gold album, largely thanks to the success of “Birdhouse in Your Soul” which reached #3 on the Modern Rock chart, as well as “Istanbul (Not Constantinople).”

In early 1992, They Might Be Giants released “Apollo 18.” The heavy space theme coincided with TMBG being named Musical Ambassadors for International Space Year. Singles from the album included, “The Statue Got Me High,” “I Palindrome I” and “The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight).”

Following “Apollo 18,” Flansburgh and Linnell decided to move away from the guitar and accordion (or sax) plus backing tracks on tape nature of their live show, and recruited a supporting band that consisted of live musicians.

“John Henry “was released in 1994. Influenced by their more conventional lineup, this album marked a departure from their previous releases with more of a guitar-heavy sound. Their next album, “Factory Showroom,” was released in 1996 to little fanfare. They left Elektra after the uo refused to do a publicity show, amongst other exposure-related disputes.

In 1998, they released a mostly-live album, “Severe Tire Damage,” from which came the studio single “Doctor Worm.” In 1999, They Might Be Giants became the first major label recording artist to release an entire album, “Long Tall Weekend,” exclusively in mp3 format. Also in 1999, the band contributed the song “Dr. Evil” to the motion picture “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.”

They released “Mink Car” on Restless Records in 2001. It was their first full album release of new studio material since 1996, and their first since parting ways with Elektra.

In 2002 they released “No!,” their first album that incorporated elements of children’s music. They followed it up in 2003 with their first book, an illustrated children's book with an included EP, “Bed, Bed, Bed.”

In 2004, they released a new album, “The Spine,” and an associated EP, “The Spine Surfs Alone.” For the album's first single, “Experimental Film,” TMBG teamed up with Homestar Runner creators Matt and Mike Chapman to create an animated music video.

2005 saw the release of “Here Come the ABCs,” TMBG's follow-up to the successful children's album “No!”

Their 12th album, “The Else,” was released in 2007, on Idlewild Recordings. The album was produced by Pat Dillett and The Dust Brothers.

“Here Come the 123s,” a follow-up to 2005's critically acclaimed “Here Come the ABCs” children's project, was released in 2008. In 2009, the album won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Album For Children at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards.

“Here Comes Science,” a science-themed children's album was released in 2009. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Musical Album For Children.

In 2011 they released, “Join Us,” becoming their first non-children's album since “The Else” in 2007. The album debuted at #32 on the Billboard 200 and #8 on both the Billboard Rock Albums and Billboard Alternative Albums charts.