Happy Birthday to Philip Thornalley, January 5, 1960

Happy Birthday to Philip Thornalley, January 5, 1960

Philip Thornalley is an English songwriter-producer who has worked in the music industry since 1978. He is perhaps best known for co-writing (with Scott Cutler and Anne Preven) the Ednaswap song “Torn” (made famous by Natalie Imbruglia’s cover version) and the number one hits “Mama Do”, “Boys and Girls” and “Cry Me Out” for Pixie Lott. He also produced The Cure’s 1982 album Pornography and was later their bass player for eighteen months.


Thornalley was born in Worlington, near Mildenhall, Suffolk, England.

He began working as a recording engineer in 1978, at RAK Studios in St. John’s Wood, London for producers Mickie Most, Steve Lillywhite and Alex Sadkin.

Thornalley became the producer for The Cure on their fourth album, Pornography. After Simon Gallup parted ways with the band in 1982, he was The Cure’s bassist for eighteen months. He produced their 1983 single The Love Cats and their first live album, Concert. However, he quit to resume working as a songwriter and producer.

He was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical in 1984 for Into the Gap by the Thompson Twins and released his only solo album (Swamp). in 1988.

Thornalley has worked primarily as songwriter and record producer for other artists. In 1991, he co-wrote “Torn” (with Scott Cutler and Anne Preven), which later appeared on Ednaswap’s 1995 debut album. Subsequently, he was asked to produce some songs for Natalie Imbruglia, and “Torn” was re-recorded alongside four other songs Thornalley wrote on Imbruglia’s 1997 seven million selling debut album Left of the Middle, and became a worldwide hit single. In 2012, the single was covered by One Direction on their live concert DVD Up All Night: The Live Tour.

Other artists Thornalley has worked with include Bryan Adams, BBMak, Eliza Doolittle, Stephanie Kirkham and Pixie Lott.

In 2010, he wrote three UK number ones: “Mama Do”, “Boys and Girls” and “Cry Me Out” for Pixie Lott,[6] and in 2012 the top ten hit “Kiss the Stars”.

In 2016 Thornalley resumed touring as temporary bass player with Bryan Adams on his “Get Up” Tour playing shows in the US, UK and Canada.


Thornalley’s influences are Todd Rundgren, The Beatles and Pink Floyd. Soul and R&B singer Reggie Sears has named Thornalley as his favourite singer and credits Thornalley’s 1988 release Swamp as the main driving force for wanting to be a singer and musician.

Selected work

As writer/producer

  • Natalie Imbruglia – “Torn” (#2 UK)
  • Natalie Imbruglia – “Wishing I Was There” (#15 US)
  • BBMak – “Back Here” (#11 USA / No. 5 UK) (writer only)
  • Bryan Adams – “On a Day Like Today” (#12 UK)
  • Ronan Keating – “The Way You Make Me Feel” (#5 UK)
  • Pixie Lott – “Boys and Girls” (#1 UK)
  • Pixie Lott – “Mama Do” (#1 UK)
  • Pixie Lott – “Cry Me Out” (#5 UK)
  • Pixie Lott – “Kiss the Stars” (#9 UK)
  • Hepburn – “I Quit” (#5 UK)
  • Shannon Noll – “Drive” (#1 Australia)
  • Daisy Wood-Davies -“Dream Baby Dream” – from the West End musical Dreamboats and Petticoats
  • Natalie Imbruglia – Left of the Middle (#5 UK)
  • Bryan Adams – On a Day Like Today (co-writer “On a Day Like Today” & “How Do You Feel Tonight”)
  • Bryan Adams – Room Service (co-writer “Not Romeo Not Juliet”)
  • Bryan Adams – Bare Bones (co-writer “The Way You Make Me Feel”)
  • Bryan Adams – Get Up (co-writer “That’s Rock and Roll”)
  • Melanie C – Reason (writer “Do I”)
  • Melanie C – Northern Star (writer “Gaga” & “Be the One”)

As producer only

  • The Cure – “The Hanging Garden”
  • Prefab Sprout – “When Love Breaks Down” (#25 UK)
  • The Cure – “The Lovecats” (#5 UK)
  • Holly Vallance – “Naughty Girl” (#9 UK)
  • Robbie Nevil – “C’est La Vie” (#2 US)
  • Wax – “Right Between the Eyes” (#1 Spain)
  • The Cure – Pornography (#2 UK)

As mixer

  • Ash – “Girl from Mars”
  • Psychedelic Furs – “Pretty in Pink” (original version)
  • Sting – Spread a Little Happiness”
  • Duran Duran – Is There Something I Should Know?” (#1 US/UK)
  • Thompson Twins – “Hold Me Now”
  • Thompson Twins – “Doctor, Doctor”
  • Thompson Twins – “In the Name of Love”
  • Thompson Twins – “Lies”
  • Cyndi Lauper – “What’s Going On”
  • The Waterboys – “Fisherman’s Blues”

Awards and nominations


  • ASCAP ‘Song of the Year’ 1998 for “Torn” (Natalie Imbruglia)
  • ASCAP ‘Song of the Year’ 2000 for “Back Here” (BBMak)


  • Grammy Award ‘Best Engineered Pop Album 1984′ for Thompson Twins’ Into the Gap
About the author


See my profile at www.jfmooreart.com.

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