The Heart Throbs formed in 1986, initially by Rose Carlotti and Stephen Ward, both college students, who recruited Rose's sister Rachel DeFreitas and Mark Side. Rose and Rachel are sisters of the late Echo & the Bunnymen drummer Pete DeFreitas.The band released their first single in mid-1987 on Marc Riley's In-Tape label.They were then signed by Rough Trade, for whom they released two singles, both hits on the UK Independent Chart.After two further singles on their own label, Profumo (a reference to John Profumo), The Heart Throbs were signed by the UK record label One Little Indian Records.Guitarist Alan Barclay aka Alan Borgia joined at this time, allowing original guitarist Ward to move to keyboards. Their first album, Cleopatra Grip, was distributed in the US by Elektra Records, after which they were signed by A&M Records, who released Jubilee Twist in the US. After disappointing sales, however, A&M elected not to distribute their third and final album, Vertical Smile. The first and third albums were named after euphemisms for female genitalia, while the jubilee twist is a martial combat technique for attacking the male genitalia.
The Heart Throbs single "Dreamtime" reached a peak position of number 2 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks in 1990, and their single "She's In A Trance" reached number 21 in the same year.
Following the Cleopatra Grip tour, the rhythm section left the band, and were replaced by Noko (ex-Luxuria) on bass and Steve Monti (ex-Blockheads) on drums. By the third album, the band had switched to a third rhythm section of Colleen Browne (formerly of The Parachute Men), who later joined the Pale Saints, on bass and Steve Beswick on drums.
After The Heart Throbs split up in 1993, Rose Carlotti and Steve Beswick formed the group Angora, who then changed their name to Tom Patrol before eventually disbanding