He was born in Worlington, near Mildenhall, Suffolk, England.Thornalley began working as a recording engineer in 1978, at RAK Studios in St. John's Wood, London for producer Mickie Most. He also worked with producer Steve Lillywhite (the Psychedelic Furs and the Thompson Twins) and Alex Sadkin.Thornalley became the producer for The Cure on their fourth album, Pornography
. After Simon Gallup quit in 1982, he filled in as their bassist for their 1983 single The Love Cats
and their first live album, Concert
but eventually quit to keep on working as a songwriter and producer.In 1984, he was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for Into the Gap
by the Thompson Twins.Thornalley has worked as a mixer for Duran Duran, XTC, Sting, Ash and Cyndi Lauper.In 1988 he released his only solo album (Swamp
). He then joined Johnny Hates Jazz, and was the frontman on their 2nd album, 1991's Tall Stories
. In 2010, Thornalley referred to his time with the band as “a grand mistake, in the sense that I devoted three years to it, and it was deeply unsuccessful. But you learn from your mistakes."Since leaving Johnny Hates Jazz, 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 rerecorded, as among five songs Thornalley co-wrote on Imbrulgia's 1997 debut album Left of the Middle
, and became a worldwide hit single.Other artists Thornalley has worked with include Wax, Bryan Adams, Melanie C, Hepburn, Ronan Keating, BBMak, and Pixie Lott.Thornalley is primary influence on Soul singer/musician Reggie Sears.In 2009, two songs co-written for Pixie Lott reached #1 on the UK charts.