Saturday, March 24, 2012

"She Blinded Me With Science" by Thomas Dolby - March 24th 80's Quest Song/Band of the Day

This was one of the better songs from the 1980's and the video was great!  Who doesn't love a nuthouse full of wacky professors?!  The phrase "Good Heavens Miss Akimodo, You're Beauuuuutiful" was a standout lyric.

Thomas Dolby (real name Thomas Morgan Robertson) was born October 14 1958 in London, England). He was the son of a prominent British archeologist and professor of classical Greek art and archeology at the University of London and Oxford University. Schoolmates gave him the nickname "Dolby" (based on the British Dolby laboratories that invented a noise-reduction system for audiotapes) when he was 13 years old because he was always messing around with keyboards, and tapes, and had a deep interest in electronics . In his youth Dolby lived in France, Italy and Greece. He completed his A-levels in England at Abingdon School.
Dolby taught himself how to play guitar, piano and then set about teaching himself computer programming. He spent time playing music in Paris subways and also played piano in London cocktail clubs. Dolby began building his own PA systems and synthesizers which he used in his work as a soundman for various British bands. In 1979 he cofounded his own band with Bruce Woolley called the Camera Club. In 1980 he joined Lene Lovich’s band, and wrote her 1981 hit, "New Toy". He played on Joan Armatrading’s album Walk Under Ladders, The Thompson Twins album Set, Def Leppard’s Pyromania, and Malcolm McLaren’s Duck Rock. He wrote "Magic Wand" for Whodini and it became one of the first million-selling 12-inch Rap singles. He played keyboards and synthesizers for the band Foreigner on their smash album Foreigner 4 and played keyboards on their big hits "Urgent" and "Waiting for a Girl Like You" and toured with them. His pay from this work with Foreigner bankrolled studio time so he could record his own debut album.
Dolby’s debut solo album, The Golden Age of Wireless, was released in 1982. It yielded a minor hit, "Europa and the Pirate Twins" which charted at #67 in the U.S. and also included the songs "Airwaves" and "Radio Silence".
He released an EP in 1983 entitled, Blinded By Science, which contained his first big hit song, "She Blinded Me With Science". The song rose to #5 on the American charts. Dolby produced the video for the song, which includes a guest appearance by British eccentric Magnus Pike, whose vocals also appear on the song. Once the song became a hit, the song was added to future pressings of his The Golden Age of Wireless album, although originally the track did not appear on initial pressings. Dolby directed a tour documentary called Live Wireless 
In 1983 Dolby participated in a studio project with numerous artists called Dolby’s Cube. This was a forum for Dolby to release more dance oriented tracks and the line-up of participating musicians was revolving but some included Lene Lovich, George Clinton, and Francois Kevorkian. Some dance songs released as a result of this project were "Get Out of My Mix" and "May The Cube Be With You".
Dolby did more production work. He produced the following albums; George Clinton’s Some of My Best Jokes are Friends (1984); Joni Mitchell’s Dog Eat Dog (1986); three of British band Prefab Sprout’s albums (Steve McQueen, From Langley Park to Memphis, and Jordan The Comeback); two songs on Ofra Haza’s album Wind (1989). He also wrote movie scores for "Fever Pitch" (1985); "Gothic" (1986); "Howard the Duck" (1986), and the animated movie FernGully: The Last Rainforest. He also wrote musics for video games. In 1990 he appeared in the movie Rockula as the villian, Stanley and wrote two songs for the soundtrack: "Stanley’s Death Park" and "Budapest by Blimp".
In 1984 Dolby’s second album, The Flat Earth was released on Capitol records. It rose to #14 on the U.K. charts and #35 on the Billboard charts in the U.S. The album included guest appearances by Robyn Hitchcock, Bruce Woolley, among others. The hit song for this album was originally written for Michael Jackson, but Dolby ended up recording "Hyperactive" instead. He also directed the video for the song. "Hyperactive’s" highest U.S. chart position was #64. The album also included a cover of "I Scare Myself" by Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks.
In 1986 Dolby Labs sued him for copyright infringement, but eventually let him use the name as long as he included his name Thomas along with Dolby.
Dolby married actress Kathleen Beller who played Kirby Colby on the American televison show Dynasty they lived in Los Angeles. In 1988 he released a new album called Aliens Ate My Buick. The album featured many funky dance tracks. George Clinton wrote the song "Hot Sauce" for the album. Unfortunately, the album did not produce any hit singles and only charted at #70. On July 18, 1988 he opened for Depeche Mode (see 80’s Quest Post) at their big concert at the Rose Bowl in California. In 1990 he appeared in a charity concert performance of Pink Floyd’s The Wall in Berlin. Roger Waters of Pink Floyd arranged the concert. Dolby played keyboards on the songs "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2) which was sung by Cyndi Lauper (see 80’s Quest Post) and also played the role of the teacher in the trial sequence.
His next album, 1992’s Astronauts & Heretics also failed to produce a hit single, even though it had a plethora of music stars making guest appearances on the album including Ofra Haza, Eddie Van Halen on "Eastern Bloc" and "Close But No Cigar" (which was the highest charting song off this album at #22), and Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir from The Grateful Dead on "Beauty of a Dream". The bassist on this album, Terry Jackson, participated on 4 songs before he died with 7 other musicians in a 1991 plane accident. The musicians had been travelling with country singer Reba McEntire’s as her backing band for her "For My Broken Heart" tour. The album also included Louisiana musicians and had a zydeco-influences.
In 1993 Dolby went into business and started a high-tech firm called Headspace. Headspace created a downloadable file format called Rich Music Format with the RMF file extension. RMF music files could be played in a browser using a free Beatnik Player plug-in. RMF later allowed music artists to place an encrypted watermark in their music files that prevented them from unauthorized duplication. The company also introduced an interactive virtual-reality music program called The Virtual String Quartet. Dolby used the technology when he released an accompanying video compilation of computer graphics and animation to go along with his 1994 album, Gate to the Mind’s Eye. Dolby later stepped down from his position as CEO of Beatnik, Inc. (although remaining on the Board) to found Retro Ringtongs LLC in 2002. That company produced ringtone asset management software for mobile ringtone businesses. Dolby has produced hundred of ringtones found on cell phone everywhere (including Nokia phones).
Starting in 2001 Dolby served as Musical Director of the annual TED Conference which is attended by the world’s foremost thinkers and inventors. There are many speakers, and as musical director he, along with the TED house band, provides the live musical intros to the sessions.
In January 2006 Dolby made his first solo musical appearance in 15 years at The Red Devil Lounge in San Francisco, California. He then played a string of small dates across America on his "Sole Inhabitant Tour". A recording of two dates at Martyrs in Chicago were recorded for a live CD. A performance at Berklee Performance Center in Boston, MA was made into a DVD which also includes a 30 minute interview and lecture by Dolby at Berklee College of Music. The CD and DVD were available through CD Baby and iTunes.
On July 2006 Dolby played a show at the Scala Club in London, England as a warm-up for his next gig – opening for Depeche Mode at a show they were doing in Hyde Park (London). The show at Scala sold out immediately quickly. The popular reception was a factor in Dolby moving his family from Los Angeles back to England. Where he continued his "Sole Inhabitant Tour" with several dates in the U.K. and released a box set of the Sole Inhabitant CD and DVD. During the "Sole Inhabitant Tour" Dolby performed a new song called "Your Karma Hit My Dogma" which was about Kevin Federline (Britney Spears’ ex-husband) unauthorized use of a sample from Mobb Deep’s song "Got It Twisted", and Mobb Deeps’s unauthorized use of a sample from Dolby’s "She Blinded Me With Science". The title of the song was taken from a bumper sticker which Dolby saw on a car in San Francisco.
In May 2009 a CD/DVD set called The Singular Thomas Dolby was released. The CD is a compilation containing remasters of previous singles, and the DVD contains all of the previously filmed videos.
In November 2010 Dolby released a three part album called A Map of the Floating City. As he worked on the album, EP’s of the first two sections were initially made available to Dolby’s online fan community (The Flat Earth). The EP’s were called Amerikana (released June 16, 2010), Oceana (released November 29, 2010), the third section of the full-length album was called Urbanoia, but was not released as a download to the online fans. The songs on this section were used as part of the Map of the Floating City online game. The game was available to be played from June – August 2011. Players could earn free song downloads from Dolby’s album. The winner won a private performance by Thomas Dolby.
Dolby’s hit "She Blinded Me With Science" was used as the theme song to the pilot of the American comedy television program The Big Bang Theory. Although later episodes no longer included it as the theme song.
Today Dolby speaks at numerous technology conferences, In March 2012 he will be speaking the DESIGN West confererence in San Jose, CA for UBM Electronics.



It's poetry in motion
She turned her tender eyes to me
As deep as any ocean
As sweet as any harmony
Mmm - but she blinded me with science
"She blinded me with science!"
And failed me in biology

When I'm dancing close to her
"Blinding me with science - science!"
I can smell the chemicals

Mmm - but it's poetry in motion
and when she turned her eyes to me
As deep as any ocean
As sweet as any harmony
She blinded me with science
"She blinded me with science!"
And failed me in geometry

When she's dancing next to me
"Blinding me with science - science!"
I can hear machinery
'Blinding me with science - science!"

It's poetry in motion
and now she's making love to me
The spheres are in commotion
The elements in harmony
She blinded me with science
"She blinded me with science!"
And hit me with technology

'Good heavens Miss Sakamoto - you're beautiful!"

I don't believe it!
There she goes again!
She's tidied up and I can't find anything!
all my tubes and wires
And careful notes
And antiquated notions
but - it's poetry in motion
And when she turned her eyes to me
As deep as any ocean
As sweet as any harmony
Mmm - she blinded me with science
"She blinded me with science!"
She blinded me with ...

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