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Most mainstream Americans would probably consider Thomas Dolby one of the countless "one hit wonders" to pass through the American airwaves during the 80's. We have ALL heard the classic song, "She Blinded Me With Science", but there is far more to this man's career than you may realize.

Let us venture back to the early years of Thomas Dolby's career.
"Thomas Dolby" was born Thomas Robertson, in 1958, and was actually sued by the DOLBY Corporation, after achieving success. The DOLBY name was a taken from a nickname given to Robertson, because of his "inseparable relationship with his cassette machine". Dolby and "Dolby" settled out of court, with the agreement that the name would only be used by "Dolby" when it came to his professional career.

So, here are some interesting tidbits of trivia that you can pull out of your "gee whiz file", while entertaining friends and family this holiday season.

First, did you know that Thomas Dolby played on the early work of THE THOMPSON TWINS? Although not an "official" member, Mr. Dolby played keyboards on the album "SET", if not the debut LP by The Twins, "A PRODUCT OF...". It is reported that he also spent some time touring with The Thompson Twins, following the release of "SET".

Second bit of trivia: Thomas Dolby lended his synthesizer prowess to DEF LEPPARD on their album, PYROMANIA. He performed under the pseudonym, BOOKER T. BOFFIN due to another label reserving the use of his professional name.

Third: Thomas Dolby is, to this day, heard by millions of Americans, thanks to his work on the incredibly popular album, FOREIGNER 4. Across the United States, songs such as "WAITING FOR A GIRL LIKE YOU" and "URGENT" still get a log of airplay on Classic Rock radio stations. The atmospheric synthesizer intro to "Waiting For a Girl..." are courtesy of Thomas Dolby, as are the prevalent synth fill-ins, in the latter track.

Fourth: Thomas Dolby was not only a musician, but an extremely talented music producer, as well. He was responsible for the incredible production on several PREFAB SPROUT releases, including "TWO WHEELS GOOD", a.k.a. as "STEVE McQUEEN" outside of the USA. Thomas also co-produced JONI MITCHELL'S album, "DOG EAT DOG"

Fifth: Dolby played in David Bowie's band in the 1985 "LIVE AID" performance.

Sixth: Thomas Dolby has been responsible for creating many "polyphonic ring tones", used in millions of cell phones around the world, including the famous "Nokia theme" polyphonic ringtone.

Thomas Dolby has continued to occasionally dabble in music, especially in the Electronica boom of the last decade. He even spent some time touring with Progressive House/Trance wizard, BT. BUT, what you may not know about Thomas Dolby, is that he has spent the better part of the last 15 years developing software, as well as creating types of files to be used in the music industry.

On a related, and somewhat interesting note: My brother, Rich, is a software developer, and was working a booth at a software conference, several years ago. A bald, somewhat familiar looking gentleman approached Rich's booth, and asked directions to a room that was being utilized for a presentation. It turns out that the bald gentleman was Thomas Dolby, and that HE was the person giving the presentation.

SOOOOOO... NOT a bad career for someone who is often considered to be a "one hit wonder", in the United States. Who says you won't have anything to talk about, when you are gathered around your Thanksgiving meal??


Anonymous said…
Thomas Dolby never was a member of the Thompson Twins
Uncle Zeke said…
Oh, that must have been ANOTHER Thomas Dolby that was listed on the back of my "A Product Of..." album by Thompson Twins. And very similar looking. MY BAD! ;-)

Seriously, Anonymous... although he may not have been an "official" member of the band, he appeared on the first two Thompson Twins releases, and was pictured on the rear artwork of "A Product Of..." with the other band members.
Uncle Zeke said…
I have done more research, and I feel that both Anonymous AND myself are correct on this one. Thomas Dolby was apparently never an "official" member of The Thompson Twins, but there are multiple references to his work on "SET", as well as some live support following that album. I am almost POSITIVE that he was listed on my LP of "A Product Of...", but I will leave the official listing of his collaborations to the "SET" album.

To sum it up.... HE PLAYED WITH 'EM!
Kate said…
WHOA! This right here is some fascinatin' stuff you've dug up, Uncle Z! Thanks for the 411! I particularly love the tidbits about Foreigner and the polyphonic ringtones.