A Thomas Dolby Primer

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Thomas Dolby checks in from the road this week on the James VanOsdol show.

Beyond his solo material, Dolby’s work can also be heard on a varied list of accomplishments, including the score to Howard the Duck and keyboards on Foreigner hits “Urgent” and “Waiting for a Girl Like You.” He also played at Live Aid with David Bowie, and on the Grammys with Stevie Wonder.

Dolby’s music career was put on hold for most of the 1990s and 00s, when he diverted his attention to his own company, Headspace. While there, he did impressive things like creating the technology for mobile phone ringtones.

If you’re in the Chicago area, Thomas Dolby will be taking his “Time Machine” tour to the Park West on April 5. In case you need a refresher on his music, here you go:

“She Blinded Me With Science”-The one that put him on the map (it’s a flat earth map, but a map nonetheless). SCIENCE!

“Europa and the Pirate Twins”-From The Golden Age of Wireless, which also includesShe Blinded Me With Science.”

“Airhead”-A fairly ridiculous song, but it has its charms (my pick from the same album, Aliens Ate My Buick, is a song called “Ability to Swing”). “She’s not an intellectual giant …”

“I Love You Goodbye”-We talked in the interview about Dolby’s ability to capture the American experience, and I specifically referenced this song.

“Nothing New Under the Sun”-From his most recent work, A Map of the Floating City. After my first few listens, I couldn’t stop playing it. It’s one of those “creeper songs” that insidiously plant themselves in the recesses of your brain and never leave.

From A Map of the Floating City, an insane video for “The Toadlickers.” I referenced the video specifically in the interview–here’s some helpful context.

“Hyperactive”-I loved this one as a kid. The video’s still a riot.


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