Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Thomas Dolby - "She Blinded Me With Science"

She Blinded Me With Science - She Blinded Me With Science - Single

(Debuted February 19, 1983, Peaked #5, 22 Weeks on the Chart)

"She Blinded Me With Science" was the only Top 40 pop hit in the U.S. for Thomas Dolby, which glosses over the fact that he provided the distinctive synthesizer wash on Foreigner's #2 hit "Waiting For a Girl Like You" in 1981. He also worked on Foreigner's hit single "Urgent," as well as Lionel Richie's first two LPs. He also wrote Lene Lovich's New Wave classic (though not a Hot 100 hit) "New Toy." So Dolby wasn't exactly an unknown prior to his hit, at least not among other musicians.

Dolby was born Thomas Robinson in England, but when he started recording professionally there was already a singer named Tom Robinson in the U.K. As a result, he drew upon the nickname "Dolby," which his friends gave him as a teen for tinkering with sound equipment. Of course, the became a big issue with the Dolby Laboratories once he had a hit single, so the matter went through the legal system. Dolby (the company) was told it really couldn't restrict the name, while Dolby (the person) had to agree not to sell any electronics using the name.

One of the quirky things about "She Blinded Me With Science" was the "mad scientist" that yelled out "science!" several times throughout the song. Those were provided by Magnus Pyke, who was a British scientist and TV host. While the eccentric manner was part of his onscreen persona, it is said he was annoyed by people coming up to him after the hit and yelling out "science!" to him. He also appears in the video (shown below), which was a staple of MTV airplay in 1983.

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