Thomas Dolby

The mad scientist of 1980s synth pop, Thomas Dolby's boundary-pushing, oddball electro made him one of the most acclaimed producers of the era. A technological wiz who was always fiddling with keyboards and tape decks as a schoolboy, Thomas Robertson was nicknamed Dolby by his friends after the audio company, and took the name professionally so as to avoid confusion with singer Tom Robinson. Originally a session musician and technician, he played keyboards for Foreigner and Def Leppard and wrote songs for Lene Lovich before making his name with the hit She Blinded Me With Science which reached Number 5 in the US charts. Mixing synths with funk, electro and new wave pop, debut album The Golden Age Of Wireless (1982) cemented his reputation for strange sonic experiments while his work with rap group Whodini produced Magic's Wand, one of the first million selling hip-hop singles. Second album The Flat Earth (1984) featured Robyn Hitchcock and Bruce Woolley and scored the hit Hyperactive!, becoming increasingly eccentric on later albums Aliens Ate My Buick (1988) and Astronauts & Heretics (1992). He produced albums for Prefab Sprout, Joni Mitchell and George Clinton before returning in 2011 with the online game and album A Map Of The Floating City, which included guest contributions from Imogen Heap, Regina Spektor and Mark Knopfler.

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