The Speed of Sound
by Thomas Dolby

Flatiron Books

It won’t surprise many that the Thomas Dolby song She Blinded Me with Science began life as a storyline for a music video. In the 1980s, when creative directors were introducing narratives into their clips, the British musician dreamt up a plot set in a home for deranged scientists. EMI’s video department thought it was cute and asked: “Where’s the song?” A couple of days later, Dolby had written it. Unfairly remembered as a one-hit wonder, Dolby has achieved much more during his three-decade career, all entertain­ingly recounted in The Speed of Sound. As a musician, he attracted Joni Mitchell, David Bowie and even Michael Jackson but, broadly, he should be remembered most for helping break down barriers between music and technology. Not bad for someone who got his start with a Transcendent 2000 synthesiser found in a dumpster. Dolby’s story – other achievements include his polyphonic ringtone for Nokia – is satisfying in underscoring his quirkiness, geekiness and genius.