Friday Song: “She Blinded Me With Science”

A quirky 1980s hit was the work of a serious musician with a raft of interesting credits

Thomas Dolby is the stage name of Thomas Morgan Robertson, who was the Music Director for TED Conferences from 2001-2012, and who is now a professor at Johns Hopkins, retaining his stage name for the job.

Dolby wrote and performed the 1985 song, “She Blinded Me With Science,” which he developed to go along with a video production he had in mind.

The script for the video preceded and shaped the song’s development, telling the story of a scientist who falls in love with his lab assistant (“Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto, you’re beautiful!”).

The song reached #5 on the charts in the US, and was Dolby’s only hit outside of the UK for the London-born artist.

Mutt Lange — the super-producer behind such acts as AC/DC, Def Leppard, Foreigner, Michael Bolton, The Cars, Bryan Adams, Huey Lewis and the News, Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Maroon 5, Lady Gaga, Shania Twain, and Muse — sang backup vocals on the track.

The two connected after Dolby submitted a tape to Lange when he was 19 and busking in Paris. As a result of this demo, he was invited to play the synth intro to “Waiting for a Girl Like You” and the signature synth sound on “Urgent”on Foreigner 4. He also played keys on Def Leppard’s Pyromania album under the pseudonym Booker T. Boffin.

Dolby has produced records for other artists, done other session work as a keyboard player, and written scores for video games.

Dolby’s brother is information scientist Stephen Robertson, a now-retired academic known for his work on probabilistic information retrieval.