Sometimes it’s worth going through those old photographs…
Thomas Dolby has been a musician for decades, specializing in synthesizer and keyboard work while also singing lead vocal. By far, his best-known song is the 1980s hit “She Blinded Me With Science” but he’s had a string of mildly successful albums and some other songs that placed on the college charts.
His synthesizer work, ahead of what was a large pack of keyboardists who flourished in the 1980s, combined with his quirky lyrics to provide him with a fairly devoted fan base. Today he’s a Professor of the Arts at Johns Hopkins University, but he continues to sporadically play concerts which quickly sell out mid-sized venues.
To hear Dolby tell it, the movie Bohemian Rhapsody put him in mind of Live Aid. This is because as Freddie Mercury walked onto stage during that benefit concert, Dolby was able to watch from what he considers the best viewing seat possible… not backstage, but a helicopter hovering just above Wembley Stadium.
He was in the helicopter because he was helping his musical mentor deal with a severe fear of flying. His mentor, the man who convinced Dolby to pursue synthesizer work, was putting up with being in the helicopter because it was something he had to do… he was David Bowie, and he had promised to play the concert.
As Dolby was looking through some of his memorabilia of the event, he found a cache of photographs he’d taken from the day, both during the flight and afterward. He has since crafted them into a memorial to the musician few knew had any influence on his career, even though he was playing keyboards for Bowie during the most visible concert of the 1980s.
Question of the night: What’s one of your favorite songs to feature a keyboard (synthesizer or traditional piano)?