Tag Archives: Rock ‘n’ Roll Storytelling

THOMAS DOLBY’S JOIE DE VIVRE

Thomas Morgan Robertson turned 61 today, 14 October 2019. Better known by the stage name Thomas Dolby, the English musician, producer, entrepreneur and teacher; came to prominence in the 1980s, releasing hit singles including “She Blinded Me with Science” and “Hyperactive!”.

He has also worked in production and as a session musician. In the 1990s he founded a Silicon Valley sound technology company, Beatnik, whose technology was used to create the Nokia tune. He was also the Music Director for the TED Conference.

The stage name Thomas Dolby originated from a nickname that he picked up in the early 1970s, when he was “always messing around with keyboards and tapes”. His friends nicknamed him “Dolby”, from the name of the audio noise-reduction process of Dolby Laboratories used for audio recording and playback.

Though he never had many hits, Thomas Dolby became one of the most recognisable figures of the synthpop movement of early-80’s new wave. This was largely due to his skillful marketing. Dolby promoted himself as a kind of mad scientist, an egghead who had successfully harnessed the power of synthesizers and samplers & used them to make catchy pop and light electro-funk.

“I’m not a very proficient keyboard player, so the computer became my musical instrument … None of the equipment is essential, though. In a way, I was happier when I just had one monophonic synthesizer and a two-track tape deck.”

Before he launched a solo career, Dolby had worked as a studio musician, technician, and songwriter; his most notable work as a songwriter was “New Toy”, which he wrote for Lene Lovich, and Whodini’s “Magic’s Wand”.

In 1981 he went solo, which resulted in a number of minor hits and two massive hits: “She Blinded Me with Science” in 1982 and “Hyperactive” in 1984.

Happy birthday, Thomas Dolby! You blinded me with science!

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Featured image of Thomas Dolby via bandsintown.com

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RAY PETERSON: TELL LAURA I LOVE HER

On this day, 13 September, 59 years ago, a campaign was started in the UK to ban the American hit, teenage tragedy tune “Tell Laura I Love Her” by Ray Peterson. The song was being denounced in the press as likely to inspire a teen-age “glorious death cult.”

Released in 1960 on RCA Victor Records, reaching #7 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, it has been a hit in 14 countries and has sold over seven million copies.

The story told of a lovesick youngster, Tommy, who drives in a stock car race to win the hand of his sweetheart, Laura. He crashes, totally injured, and just before dying, groans out the words “Tell Laura I love her … My love for her will never die.”

An answer song, “Tell Tommy I Miss Him,” was released by Marilyn Michaels in 1960. A year later country singer Skeeter Davis released the same song on her album Here’s The Answer.

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THE KING MEMORIAL DAY: TOP 10 ELVIS MOVES

On this date, 16 August 1977, The King left the building, forever. Elvis Aaron Presley, America’s first and greatest rock-and-roll star, was 42.

The Mississippi-born musician with no formal training is still considered Billboard royalty, with 108 Billboard Hot 100 hits, the most of any rock artist in the chart’s history. His legacy includes a wide range of classics, everything from “Hound Dog” to “One Night.”

But besides his voice, there was nothing like the King’s hip-swiveling dance moves. Indeed by the late 1950s, the son of a sewing-machine operator and a truck driver had incurred the wrath of parents, pastors and even other entertainers, who considered his persona too vulgar and sexual. Yet that persona made countless teenaged girls swoon.

Today, those same dance moves have turned Elvis into one of the world’s most impersonated celebrates. And so to commemorate the King, we’ve put together an unforgettable mashup of Elvis’ 10 greatest moves. Dance along by bending your knees slightly, gyrating your hips, and feeling the rhythm in your pelvis. No doubt Elvis would have been delighted.

Happy Elvis Memorial Day. Long live the King.

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Paragraphs 2-4 via HuffPost. Featured image via HuffPost Australia.

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LP: LOST ON YOU

Was just introduced to this song by a friend. Damn, so hauntingly beautiful. And it’s got more than 308 million views on YouTube already. Didn’t know about her before. Where have I been?

Part Feist and part Joan Jett, genre-bucking Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Laura Pergolizzi, who operates under the stage name LP, emerged in the early 2000s with a vibrant blend of vulnerability, swagger, and steely hooks. Known for her elastic and expressive voice, which invokes names like Linda Perry, Gwen Stefani, and Chrissie Hynde.

Raised in New York on a steady diet of Joni Mitchell, the Doors, the Pretenders, Nirvana, and Jeff Buckley, Pergolizzi spent her formative years honing her craft in other band before relocating to California and releasing her 2001 solo album, Heart-Shaped Scar. She began to hit her stride in 2004 with her second outing, Suburban Sprawl & Alcohol. Her 200t appearance at SXSW prompted a bidding war, resulting a deal with Island.

A 2011 Citibank television commercial gained Pergolizzi a huge fan base viewers eagerly looked to the internet to discover the identity of the artist singing “Somebody left the gate open”—the track earned enough attention to warrant a CNN news piece. In 2016, Pergolizzi issued her much-anticipated fourth studio long-player, Lost on You.

• The second till the last paragraphs, originally written by James Christopher Monger.
• Featured image via Aspen Times.

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FICTION FACTORY: FEELS LIKE HEAVEN

There are happy synthpop songs. There are sad synthpop songs. And there are synthpop songs that instantly bring you to tears. Here’s one of them.

Don’t get fooled by the title: (Feels Like) Heaven. It talks about a bitter breakup, not a love story. One of my main anthems for gloomy days.

This classic track is by the Scottish band Fiction Factory and appears on their debut album Throw the Warped Wheel. It’s a regular feature on 1980s and new wave compilations. In 2016, the song was performed live by Manic Street Preachers during their Everything Must Go 20th Anniversary Tour.

Heaven is closer now today
The sound is in my ears
I can’t believe the things you say
They echo what I fear
Twisting the bones until they snap
I scream but no one knows
You say I’m familiar cold to touch
And then you turn and go

Feels like heaven ….

• Fiction Factory featured image via Nostalgia Central

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