The Golden Age of Wireless - Thomas Dolby

Has anyone ever heard this incredible album by this artist? I know he hasn’t done much - which is a shame- but this album truly is a jewel.

The album could be about a lot of things, but I see it as being about communication itself - its complexity, degredation, and how communication without some sort of relationship becomes utterly meaningless.

This has always been an Autumn album in my life. I remember when I was a kid I would dig this album out of my father’s rack, put the speakers to the windows and blast it all out the windows while I went crazy outside.

I’ve talked to some pretty big audiophiles and none of them have heard this album.

Yup, great album. I bought it on vinyl when it came out in 1982 and I used to listen to it a lot until I accidentally left in behind in a move. Dolby unfortunately is largely remembered for “She Blinded Me With Science” which is a goofy novelty song. But The Golden Age of Wireless had some beautiful songs with real emotional depth. It really should be better known.

Oh, yeah. Probably somewhere in my top 20 or so albums. That album drips with melancholy and longing. I got the cassette when it came out in the 80’s and several years ago bought the CD. I think the CD’s in my car right now. I was listening to it some time ago. If all you know about Thomas Dolby is “She Blinded Me with Science” then you don’t know Thomas Dolby.

Fantastic album. “Flying North,” stands out for me, but the whole album is great. Owned it on vinyl until I did the Great Vinyl Purge to Digital.

One of the few commercial albums I actually owned. As a kid, I got most of my music off the Top 40 stations and had to deal with disk jockeys at the start and finish of all my music. I wore out the casette as a freshman in college. It must have been the 1983 US release since it had “One of our Submarines.” I later got the CD of “Retrospectacle” which contained most of this album.

ETA, now I’m listening to it on my PC at work. I imagine Mr. Dolby would be gratified to see his work being enjoyed in the new media-less music paradigm.

Yup excellent album.

I also liked the obscure which Dolby played keyboards on, but it isn’t up to his solo stuff.

From the standpoint of releasing pop albums, this statement is true. However, he moved away from focusing on that in the early 90s, and was one of the pioneers in developing digital music formats (particularly for mobile phones). He’s also been the music director for the TED Conference for the past 12 years. It looks like he’s a busy, and very successful, guy, even if he rarely releases his own music any more.

(Oh, and I agree, Golden Age of Wireless is a fab album. :slight_smile: )

I have the first UK release on vinyl, the first US release on CD and the second US release on CD. I used to have the first UK release on cassette as well, but it broke long ago.

Aye, it’s a truly great album.

Am I the only Doper who saw his first (awesome) US tour in support of his 2nd album, The Flat Earth?

BTW, Mr. Dolby is touring right now.

This was one of my favorite albums in college - I have it on vinyl from those days, as well as on CD. The next album “The Flat Earth” while not as good as “Wireless” still has a great sound.

My fav Thomas Dolby album is “Astronauts & Heretics”.

A masterpiece of an album, Dolby has . One of our Submarines is one of my favorite songs of any artist, incredible synth chords booming from that one.

Seconded. From 1992, sounding absolutely nothing like his early work. I Love You, Goodbye is one of the songs in my pantheon.

“I Love You Goodbye” is a stunning requiem. My favorite TD song by far.

I’ll have to get that album.

I did not like much music from the 80’s, but I really liked Thomas Dolby’s “The Golden Age of Wireless.”

Which reminds me of something I’ve wondered for years: my brother and I both had copies of this album, with different versions of the song “Radio Silence”.

This is the version that was on my copy of the album.
This is the version that was on my brother’s copy of the album.

Anybody know the story behind the two different versions?

Great album. My favorite track is “Europa And The Pirate Twins”. Hauntingly beautiful, and the lyrics make me melancholy.

Dolby was on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast a few months. Really an interesting guy all around.

Loved this album, though like Bricker I purged it with most of the rest of my vinyl. “Europa” in particular was a favorite…years later when I heard Fountain of Wayne’s “Hackensack” it struck me as a kind of modern update to it.

Ta republique.

I don’t really have much to add to what’s already been said except to agree that “One of Our Submarines” and “Europa and The Pirate Twins” are both great songs.

I do. I have both versions.

The version that your brother has is the original version.

When the album was released in the US, the record company swapped out the original version of the song for one with guitars, prolly hoping to score radio airplay. This track had been the B-side of the single version of Radio Silence in the UK, IIRC. They also struck an instrumental called The Wreck of the Fairchild, replacing it with Leipzig and Urges (I think they were the A- and B- side of a single release, but I can’t remember which was which). They also used the edited version of Airwaves instead of the UK album version. Oh, and they changed the cover art from the pulp magazine version to a picture of Dolby from a play, which was first used as the cover to the single release of Europa and the Pirate Twins.

Your brother most likely bought his copy of the album in 1982 or 1983. If it’s the second song on the album, after opener She Blinded Me With Science, he bought it in 1983. If it’s like the 7th song, and the album opens with Europa and the Pirate Twins, he bought it in 1982.

You most likely bought your copy of the album after 1984 and Radio Silence is the 2nd song, right after Science.

The TL;DR version is that there were a number of different versions of the album in both the UK and the US, which is I why I own multiple copies. If you want all the different versions of these songs plus the stuff that was omitted from certain releases, Dolby released a wicked cool omnibus remastered edition in 2009. It’s generally only available in the US as an import, but with teh intertubez that’s not nearly as big a deal as it used to be.

IIRC both of our albums had the same cover art (the pulp magazine cover) and same track listing, just different versions of Radio Silence (track #2). I can’t say when my brother bought his copy but I’m thinking I bought mine around summer of 1983.

And now that you mention it, I do remember seeing/ hearing the version with Leipzig and Urges. I had forgotten about that one!