From the Stacks

From The Stacks: Thomas Dolby, ‘The Golden Age of Wireless’

If you’re fascinated by alternate versions of the same album, The Golden Age of Wireless is the record for you.

First released in 1982 on Dolby’s own label, Venice In Peril, the UK edition does not include the album’s biggest hit, “She Blinded Me With Science.”  It does, however, feature the album artwork that most of us are familiar with:

The first US version was released in 1982 on the Harvest label. That’s the one that’s featured here, and it doesn’t include “She Blinded Me With Science,” either. That’s not all: Compared to the UK first pressing, one song is gone (“The Wreck of the Fairchild,”), two are added (“Urges,” “Leipzig,”) and two are alternate versions (“Airwaves,” “Radio Silence”). For no apparent reason, the super cool UK album cover art was tacked onto the back cover as a teeny image, and a less interesting photo graced the front.

The third version is the 1983 US version on Capitol that you’re probably familiar with–the one with the original UK cover and “She Blinded Me With Science” as the lead tracks. There are other track changes, too, but that’s the big one.

The fourth version takes us back to the UK and the Venice in Peril label, which now contains a shorter version of “She Blinded Me With Science” than the US version on Capitol. It also contains “One of Our Submarines,” which appeared on the Capitol re-release. Whew!

So where did Americans go for that short version of “She Blinded Me With Science”? To version number five, the 1984 US Capitol CD. Four other tracks on the CD are alternate versions culled from the four previous releases.

All five versions remain affordable–let’s call it 5-10 bucks each–so amaze your “I just stream the songs I like” friends and buy them all. Happy hunting.

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