There seems little point in me going on about this song, even though I’d maintain that it’s far more obscure than most people would admit.
Rare is the person over 25 who hasn’t heard this song, even though it was released exactly that many years ago. And the Freudian video remains in the collective consciousness as well. Yet together it is all that most people know about Dolby.
Dolby’s influence on American culture was – at one point – so pronounced that “Weird Al” Yankovic recorded a stylistic parody of Dolby’s “Hyperactive” in a song called “Slime Creatures From Outer Space.” While not a note-for-note parody like “Beat It”/”Eat It”, Dolby’s electrokinetic vocals, big beat and spasmic guitars were unmistakably nicked for the Yankovic song. Only if Dolby’s presence was so large, would such a song have any resonance.
Though it is unmistakably 80s, few could tell you the year or the album from whence the song came. Sure, you could say this about many one-hit wonders, but Dolby’s influence then was far greater, and his time spent in scoring and creating electronic music – including the creation of his own synthesizers – should have left him with a much more influential footprint than, say, Lipps, Inc.
And yet history has not been kind to Mr. Dolby, at least in this country. Perhaps, in part, because Dolby was too accomplished in creating a persona, even while music video was in its infancy. Dolby’s lesser profile as he reaches the silver anniversary of his best-known hit is not punishment, but rather the most likely result of a career based largely on image.
Then again, how many people enthusiastically sing along to something YOU did 25 years ago?