Not only did Thomas Dolby become an avatar of the '80s synth-pop revolution, he transcended its tropes to show the genre could contain far more subtlety and sophistication than was commonly expected. Born Thomas Morgan Robertson on October 14, 1958 in London, he actually started out playing guitar, but eventually shifted to keyboards. Before striking out on his own, Dolby was a member of Bruce Wooley & The Camera Club, as well as a writer and keyboardist for other artists, working with Lene Lovich, Robyn Hitchcock, and Foreigner before releasing his solo debut album, The Golden Age of Wireless, in 1982. Ironically, seeing as how synth-pop has historically been more popular in the U.K. than the U.S., the album and its single "She Blinded Me With Science" made Dolby a new wave hero in America but didn't do much business in England. However, that dynamic flip-flopped with the follow-up, 1984's The Flat Earth and the funk-inflected single "Hyperactive," which brought Dolby his highest chart positions to date in the U.K. The album found Dolby branching out from his synth-pop base, moving further afield stylistically. His next couple of albums, the more danceable Aliens Ate My Buick and 1992's Astronauts & Heretics, an eclectic affair featuring everyone from Jerry Garcia to Eddie Van Halen, found his popularity waning, and Dolby didn't release another album for nearly 20 years. In the interim he worked as a designer of sonic technology and musical director of the TED conferences. After spending some time performing solo shows where he played everything himself surrounding by banks of gear, Dolby finally put out his fifth album, A Map of the Floating City, in 2011.