Hyperactive!

Album: The Flat Earth (1984)
Charted: 17 62
  • Thomas Dolby wrote this song for Michael Jackson. He told us: "I wrote it for him because I met with him right about the time that I was doing the video for 'She Blinded Me With Science' and he was down the hall doing the video for 'Billie Jean.' He was already a superstar, but this was before Thriller took off and went multi-platinum and so on.

    We became friendly and we talked a lot about grooves and about new techniques, and we both started by hip-hop and things like that. So he told me that, yeah, he was putting new material together, if I had anything to suggest to put his way, then to make him a demo. So, in fact, on the plane back from L.A. to London I put on my headphones and I came up with this groove and bass line for 'Hyperactive!' and a melody, and I did send it to him. And he said in the end it wasn't appropriate for the new album that he was doing. So that didn't work out. But by that time, I was in love with the song, so I did it myself."
  • Dolby told us that he did not write the song based on Michael Jackson's personality, but more his own. "I think it described my personality as a kid, if anything," he said.
  • This was Dolby's biggest hit in the UK, and after "She Blinded Me With Science," his biggest in America. The song and video were both quite innovative, but didn't demonstrate the storytelling that Dolby puts into his more serious work, which his fans appreciate but has little commercial appeal. Said Dolby: "I think that the more extroverted side of my songwriting was what made the biggest splash on the commercial mainstream in the '80s. But anybody that's listening to the albums or came to see me live realized that there was a much more personal and sort of intimate atmospheric side to my music. And during the 20 years that I was away, it was really that music people were talking about. There was this up-swelling of discussion on the Internet about my music and how I set up the chords and the interpretation of the lyrics, and a whole bunch of tribute covers and things like that. And the songs they were talking about were not 'She Blinded Me With Science' or 'Hyperactive!,' they were songs like 'Screen Kiss' and 'Budapest Blimp' and 'I Love You Goodbye.'" (Read more in our full interview with Thomas Dolby.)

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