One of Thomas Dolby’s earliest singles (even before THAT song, I believe) was the incredible “Airwaves,” a song I think was tough for him to equal – it’s mellow and epic all at once, with mysterious lyrics and a fantastic bridge with great lines:Control has enabled
the abandoned wires again, but
the copper cables
all rust in the acid rain
that flood the subways with
elements of our corrosion
cable them to me.
Of course, when “Airwaves” was released as a single, the bridge was completely excised. Sigh.
“Airwaves” didn’t exactly burn up the charts – it was never even released as a single in the States. That ramps up the scarcity factor of today’s b-side, “The Wreck of the Fairchild,” a mostly instrumental funk/reggae/new wave stew with a pretty cool finish that segues directly back to its a-side. “Fairchild” sounds like a song in progress, something just waiting for a melody line to be written over it, but ultimately scrapped to an obscure b-side, never to appear on any other compilation or collection. Too bad – it would have been interesting to see it fleshed out, since it fits the vibe of Dolby’s first (and completely essential) album, "Golden Age of Wireless"
, which is in dire need of a deluxe re-mastering (complete with original mixes of “Radio Silence” and b-sides – c’mon, EMI). It was featured on the initial UK pressing of the LP, but quickly deleted and replaced by “One of Our Submarines” and a little-known song called “She Blinded Me With Science”.
Download “The Wreck of the Fairchild”.
And just because, here is the full version of “Airwaves”.”The Wreck of the Fairchild” was the b-side to “Airwaves,” released in 1982, and on the first UK pressing of “The Golden Age of Wireless”.