One Hit Wonders: Timbuk3 – The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades
Husband and wife duo Timbuk3’s 1986 debut single The Future’s So Bright… is something of a pop anomaly (with an equally oddball part-animated video).
What right did a twanging Fifties styled rock’n’roll tune – that had more in common with Link Wray than any of the synthpop that surrounded it – have to (almost) claw its way into the Top 20? Chris Spedding’s 1976 hit Motorbikin’ took a similar tack… With such sync-able lyrics, the track was liberally utilised on the big screen to accompany upbeat scenes in several films, amongst them Something Wild, My Best Friend’s A Vampire, Kuffs, Dream A Little Dream and Tommy Boy.
While most producers obviously saw it as a natural choice for the classic motivational montage, songwriter and singer Pat MacDonald was wondering why they’d chosen his song at all. According to Pat, it’s his protagonist, a young nuclear scientist, that has the bright future, with the inevitability of the decade ending with a nuclear holocaust as an – almost too oblique – background theme.
The pair stuck it to the man when they refused several lucrative ad offers from AT&T, Ford, the US Army and, you guessed it, Ray-Ban sunglasses.