Over the years, there have been several pop acts that have featured a married couple. In the 80s, these included Nu Shooz, Techno Twins (who I gushed over in a piece a while ago), and also this one. Timbuk 3 were an American group who formed in the mid-80s, and their earliest line-up consisted of Pat and Barbara MacDonald, and a tape machine. I presume that Pat was married to Barbara and not the tape machine.
Their first album was “Welcome To Timbuk 3”, and the only hit single that they had from this or any other album in this country was released in January 1987. “The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades” reached no. 21 in the UK, and did slightly better in America, reaching no. 19. When the album was released in February 1987, this reached no. 51 in the UK, and went one place better at no. 50 in America.
There are some reasons why despite the fact this wasn’t a big hit it still manages to stand out to me. Firstly, there is the rather unusual video, which features some computer-generated images that have had a real mouth put over them to create a rather creepy visual effect. And the video along with the album cover also features a donkey. This is clearly where everything is not what it first seems.
And although you would think from the title that this might be an optimistic song, it is believed to probably be about nuclear war. During the 80s, it is rather odd to think that whatever a song sounded like, when a group were asked what it was about, they often said it was nuclear war. There seemed to be a time when every other song on the chart was a comment on the situation, there was a real fear about the future.
This was a group that had created an entertainingly quirky song, but Timbuk 3 would go on to have no more hits in the UK after this, and they would go on to release six albums all together, the last of these being in 1995, which was also when the MacDonalds divorced. I wonder who got the tape recorder. It turned out that maybe the future wasn’t so bright for them. Whether they like it or not, this will always be the song that they will be best remembered for, a great one-hit wonder of the 80s.