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Today's ear X-tacy: Timbuk 3 "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades"

Today's ear X-tacy features a classic track or deep-cut from the Alternative era every weekday at 10:10.

Timbuk 3, the husband and wife duo Pat MacDonald and Barbara Kooyman, released their debut album, Greetings From Timbuk 3, in 1986. The opening track, "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades," was released as their first single on October25, 1986. It was the band's only mainstream hit.

The inspiration for the song, and the title specifically, came when Barbara, who was feeling good about their personal and band situation said to Pat, "The future is looking so bright, we'll have to wear sunglasses!" Pat heard the comment as an ironic quip and wrote down instead, "The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades.”

Pat, who wrote the song, revealed on VH1's 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s that the meaning of the song was widely misinterpreted as a positive perspective in regard to the near future. He said that it was, contrary to popular belief, a "grim" outlook. While not saying so directly, he hinted at the idea that the bright future was in fact due to impending nuclear holocaust.

Despite the true intent of its meaning, listening audiences heard an optimistic feel good tune that actually became a popular graduation theme song.

“The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” was the first song to be played on WFPK! Laura Shine had the honor of airing it at 6am on January 8th, 1996. - The future of WFPK has been bright!

John is the mid-morning host on WFPK. Email John at jtimmons@lpm.org