10. Thomas Dolby
The man behind one of the most quintessential hits of the ‘80s, “She Blinded Me With Science,” has always blazed his own trail through the pop culture landscape. After the success of “Science,” Dolby released a string of less successful but wildly diverse albums (guests included Jerry Garcia and Eddie Van Halen) before retiring from pop music in 1993 to found Beatnik, a music technology company instrumental in the development of ringtones. He’s also served since 2001 as the musical director of the TED Conferences, an influential series of “riveting talks by remarkable people” whose guest speakers have included Malcolm Gladwell and Steve Jobs. On Oct. 25, Dolby will release his first album in nearly 20 years, “A Map of the Floating City,” an “imaginary travelogue” accompanying a multiplayer online game of the same name (available at FloatingCity.com). The album may surprise fans of Dolby’s best-known hit; it’s divided into electronic, acoustic and ambient sections dubbed “Urbanoia,” “Amerikana” and “Oceanea,” and features cameos by Mark Knopfler and Regina Spektor.