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Laurie Anderson

After briefly entering the mainstream pop radar in 1981 with her lone hit "O Superman," Laurie Anderson enjoyed a public visibility greater than virtually any other avant-garde figure of her era. Her infrequent forays into rock aside, Anderson nevertheless remained firmly grounded within the realm of performance art, her ambitious multimedia projects encompassing not only music but also film, visual projections, dance, and -- most importantly -- spoken and written language, the cornerstone of all of her work. Born in the Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn, Illinois on June 5, 1947, she studied violin as a teen; relocating to New York City at age 20, she later attended Barnard College, graduating with a B.A. in art history in 1969. After earning an M.F.A. in sculpture from Columbia University in 1972, Anderson taught art history and Egyptian architecture at City College; she mounted her first public performances a year later.

By 1976, Anderson was regularly mounting performances in museums, concert halls, and art festivals throughout North America and Europe; claiming to base all of her projects on the power of words and language, her work also emphasized visual imagery and cutting-edge technology, with pieces like 1980's Born, Never Asked, written for both orchestra and electronics. A year later, Anderson recorded "O Superman" for the tiny New York label 110 Records; an 11-minute single built around electronic drones and featuring opaque lyrics half-spoken and half-sung (in a voice sometimes electronically treated); this most unlikely hit became a smash in Britain, where it reached the number two spot on the national pop charts. Warner Bros. soon signed Anderson to record a full-length LP, and in 1982,she issued Big Science, a work drawn from a much larger project, the seven-hour multi-media performance United States.

With 1984's Mister Heartbreak, Anderson produced her most overtly pop-oriented work, teaming with artists including Peter Gabriel and Adrian Belew; the end result even reached the American Top 100. That same year, she also issued United States Live, a recorded document of the complete performance spread across a five-LP set. Anderson's next project, Home of the Brave, was a concert film; a year later, she also scored the Jonathan Demme/Spalding Gray film Swimming to Cambodia. A proper studio album, Strange Angels, did not follow until 1989; the next several years were devoted to performance tours, including 1990's Empty Places, 1991's Voices from the Beyond, and 1993's Stories from the Nerve Bible. In 1994, Anderson teamed with producer Brian Eno for Bright Red, also featuring her boyfriend Lou Reed; the following year she released the LP The Ugly One with Jewels as well as Puppet Motel, a CD-R confirming her ongoing interest in the latest technology. In 2001, Anderson issued Life On A String which contained songs from her large musical theater pieces Moby Dick and Strange Angels. In 2001, two weeks after the attacks on the World Trade Center, Ms. Anderson recorded a live album at Town Hall, New York City (on its cover werre the poignantwords "New York City, September 19-20, 2001." It was released as Live At Town Hall NYC in 2002. Ms. Anderson continued her appearance schedule but didn't record for another seven years when she began working on Homeland, which was released by Nonesuch in 2010. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

I could write volumes on Laurie Andersons genius. She is sublimely spellbinding in her deliverance of all her undertakings . Vocally, visuals, compositions and arrangements . Her ability to possess any instrument and the incredible knack of depth full story telling is seductively awesome.
wolftowolf
Laurie is what the word artist truly means. I was first attracted to her art when I learned she used a DEC-PDP 11/23 to synthesize much of her sound. (Yes, geek here). Then I began to listen to her lyrics, how she played on words and my admiration of her went to a whole new level.

I would give anything to watch a live performance and hope soon I can fulfill that dream. Ms. Anderson is raw, comforting, makes me question and so much more.

One word, iconic!
This woman literally changed my life. I remember the first time I heard her I was working on the costumes for the Hartford Ballet in a revival of Coucteau's La Parade. Picasso did the costumes for the original production and I was very intimidated and wasn't sure if we were going to pull it off but my partner played her and suddenly, I don't know exactly why, I felt I could do my version without worrying about living up to anyone's expectations but my own. I'm proud to say it was a hit .
Watching Laurie with her violin that is so , so , unique. I saw her in Saint Petersburg,F l . , and the house was packed. She was mesmerizing, funny and gee, I wish she would come back and perform again here. I have quite a few of her albums and four videos but, nothing, I repeat nothing beats seeing her perform live.
robroy sharkeys day sun comes up like a big bald head
One thing that drives me nuts about mr heartbreak is that I swear that on the original CD that I bought back in the 80's was the phrase Sun's coming up. Like a big fried egg. along with the one that occurs in both Sharkey songs. I remember the CD having a bonus track or something as well. But that phrase doesn't exist anywhere on the internet in relation to her music. The disk was accidentally destroyed, and the LP and CD I now have don't have the phrase anywhere...
cmf155
Saw many brilliant performances that still resonate as some of the best ever live shows I have seen.
The William S. Burroughs of music (think Naked Lunch) He even appeared with during performance.
ICON. BRILLIANT!!! ! dearly Adored.
Her and husband Lou should do an entire album together. .what a trip. .strange and beautiful..
lou reed says she inspires him
The sun came up then it went down and I had no control over it and I thought hmmm who is really in control here. Then a loud voice said, that's kinda stupid and I thought what is kinda stupid? Are you stupid? Stupid people never think that they are stupid. Then the voice said, are we back in the 7th grade or something because you sure as heck sound like it! And I thought I wish, cuz.
Bullshit. shame on you for your ignorant bio. you are heir apparent to your ignorance... . .
avant-garde and pop are not two different worlds Jimmy Hendrix showed that experiment and sound can work well together.
It still kind of baffles me how such an avant-garde artist could make such a great pop record like Strange Angels.
I've loved her works for years.
I have a hard time expressing exactly how much I LOVE this woman! There is so much that she's done that is absolute brilliance.
stonegardenp a t h s
A beautiful gift
Saw her live twice in Maryland. A must see for fans.
Her orchestra / techno is well crafted around her image-filled words. I have always appreciated this performance artist, and consider her to be highly sophisticate d in mirroring contemporary concerns in the most poignant and abstract ways. Consistently fresh.
richardmader
Nice, first time for me with her.
"I once met a guy who looked like he could have been a hat check clerk at an ice rink. Which, in fact, he turned out to be. And I said...oh boy, right again." It just does not get any better than that. It just doesn't.
The first time I heard Big Science I didn't know whether to hate it or love it, after listening all night it was love. What humor and sound advice.
It's cold outside, don't forget your mittens.
AN ASTOUNDING ARTIST IN THE TRUE SENSE OF IT'S MEANING!
gayle_tustin
Amazing ... simply marvelous ... awesome ! We share a vein ...
choperini117 0
Specifically , "Speak My Language", which is rocking my Charlotte Martin station RIGHT NOW.
choperini117 0
Laurie. Anderson. YOU. Rock my world.
lostbern09
out of the blue I was given a ticket to her performance in Ann Arbor, Michigan twenty years ago and I was hooked ...
muse3770
Every time I hear this track, I'm always enthralled.
i made a laurie anderson station partly to see if pando could.... they couldn't
She is not similar to anybody we ever heard of. she is not similar to anyone we ever heard. she is not similar to anyone. she is not similar.
choperini117 0
OHHHH I WISH I COULD SEE THIS LIVE!!!!!
choperini117 0
I also love how much she enjoys and plays with language! Keep bringing that into music, Laurie! I respect you very much!!!!!!!! !
choperini117 0
Really enjoy her--have downloaded "Tightrope" and "The Hollywood Strangler"-- b o t h recommended. Her voice is mesmerizing and perfect for spoken word.
don't miss her US I~IV great!!

not really similar to any pando is suggesting
Mister Heartbreak is one of those amazing records that stands outside of any catagorizati o n or musical trend. There is so much transporting beauty in every song.
stellarviole t
saw her live (twice), she is so charmingly unclassifiab l e - funny, wry, wicked-smart and ironic without pretense - creating a place to think and reflect on the absurd in a profound way and the profound in an absurd way. also, for entirely different reasons than the very sincere Swede who never got over reading Siddhartha, I will never look at Herman Hesse the same way again...

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