KPFA-FM Music Dept. ➔ Speaking of Music: Laurie Anderson, 1984, 1 of 2

Analog Audio

Event Type
Interview and Music
Program Series
Speaking of Music
Program Length
150 min
1 of 2
1985-02-23 | broadcast
| 1984-12-06 | created
In an interview recorded on December 6, 1984, before a live audience of 1000 as part of the San Francisco Exploratorium's Speaking of Music series, Charles Amirkhanian speaks with Laurie Anderson about songs from her album, “Mister Heartbreak.” Anderson discusses the inspirationfor many of the songs on that album including “Kokoku” and “Sharkey's Day.” In addition, the composer explains this album's departure from her former release, “Big Science,” which contained the hit song “O Superman.”

Laurie's sense of humor emerges in stories of her "past" lives, the controversy of extinct animal cloning, and a funny incident with her "clone" being spotted in New York City. Laurie discusses and plays the music of those who have influenced her through the years, including Ken Nordine, Bongo Joe, and Henry Fiol, as well as her immersion in Cuban music through club visits in uptown New York, and how it has affected the music on her latest album.

Laurie also discusses the origins and variations of the song "O Superman (for Massenet).” She plays a Jules Massenet piece sung by Charles Holland ("O Souverain") then her own "O Superman", as well as various bootleg/cover versions of "O Superman." She discusses the Eventide Harmonizer and illustrates the "three states of a song" by analyzing the song "Its Cold Outside" which was to become "Big Science" and by playing variations of both pieces. Laurie also delves into the transforming nature of technology, takes questions from the audience, and talks about writer William S. Burroughs.
New music
Popular music
Musical Selections
Kokoku (ca. 1984) (7:04) / Laurie Anderson -- Flibberty Jib (4:29) / Ken Nordine -- Listen At That Bull [excerpt] (1:33) / Bongo Joe (George Coleman) -- A Curious Phenomenon [from “United States”] (ca. 1983) (1:00) / Laurie Anderson -- It Was Up In The Mountains [from “United States”) (ca. 1983) (2:12) / Laurie Anderson -- [excerpt, unidentified piece] (1:34) / Henry Fiol -- [excerpt, unidentified piece] (0:16) / Henry Fiol --[excerpt, unidentified piece] (0:18) / Henry Fiol -- Sharkey's Day [a video] (ca. 1984) (4:05) / Laurie Anderson -- O Souverain (1885) (4:15) / Jules Massenet -- [excerpted remixes of “O Superman”] / [Various artists]
Charles Holland, voice (O Souverain)
Dennis Russell Davies, piano (O Souverain)
New music
Performance art
Popular music
Rock music
Monologues with music
Percussion music
Latin jazz
Songs (High voice) with piano
Funding for the preservation of this program made possible through a grant by Save America’s Treasures, a program of the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.