KPFA-FM Music Dept. ➔ Ode To Gravity: Laurie Anderson (Special Edition, II of IV), 2 of 2

Analog Audio

Event Type
Interview and Music
Program Series
Ode To Gravity
Program Length
114 min
2 of 2
1989-04-20 | broadcast
| 1984-12-06 | created
Having signed with Warner Brother Records, Laurie Anderson was soon to be at the height of her career in the mid-1980s. This interview/lecture from 1984 is incredibly insightful for both Anderson fans and those who have fond memories of the experimentation being done in the form of challenging and intelligent "pop" songs during the early to mid-1980s.

In Part 1 of this interview, recorded 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 influences on many of the songs on that album including “Kokoku” and “Sharkey's Day”. In addition, the composer explains this album's departure from her last 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, Henry Fiol as well as her immersion in Cuban music through club visits in uptown New York, and how it has affected her music on her latest album.

In Part 2, Laurie 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, the "three states of a song" while analyzing the song "Its Cold Outside" which was to become "Big Science" and listens to variations of both pieces. Laurie takes questions from the audience and then talks about writer William S. Burroughs.
New music
Popular music
Musical Selections
O Souverain (1885) / Jules Massenet -- O Superman / Laurie Anderson -- [excerpted remixes of “O Superman”] / [Various artists] -- It’s Cold Outside [excerpts] / Laurie Anderson -- Big Science [excerpt] / Laurie Anderson -- Big Science [Synclavier version, excerpt] / Laurie Anderson
Charles Holland, voice (O Souverain)
Dennis Russell Davies, piano (O Souverain)
American Composers Orchestra (It’s Cold)
Dennis Russell Davies, conductor (It’s Cold)
David Van Tieghem, percussion (Big)
New music
Popular music
Songs (High voice) with piano
Performance art
Rock music
Orchestral music
Monologues with music