Wednesday, June 05, 2019

WACKY WEDNESDAY: Paging Ms. Anderson, White Courtesy Telephone, Please

Laurie Anderson
Photo by Deborah Feingold
Seventy two years ago today a girl named Laurie Anderson was born in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She grew up to be an artist -- a master of all kinds of art -- music, visual, film, performance artist, spoken-word artist, multi-media artist ... and though she never claimed to be a comic, and isn't in the traditional sense, her wry and twisted humor is an important part of her work.

I'm pretty sure the first time I ever heard Laurie Anderson was in the early '80s on Dr. Demento's show. She didn't really fit in with most of the doc's material -- Weird Al, "Dead Puppies," Shaving Cream" etc. (Though I bet she'd appreciate Barnes & Barnes' Demento hit "Fish Heads,") But Demento apparently got a kick out of "O Superman" and the show won her a lot of fans -- like me.

Here's the song that first made us all fall in love with Laurie.



That song appeared on her first album, Big Science in 1982. Then in 1984 she released next record, Mister Heartbreak, which came up like a big bald head. I still believe this was the greatest album of the '80s. It opened with this song ...


In 1986 Laurie released a concert film called Home of the Brave, which, I thought was even better than The Taking Heads' Stop Making Sense, which came out a couple of years before. This song, full of joyful craziness, was one of the highlights:


This quickie appeared on Laurie's 4-record box set United States Live.



By the mid 90s, Laurie became romantically involved with Lou Reed. (They married in 2008) Lou dedicated his 1996 album Set the Twilight Reeling to Laurie and I always thought that this song, my favorite from that album was about her. I could imagine Laurie being surrounded by ex-lovers who just wanted to be around her -- and Lou fantasizing about throwing them off the roof.



Finally here's a PSA (personal service announcement) by the birthday girl. She actually did several of these, which reportedly ran on VH-1 in the early '90s.



Happy Birthday, Laurie!

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