Thursday, August 14, 2008

Here Come the Planes

In 1982 (I know, I know, some of you weren't even born then; others were simply not paying attention. Spare me) according to our good friends at Wikipedia the Grammy nominations for best song were:

Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do) performed by Christopher Cross, (Just Like) Starting Over performed by John Lennon, Endless Love performed by Lionel Richie, Just the Two of Us performed by Bill Withers & Grover Washington, Jr.

Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes won. Maybe not paying attention wasn't such a bad idea.

However, also in 1982, I went to a show of a performer I'd never heard of and was absolutely dazzled. Laurie Anderson and her United States tour was the smartest, wittiest, most fascinating thing I'd ever seen. Flawless. It more than just the music, which was weird and intriguing, it was the way the sounds and the visuals of the show (I think this was the one where she held a light bulb in her mouth) worked together. Listening to the album now, I can still remember how images on the screen behind her or even just phrases projected there would change the meaning of the song or make it funny or involve the audience in on the joke.

There aren't many things I look back on as being in the right place at the exactly right time, but that show in New Orleans when I was young and interested in being wowed was one of them.

And long cars in long lines and great big signs and they all say: Hallelujah. Yodellayheehoo. Every man for himself. Ooo coo coo.


  1. Loved this post. Makes me wish I was there. And I was born, though not all that aware.

  2. Miss J hasn't listened to this in years. What a great album. YES- album. As in made of vinyl as things were back in the day.

  3. Oh, I drove across country in January 1990 listening to almost nothing but "Strange Angels." Yes, we stopped at Graceland, and yes, it was mystical, revelatory, and fabulous.

    And I said: Hello Operator
    Get me Memphis Tennessee
    And she said: I know who you're tryin to call darlin'
    And he's not home he's been away
    But you can hear him on the airwaves
    He's howlin' at the moon
    Yeah this is your country station
    And honey this next one's for you...

  4. Ah, 1982 in NO. Bad year for me.

    But I think I might have barely heard of Laurie Anderson then. We'd had cable for a year then and I might have seen her on NightFlight.
    Of course, I wasn't able to cross the river alone at that age, so there'd be no way I could have ever seen her.

  5. An all-time great album. I still remember the first time I heard "O Superman".

    Smoking? Or nonsmoking?


In Which We Take a Trip

  I was reminded of the following story by this charming illustration I stumbled across on Tumblr.  It is a sheet of blotter acid from back ...