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Mister Heartbreak

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Title: Mister Heartbreak  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Laurie Anderson, Laurie Anderson albums, Sang Won Park, Home of the Brave (soundtrack), Chuck Hammer
Collection: 1984 Albums, Albums Produced by Bill Laswell, Laurie Anderson Albums, Warner Bros. Records Albums
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Mister Heartbreak

Mister Heartbreak
Studio album by Laurie Anderson
Released February 14, 1984
Recorded July 1983 – December 1983, The Lobby, RCA, A & R, 39th Street Music, New York
Genre Avant-garde
Experimental music
Pop music
Length 40:16
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Laurie Anderson
Bill Laswell
Roma Baran
Peter Gabriel
Laurie Anderson chronology
Big Science
Mister Heartbreak
United States Live

Mister Heartbreak is the second album by avant-garde artist, singer and composer Laurie Anderson, released in 1984.

Like its predecessor, it contains reworked elements of Anderson's United States ("Langue d'Amour," "Kokuku," (musical elements from "Rising Sun") and "Blue Lagoon." However, Anderson also introduced new material ("Sharkey's Day"/"Sharkey's Night" and "Gravity's Angel") while "Excellent Birds," written in collaboration with Peter Gabriel, was written for a 1984 project for video artist Nam June Paik called Good Morning, Mr. Orwell.

"Gravity's Angel" borrows imagery from Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. Anderson had "wanted to make an opera of that book ... and asked him if that would be OK... He said, 'You can do it, but you can only use banjo.' And so I thought, 'Well, thanks. I don't know if I could do it like that."[1] "Blue Lagoon" contains allusions to other tales of the sea (William Shakespeare's The Tempest (Ariel's song) and Herman Melville's Moby-Dick).

Considered more mainstream than its predecessor, Big Science, the album's lead track, "Sharkey's Day" formed the basis of a popular music video. Author William S. Burroughs read the lyrics of the closing track, "Sharkey's Night", while Peter Gabriel provided vocals on "Excellent Birds", an alternate version of which, titled "This is the Picture (Excellent Birds)", also appeared on his album So. A third version of the song can be heard in the music-video version, directed by Dean Winkler.

Most of the songs on this album were later performed in Anderson's 1986 concert film Home of the Brave. Burroughs appears in that film and appears in two brief segments reciting lines from "Sharkey's Night", although it is Anderson herself who performs a complete version of the song at the film's conclusion. "Sharkey's Night" featured in the Australian short Documentary film Ladies Please! (1995).

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [2]
Robert Christgau A− [3]
Rolling Stone [4]


  • Track listing 1
    • Side one 1.1
    • Side two 1.2
  • Personnel 2
    • Additional personnel 2.1
  • Charts 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Track listing

All songs written by Laurie Anderson except as indicated.

Side one

  1. "Sharkey's Day" – 7:41
  2. "Langue d'Amour" – 6:12
  3. "Gravity's Angel" – 6:02

Side two

  1. "Kokoku" – 7:03
  2. "Excellent Birds" (Anderson, Peter Gabriel) – 3:12
  3. "Blue Lagoon" – 7:03
  4. "Sharkey's Night" (Anderson, Burroughs) – 2:29


Additional personnel


Year Chart Position
1984 The Billboard 200 60[5]
1984 Duch Album Chart 23[6]
1984 Swiss Album Chart 19
1984 New Zealand Album Chart 12
1984 Swedish Album Chart 46
1984 UK Album Chart 93[7]


  1. ^ "Silicon Valley Radio. Transcript of the Laurie Anderson Interview". Retrieved 5 June 2012. 
  2. ^ Allender, Mark W.B. "Mister Heartbreak".  
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 24, 1984). "Christgau's Consumer Guide: Laurie Anderson: Mister Heartbreak".  
  4. ^  
  5. ^ - Laurie Anderson > Charts & Awards > Billboard AlbumMister Heartbreak at AllMusic. Retrieved 31 March 2006.
  6. ^
  7. ^

External links

  • Mister Heartbreak at Myspace (streamed copy where licensed)
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