Laurie Anderson – O Superman / Walk The Dog (1981)

“‘O Superman’ is a 1981 song by performance artist and musician Laurie Anderson. … In writing the song, Anderson drew from the aria “Ô Souverain, ô juge, ô père” (O Sovereign, O Judge, O Father) from Jules Massenet‘s 1885 opera Le Cid. She got the idea after seeing the aria performed in concert by African-American tenor Charles Holland. The first lines (‘O Superman / O Judge / O Mom and Dad’) especially echo the original aria (‘Ô Souverain / ô juge / ô père’). Susan McClary suggests in her book Feminine Endings that Anderson is also recalling another work by Massenet, his 1902 opera Le jongleur de Notre-Dame. The opera is one in which the arms of the mother—the Virgin Mary—embrace/bless the dying Rodrigo. Overlaid on a sparse background of two alternating chords formed by the repeated spoken syllable ‘Ha’ created by looping with an Eventide Harmonizer, the text of ‘O Superman’ is spoken through a vocoder. A saxophone is heard as the song fades out, and a sample of tweeting birds is subtly overlaid at various points within the track. The two chords of the song are A major and C minor, the repeating ‘Ha’ syllable (a C note) acting as a drone. The song’s introduction consists of a repetition of the ‘O Superman / O Judge / O Mom and Dad’ stanza. …”
O Superman — Laurie Anderson’s experimental hit proved to be uncannily prophetic
Laurie Anderson, Terry Riley, John Zorn (Video)
Selective Synthesis: “O Superman” (Video)
Genius (Audio)
YouTube: O Superman [Official Music Video] (Live)
YouTube: O Superman / Walk The Dog


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