Monday, July 18, 2011

1981: Well you don't know me, but I know you

When I recently played this song to someone about seven years younger than me, he looked baffled. He'd never heard it. Ever. I couldn't believe it. At the time it was all over the radio, and it wouldn't be out of place to hear it on the Radio 1 breakfast show. It was a big hit after all. It reached No.2 in the charts. Then again, in 1981 I was 16, he was nine, so it's understandable.

But doesn't it just show how soon we forget? That song was unique in its length, composition, subject matter - everything about it. It was chilling and creepy. It was a real one-off by a woman known more for her performance art credentials than having chart hits. But there you go. It's now as distant a memory as Clare Francis or Stars On 45.

Anyhoo, this song reminds me of getting ready for school, autumn '81. Living with a friend and his family and it's not going to well. They're skint and we've got nothing in common anymore. How quickly we found that out. A shame though, as I think fondly of him now. But they did get the Radio Times and TVTimes delivered on a regular basis and I was all over that. Oh, and Meg left Crossroads. It was a grim time.

Rather than the Laurie official vid, here's Zoo. You HAVE to see this.


  1. It's the longest single of the 1980s, I think.

  2. I remember seeing the title in the charts and being disappointed that it wasn't actually about Superman. This might have been the only time I experienced it at the time, as I didn't really start listening to Radio 1 until the end of 1981. I do love it, though.

    There's a very nice remix at...

  3. Outstanding choreography! My word!

    I have always loved this song. I remember Roger Scott used to play it on Capital Radio when it came out and it mesmerised me. I actually went to see Laurie Anderson a few weeks ago when she was on down here. She didn't do 'Oh Superman', but she was incredibly impressive. And she's married to Lou Reed, so deserves a medal.

  4. It must have been on the breakfast show - as it makes me think of having cereal before running for the bus..

    Incredible a Matthew Bourne ballet in some ways

  5. See, it's had quite an effect on us all. And when was the last time a record you heard on the radio did that?