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Here Lies Love is a concept album and rock musical made in collaboration between David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, about the life of the former First Lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos along with the woman who raised her—Estrella Cumpas—and follows Marcos until she and her family were forced to leave the Philippines.[1] The album features 22 guest vocalists and was released on 5 April 2010, under Nonesuch Records and Todomundo in several formats, including a deluxe double-Compact Disc set with a DVD of music videos from the album and a 120-page book.

Here Lies Love
Here Lies Love.jpg
Soundtrack album by
Released5 April 2010 (2010-04-05)
Recorded2008–2009 at South Hell Studios, New York City, United States
ProducerDavid Byrne, Fatboy Slim, Cagedbaby (Thomas Gandey, Patrick Dillett and Los Amigos Invisibles
David Byrne chronology
Everything That Happens Will Happen on This Tour – David Byrne on Tour: Songs of David Byrne and Brian Eno
Here Lies Love
Live at Carnegie Hall
Fatboy Slim chronology
Here Lies Love
Bem Brasil
Singles from Here Lies Love
  1. "Please Don't"
    Released: 19 January 2010

The album was adapted as a rock musical that premiered in 2013 off-Broadway at The Public Theater and ran again at the Public in 2014–2015. It also played at the Royal National Theatre's Dorfman Theatre in 2014–2015 and the Seattle Repertory Theatre in 2017.[2]


The title of the album is taken from a comment made by Imelda during a visit to her husband Ferdinand Marcos's embalmed body. Imelda expressed that she would like the phrase "Here Lies Love" to be inscribed on her tombstone.[3] David Byrne released the following statement regarding this album:

The story I am interested in is about asking what drives a powerful person—what makes them tick? How do they make and then remake themselves? I thought to myself, wouldn't it be great if—as this piece would be principally composed of clubby dance music—one could experience it in a club setting? Could one bring a "story" and a kind of theatre to the disco? Was that possible? If so, wouldn't that be amazing![citation needed]

Recording and releaseEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [4]
The A.V. ClubB+[5]
Mojo     [7]
NME          [8]
One Thirty BPM53%[9]
Pitchfork Media5.0/10[10]
Q     [11]
Rolling Stone     [12]
The Daily Telegraph     [13]
The Times     [14]

The studio album features female singers including Florence Welch, Allison Moorer, Nellie McKay, Cyndi Lauper, Tori Amos, Martha Wainwright, Natalie Merchant, Sia Furler, Santigold, Charmaine Clamor, Nicole Atkins, Sharon Jones and Kate Pierson, alternately playing the roles of Imelda Marcos and Estrella Cumpas. "It's a series of 22 very danceable songs…" wrote Byrne, "…and is sung by 20, count 'em, 20, amazing singers. A theater piece for your ears."[15]

Byrne described Cyndi Lauper's performance as "amazingly fine-tuned" and "very impressive." The only male vocalists are Steve Earle on "A Perfect Hand", and Byrne himself on "American Troglodyte" and "Seven Years", the latter a duet with Shara Worden from My Brightest Diamond.[16]

The first promotional single was "Please Don't", featuring Santigold on vocals. The single became available on Byrne's website as a free high-quality MP3 download on 19 January 2010.

Live performancesEdit

Here Lies Love
A promotional poster of the performers from the album, illustrated by Scott Menchin
MusicDavid Byrne with Norman Cook
LyricsDavid Byrne
Productions2006 Adelaide Bank Festival of Arts
2007 Carnegie Hall Perspectives Series
2013 The Public Theater

Here Lies Love was performed live four times before the album was released. It was first presented as a song cycle (with vocals by Byrne, Dana Diaz-Tutaan and Ganda Suthivarakom) at the Adelaide Festival of Arts under the artistic direction of Brett Sheehy in Adelaide, Australia, on 10 March 2006 with additional dates on 13 and 14 March, and was also performed live at the Carnegie Hall in New York City on 3 February 2007, as part of the Carnegie Hall Perspectives Series.[17]

Track listingEdit

Disc one
  1. "Here Lies Love"
  2. "Every Drop of Rain"
  3. "You'll Be Taken Care Of"
  4. "The Rose of Tacloban"
  5. "How Are You?"
  6. "A Perfect Hand"
  7. "Eleven Days"
  8. "When She Passed By"
  9. "Walk Like a Woman"
  10. "Don't You Agree?"
  11. "Pretty Face"
  12. "Ladies in Blue"
Disc two
  1. "Dancing Together"
  2. "Men Will Do Anything"
  3. "The Whole Man"
  4. "Never So Big"
  5. "Please Don't"
  6. "American Troglodyte"
  7. "Solano Avenue"
  8. "Order 1081"
  9. "Seven Years"
  10. "Why Don't You Love Me?"

DVD videosEdit

  1. "Eleven Days"
  2. "When She Passed By"
  3. "Don't You Agree?"
  4. "Dancing Together"
  5. "Please Don't"
  6. "Order 1081"

Stage adaptationEdit

The album was adapted into a stage musical, directed by Alex Timbers, that premiered off-Broadway at The Public Theater in New York City in 2013. It starred Ruthie Ann Miles in the title role, with Jose Llana as Ferdinand Marcos and Conrad Ricamora as Ninoy Aquino.[18][19][20] The production played an extended run at the Public before closing in August 2013.[21] It returned for an open-ended commercial run again at the Public in April 2014. The production closed at the Public on January 4, 2015.[22][23] The production won five Lucille Lortel Awards in 2014.[24]

The musical, directed once again by Timbers, opened at the Royal National Theatre in September 2014,[25][26] and played a limited, sold out run through January 2015 at the National's newly renovated Dorfman Theatre. The London-based production was nominated for three Olivier Awards in 2015 (Best New Musical, Outstanding Achievement in Music, and Best Theatre Choreographer).[27]

A revamped production from the original Off-Broadway creative team, with the intention of recreating the immersive elements in a proscenium theater, was staged at the Seattle Repertory Theater from April 7 to May 28, 2017 (extended to June 18 after strong ticket sales).[28] Notable returning actors included Conrad Ricamora and Melody Butiu reprising their roles from the original Off-Broadway cast as Ninoy Aquino and Estrella Cumpas, respectively, Mark Bautista from the London cast reprising his role as Ferdinand Marcos, and replacement actor Jaygee Macapugay reprising her role as Imelda Marcos from the Off-Broadway cast.[29]


  1. ^ "About "Here Lies Love"; Here Lies Love". David Byrne. Retrieved 20 February 2011.
  2. ^ Clement, Olivia. "Here Lies Love to Play at Seattle Rep". Playbill. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  3. ^ Video on YouTube
  4. ^ Collar, Matt. "Review: Here Lies Love". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 April 2010.
  5. ^ "A. V. Club review".
  6. ^ "BBC review".
  7. ^ "Mojo review".
  8. ^ "NME review".
  9. ^ "One Thirty BPM review". by Rob Hakimian
  10. ^ "Pitchfork review".
  11. ^ "Q review".
  12. ^ "Rolling Stone review".
  13. ^ "Telegraph review". The Daily Telegraph. London. 1 April 2010.
  14. ^ Cairns, Dan (4 April 2010). "The Times review". London.
  15. ^ email from, 06/04/2010
  16. ^ Ayers, Michael D. (14 December 2009). "David Byrne Announces Upcoming Album With Fatboy Slim". Spinner. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
  17. ^ "David Byrne Tour Index". Retrieved 20 February 2011.
  18. ^ "David Byrne's "Here Lies Love" to Premiere at NYC's Public Theater in April 2013". Nonesuch Records. 9 April 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2012.
  19. ^ Soloski, Alex (6 October 2009). "Imelda Marcus Gets the Ol' Song and Dance at Julia Miles Theater". The Village Voice. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
  20. ^ Brantley, Ben. "A Rise to Power, Disco Round Included", The New York Times, 23 April 2013, accessed 7 April 2014
  21. ^ 'Here Lies Love' Will Return to the Public Theater. The New York Times. January 21, 2014.
  22. ^
  23. ^ Hetrick, Adam (18 April 2013). "Public Theater Announces Second Extension of David Byrne-Fatboy Slim Musical Here Lies Love". Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  24. ^ "Here Lies Love Cast Album Out Today + Lortel Award Wins!". David Byrne. 6 May 2014.
  25. ^ Full cast announced for National's Here Lies Love. July 25, 2014.
  26. ^ David Byrne tells Imelda Marcos story as disco musical. BBC News. October 1, 2014.
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 April 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ Hetrick, Adam (19 December 2016). "Exclusive: Revamped Here Lies Love Will Be Tested in Seattle With Eye on the Future". Playbill.
  29. ^

External linksEdit