Mister Heartbreak

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

Mister Heartbreak
Mister Heartbreak - Laurie Anderson.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 14, 1984
RecordedJuly – December 1983
StudioThe Lobby, RCA, A & R, 39th Street Music, New York City
GenreArt rock[1]
LabelWarner Bros.
ProducerLaurie Anderson
Bill Laswell
Roma Baran
Peter Gabriel
Laurie Anderson chronology
Big Science
Mister Heartbreak
United States Live
Singles from Mister Heartbreak
  1. "Sharkey's Day"
    Released: 1984

Like its predecessor, it contains reworked elements of Anderson's United States ("Langue d'Amour", "Kokuku", based on 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."[2] "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[citation needed], 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.[3] 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).

It has sold 44,000 copies in France.[4]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [5]
Rolling Stone     [6]
The Village VoiceA−[1]

Track listingEdit

All songs written by Laurie Anderson except as indicated.

Side oneEdit

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

Side twoEdit

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


Additional personnel



Year Chart Position
1984 The Billboard 200 60[7]
1984 Dutch Album Chart 23[8]
1984 Swiss Album Chart 19
1984 New Zealand Album Chart 12
1984 Swedish Album Chart 46
1984 UK Album Chart 93[9]


  1. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (March 24, 1984). "Christgau's Consumer Guide: Laurie Anderson: Mister Heartbreak". The Village Voice. Posted at "Consumer Guide Mar. 24, 1984". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 10 January 2012. Relevant portion also posted in "Laurie Anderson > Consumer Guide Reviews". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 14 April 2006.
  2. ^ "Silicon Valley Radio. Transcript of the Laurie Anderson Interview". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  3. ^ "Genesis News Com [it]: Peter Gabriel - So25: So DNA - Review". www.genesis-news.com. Retrieved 2020-02-15.
  4. ^ http://www.infodisc.fr/Ventes_Albums_Tout_Temps.php?debut=7500
  5. ^ Allender, Mark W.B. "Mister Heartbreak". Allmusic. Archived from the original on 10 January 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2005.
  6. ^ Loder, Kurt (April 12, 1984). "Laurie Anderson Mister Heartbreak > Album Review". Rolling Stone (419). Archived from the original on January 12, 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2006.
  7. ^ Mister Heartbreak - Laurie Anderson > Charts & Awards > Billboard Album at AllMusic. Retrieved 31 March 2006.
  8. ^ http://dutchcharts.nl/showitem.asp?interpret=Laurie+Anderson&titel=Mister+Heartbreak&cat=a
  9. ^ http://www.officialcharts.com/artist/19313/laurie-anderson/

External linksEdit