Laurie Anderson, 1976: A folk-rock singer-songwriter for 3.75 minutes at 45 rpm.

On October 13, 2011 by Will Hermes

“It’s Not the Bullet that Kills You (It’s the Hole)” is one of Laurie Anderson’s earliest recordings, one of twenty-four different 45s she had pressed up for an art installation at the Holly Solomon Gallery in 1977. Her piece was called Jukebox, and that’s what it was.

Only a few of the tracks were ever released. This turned up on a compilation called Airwaves (One Ten, 1977). “New York Social Life” became part of her extended performance work United States. “Bullet” was written for Anderson’s friend Chris Burden, an extreme performance artist who had recently had himself nailed to the hood of a Volkswagen.

If the song recalls the music of Kate & Anna McGarrigle, whose debut LP also came out in 1976, it might be the influence of Anderson’s friend and collaborator Roma Baran, who had just moved to New York from Montreal, where she used to play coffeehouses with the McGarrigles.

BTW, I’ll be speaking about Anderson’s work and reading from Love Goes To Buildings On Fire this Saturday at the Flynn Center in Burlington, VT, before Laurie’s performance of a new work, Delusion. More info here

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