Laurie Anderson. (1981). O Superman. United States: One Ten Records; Warner Bros. Records. ASIN: B000Q67G1Y

Since her 1981 single O Superman hit the pop charts in England, Laurie Anderson has remained on the forefront of the genre. Indeed, any curated or edited work about performance art, or the blending of music with art, the spoken word and multi-media, will include Laurie Anderson. Described as both brilliant and boring, many believe this piece foresees the September 11th tragedy.

Bad Brains. Bad Brains.

Blondie. (1978). Parallel Lines. United States: Capital. Vinyl ASIN: B000YT2K64; CD: ASIN: B0000087QO

The first Blondie album produced by Mike Chapman, Parallel Lines contains some of this New York City punk/new wave band’s most popular singles such as “Heart of Glass”, “Hanging on the Telephone” and “One Way or Another”. Parallel Lines sold over 20 million copies world wide and ranks number 140 on Rolling Stones list of 500 greatest albums of all time.

Extra performances were added in 1980 when the Clash played Bond’s during their Sandanista! Tour.

The Clash. The Clash.


The Clash. (1979). London Calling. United States: Sony. Vinyl  ASIN: B0006Q0XDW; CD ASIN: B00004BZ0N
This double album was declared the best album of the 1980’s by Rolling Stone magazine, and established The Clash to the US market as one of Britain’s greatest punk-rock bands. The band’s politicized lyrics and musical sampling of punk rock, reggae, ska, rockabilly and traditional rock still influences musicians today.

Dead Boys. (1977). Young Loud and Snotty. London: Sire/Rhino.[CD ASIN: B000005JBF

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.(1982). The Message.
United States: Sugarhill Records, LTD. Vinyl  ASIN: B002BTYNPQ; CD  ASIN: B00006F2XV

At the time when music was being explored as an assemblage or collage form, Flash (Joseph Saddler) was developing a reputation at Bronx street parties. He could assemble pieces of records into complete new workouts, something everybody takes for granted today. This was so innovative back then that it called for a new style of MC, or rapper, to put it across to an audience. Devoid of partisan overtones, their interpretation of the cultural environment still rings in the ears of this urbanite: “It’s like a jungle sometimes/It makes me wonder/How I keep from goin’ under.”

Richard Hell and the Voidoids. Blank Generation.

  • CD: Sire/London/Rhino. 1990. ASIN B000005JB1

Michael Jackson.(1982).Thriller. United States: Epic. Vinyl ASIN:B000JQWH24; CD ASIN: B00005QGAZ

Michael Jackson’s Thriller is the bestselling album of all time, with 45 million worldwide sales powered by seven  Top 10 U.S. singles and eight Grammy Awards. The highly-polished sound of Quincy Jones’s production sounds  include ”Billie Jean”  and “Beat It” (with a hard-rock solo by guitarist Eddie Van Halen) influenced not just Jackson’s records, but those of the entire dance-pop world. On the song “Thriller,” Jackson indulged his taste and invited Vincent Price to rap in a really scary voice.



Today’s hipsters of the “Brooklyn Jazz Renaissance” owe a huge nod to John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards. This B&W clip by Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong features the band playing their mantra Night Clubbing. Founded by saxophonist John Lurie and his brother, pianist Evan Lurie, the band roster read like a Who’s Who of downtown new music royalty, with more than 35 members cycling in and out over 20-odd years.

New York Dolls.(1973). New York Dolls. United States: The Record Plant. Vinyl ASIN: B001G55TTK; CD ASIN: B000001FMX

Prince. Purple Rain.

Ramones. Ramones.

  • CD: Rhino/WEA. 2001. ASIN B00005JGAB

Frank Sinantra (1980). New York New York. On Trilogy: Past Present Future. United States: Reprise Records. Vinyl ASIN: B000NZKE9O
Nominated for 3 Grammys in 1981, this 3 album set includes Sinatra’s classic hit “New York New York”. The song’s famous lyrics sang-out to the City’s spirit, “Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leaving today
I want to be a part of it: New York, New York. . . .If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere,
It’s up to you, New York, New York.”

Patti Smith. Horses.

  • CD: Arista. 1996. ASIN B000002VQQ

The Story of Rapper’s Delight by Nile Rodgers. Retrieved 01/23/2010 from YouTube:
In this great video Nile Rogers, creator of the disco hit “Good Times”, discusses the birth of hip-hop and the creative and collaborative music scene of the downtown era.

The Sugarhill Gang.(1979). Rapper’s Delight. United States: Sugar Hill Records.
Considered to be the first true hip hop release, this single is the first song made by a hip hop or rap group. Like many songs from the time, “Rapper’s Delight” was performed over the breakdown section of a disco hit — Chic’s “Good Times” (played by the group Positive Force).  An international hit , it was the first hip-hop single to go gold.

Talking Heads. Remain in Light.

  • Vinyl: Sire. 1980. ASIN: B000PST4XQ
  • CD: Warner Brothers. 1990. ASIN: B000002KO3

Way back in 1980, the original wave of Talking Heads fans were pleasantly stunned to hear Remain in Light, produced and co-written by Brian Eno, on which Byrne and company are joined by guitar god Adrian Belew, and funk legends Bernie Worrell (keyboards) and Steven Scales (percussion), among others, for a fuller, funkier sound nobody imagined they had in them. The first three songs are long, layered, full-body dance parties, with incessantly repeated phrases (musical and lyrical), and increasingly catchy melodic hooks that won’t let go for days. “Once in a Lifetime” was the big hit, but the rockingest track is the third, “The Great Curve,” after which the songs get more linear and subdued. It’s still great stuff, right through to the especially Eno-like droner, “The Overload,” but the second half is maybe better to sleep to than dance to. Which is fine: after the exuberance of the first three songs, you’ll need a little nap. –Dan Leone

Talking Heads. Talking Heads.

  • CD: Warner Brothers. 1981. ASIN B000002KNU

Television. Marquee Moon.

  • CD: Elektra/WEA. 2003. ASiN B0000AI45P

Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers.(1977). L.A.M.F.: The Lost ‘77 Mixes.United States: Jungle Records. Vinyl ASIN: B00005YKFK; CD ASIN: B00007MFGI

William Parker: Brilliant Free-Jazz Bassist. Retrieved 01/14/10 from the NPR website:

Jazz has a long tradition downtown, with venues such as Seventh Avenue South, Hoppers, SOB’s and The Village Vanguard. A fierce player with a gentle personality, Parker made a name on the NYC jazz scene in the 1980’s playing with pianist Cecil Taylor. The Village Voice calls him, “the most consistently brilliant free jazz bassist of all time.” Another critic likens Parker to Mister Rogers. This NPR profile give one a taste of the rich improvisational jazz that was available in the 1980’s.  You’ll need Real Player software to hear this interview:

The Young and the Useless. Real Men Don’t Floss.

  • Vinyl. Ratcage Records. 1982.


Court, P. (2007). New York Noise: Art and Music from the New York Underground, 1978-88. London : Soul Jazz Publishing. ISBN-10: 0955481708

Between 1975 and 1988 New York City spawned an incredible and wild array of artistic communities that overlapped and interbred with scant heed for generic “purity” (let alone posterity): every musician, it seemed, was also an artist, every artist a filmmaker and every filmmaker was in a band. These heady years saw the births of Punk at CBGB and Max’s Kansas City, of Hip Hop in the Bronx, the emerging art music activities of Philip Glass and Laurie Anderson, Free Jazz and the No Wave art/rock scene around James Chance, Lydia Lunch and Mars. New York Noise is Paula Court’s photographic tour of these colliding worlds. From her arrival in New York City in 1978, Court diligently photographed the likes of Glenn Branca, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, David Byrne, Rhys Chatham, Lou Reed, James Chance, Patti Smith, Afrika Bambaata, John Cage, Robert Longo, Jim Jarmusch, Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince, as well as bands like DNA, Suicide, Bush Tetras, ESG and the Rock Steady Crew. Also captured in these pages are nascent musicians and actors such as Michael Stipe, Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe and Madonna, who came into artistic maturity amid these diverse scenes. With over 400 images, many of them previously unpublished, New York Noise follows Soul Jazz Records’ critically acclaimed CD series, providing an unprecedented visual record of one of New York’s liveliest cultural eras._product review

“Breakers, Washington Sq. Park”, photo Drew Carolan

Banes, Sally. Terpsichore in Sneakers: Post-Modern Dance. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980. ASIN: B002JNANQC

Cateforis, T. (2007). The Rock History Reader (sec. IV). New York: Routledge. ISBN:0415975018
The 11 chapters in section IV feature the voices of the era, everyone from Tiper Gore demanding ratings for audio lyrics to debates about MTV and Madonna as a feminist.

Coley, B., & Moore, T. (2008). No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980. New York: Abrams. ISBN-10: 0810995433

Gann, K. (2006). Music downtown: Writings from the Village Voice. Berkeley : University of California Press. ISBN: 9780520229822

Lens, J. (2008). Punk Pioneers. New York : Universe. ISBN-10: 0789315890

Masters, M. (2007). No Wave. London: Black Dog Publishing. ISBN-10: 190615502X

McCain, G., & McNeil, L. (1996). Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk. New York: Grove Press. ISBN-10: 0140266909

Reynolds, S. (2006). Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984. New York: Penguin.
Looks at the synergy between music and art in the downtown scene.

Valentine, G. (2006). New York Rocker: My Life in the Blank Generation with Blondie, Iggy Pop, and Others, 1974-1981.Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press. ISBN-10: 1560259442


One response to “Music

  1. Tracy Altieri

    Wow – your library education really comes to the forefront with this – what a nice combination with your art! I am going to need to brush up on my citation use – it’s been a long time since I’ve need to cite works by anyone. I’m sure that there is an on-line protocol.

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