Laurie Anderson / Big Science red vinyl

Coloured vinyl reissue with remastered audio

Laurie Anderson’s 1982 debut album, Big Science, is to be reissued on red vinyl in April.

The album features O Superman (For Massenet) which, remarkably, reached number two in the UK singles chart in 1981, after being championed by John Peel.

This new vinyl edition is the first in three decades and the 140g red vinyl pressing features the 2007 remaster.

It will be released on 9 April 2021 via Nonesuch Records.

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Laurie Anderson

big science - red vinyl LP


Side A

  1. From the Air
  2. Big Science
  3. Sweaters
  4. Walking and Falling
  5. Born, Never Asked

Side B

  1. O Superman (for Massenet)
  2. Example #22
  3. Let X=X/It Tango

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The release of ‘Big Science’ couldn’t have come at a better time for me. My musical tastes took a massive drift off the beaten track in late ’80 or so, when I opened my ears to postpunk and added that to my usual mix of ECM, ’70s German electronic music, Zappa, and the so-called minimalism of ‘Einstein on The Beach’-era Philip Glass and ‘Music For 18 Musicians’/ ‘Drumming’-era Steve Reich. Around that time I recall walking up to a record store counter carrying a mix of finds that included a pristine UK pressing of Black Sabbath’s first album, some early ’80s Klaus Schulze and a Peter Michael Hamel LP, and possibly a compilation of Monk’s Riverside era. The guy behind the counter stopped, looked over my choices, raised a brow and gave me a puzzled look, and said ‘you know, these things don’t really go together’. It was a priceless moment. To me ‘Big Science’ sounded like a postpunk take on Glass, and mixed perfectly with ‘Remain in Light’, ‘My Life in The Bush of Ghosts’, ‘English Settlement’, ‘Movement’, and whatever the hell else I had on the turntable at the time. After watching ‘Heart of a Dog’ a few months back, I was inspired to listen to ‘Big Science’ again after I don’t know how long. It still sounds like some kind of future soundtrack. Great stuff, from a great era…


Oh, I forgot to mention I had a funny incident back in the Spring of 1996.

My brother and I along with some friends decided to go to a small comedy club in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, which was featuring three up-and-coming comedians from New York who were performing for one night only. The cocktail tables and chairs were placed close together in the club, so when I backed up my chair I accidently bumped into someone who was sitting right beside me. I apologized to the gentleman, and he said “That’s okay — it’s a little tight in here, isn’t it?” I turned to my brother and whispered, “He looks and sounds just like Lou Reed.” My brother stared for a bit and responded, “I think that is Lou Reed!” But I thought “What the heck would Lou Reed be doing at a small club in Fort Myers Beach?”

At the end of the third comedian’s act, the club owner came to the microphone and announced “We have some famous people in the audience tonight. Let’s have a round of applause for Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson!” Well, I almost fainted dead away! But before I could ask for an autograph or anything, both Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson stood up, gave a little wave to the crowd, grabbed their jackets and quickly left the club with their friends before anyone could mob them.


“Big Science” is still, IMO, Anderson’s strongest album because it’s uncompromised, deadpan honest, and has a chilling authoritative tone. Also, the abstract framework Anderson created for the songs on this album works effectively with her off-tilt observations about modern life.

Although at the beginning some felt Anderson’s song-speak style was a pastiche of a Jack Kerouac beat-poetry recital, it was much more, further beyond and unique to the extent that it inspired Lou Reed to incorporate Anderson’s song-speak style into his brilliant 1989 album, “New York.” So no surprise that Lou and Laurie became kindred spirits and eventually got married.

I still have all my original Laurie Anderson vinyl records and CDs. And although this red vinyl edition of “Big Science” is tempting, I wish it could have been a bit more deluxe and included a booklet of Ms. Anderson’s handwritten lyrics, drawings and notes. Still, anyone who doesn’t have “Big Science” in their music collection should definitely consider getting this artistically important album.


My second-favorite Laurie Anderson album (after Bright Red). I wish it were getting the expanded treatment on CD. I bought the remaster when it came out several years back, but that only had “Walk the Dog” as an MP3 and the video for “O Superman” as “extras”–no regular audio tracks. It sounded nice and everything, but I’d love MORE from this era.

Does anyone know if there are studio versions of United States Live tracks other than the ones that were included on this album?


I just noticed there’s an extra track called Big Science 2 on the Apple Music version of the album.

Strangely Brown

Walk The Dog, masterpiece bonkers b-side thats runs over 6 mins. Single I did have back in 1982.

Jason T

It was also in the “Attack of the Killer B’s” compilation LP, but it may be an edit. I don’t remember it being 6 minutes long, but it’s been a while since I listened to it.


A most welcome reissue, although I will be sticking with my original vinyl edition. A true landmark album. I also have the original US release of O Superman on One Ten Records, which comes with not only the usual picture sleeve, but a printed inner sleeve to boot!
And finally after a long time search, I picked up a copy of the mammoth United States Live LP set down the local market a few years back for (I think) around a tenner! Yes, there’s some surface noise and a few clicks and pops, but nothing too drastic. The last time time I dug it out was last year sometime when I devoted an entire weekend to listening to all ten sides. One comes away from it utterly ecstatic but also utterly exhausted! Although it is difficult to find, if you like Big Science, then it’s a set well worth seeking out. Don’t bother with the CD version as I believe there had to be drastic edits made to fit it onto three discs. This was Laurie’s finest (few hours), but I lost interest after that after she began drifting towards a more commercial sound.


United States Live is on four CDs, not three. The first two are both over 72 minutes, the other two are about an hour long each, and each of the 78 tracks from the five-LP version is present. If you look at the track lengths on Discogs (not the best source, admittedly) there are a couple of tracks on each which appear to be “off” by 20-30 seconds in one direction or another, but my guess is that it has more to do with the spaces between the pieces than anything else, and that the whole performance is present on the CD version.

“Heart Of A Dog” and “Landfall” are nothing approaching commercial. You should check them out if you haven’t!

Tony O

£10 for us customers and yet £22.99 for uk customers, how is that fair?


Signed print available on Nonesuch USA website


John Peel and Noel Edmonds wasn’t it, with Noel’s support taking it to number 2?


Had no idea this was her recording debut. The only thing I have by her is “United States Live” which I thought came after multiple albums. Turns out it is her third release! Great live set if you can find a copy.


The only official recording I know of from hers prior to Big Science is a split record with William Burroughs and John Giorno called You’re The Guy I Want to Share My Money With. She has six tracks on that one–so essentially an EP’s worth of material plus songs by the other two artists. Big Science was the solo debut.


We used to put O Superman on the jukebox at our local on a Friday night multiple times when it was packed , most hated it we loved it and the reaction


Thanks for this Paul!

The sound of vinyl mentions heavyweight vinyl on their pre order site, and you mention 140g pressing.
Are you aware of any heavyweight editions of this album?


Thanks again Paul, now pre-ordered.


Maybe 140g is considered heavyweight? I think ‘normal’ vinyl is slightly lighter.


It’s worth noting that beyond 160g, there is no benefit to adding weight. 180g is pure marketing – it’s just more Vinyl. Other than that, it adds nothing. So this at 140g is likely to be as good as it needs to be.

Gary Tilford

I think you are right. I have Humans Lib on 140g white vinyl by Howard Jones. It sounds superb.


Saw her live three times and everytime she was just amazing. Never experienced anything quite like it, she’s an impressive performer. Happy to see this one getting a vinyl reissue.


I want to see her live so badly. I would have seen her in Albany, NY, but I didn’t find out about the performance until the day it was happening. I wish she would at least put out some DVDs/Blu Rays of her concerts. I have a bootleg from the laserdisc of Home of the Brave (OK quality/better than nothing), but that I know of, that’s the only live video she’s ever released in full. When Criterion released Heart of a Dog, I thought maybe we’d get more, but nothing seems to have materialized.

Rich E

Instant purchase. Was only wondering the other day when this would be getting a reissue.


O Superman, for it’s time, was spectacular. In line with “I Feel Love” and “Blue Monday”, astonishing songs wayyy ahead of their time.


You forgot “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” and “Vienna”.


“Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” and “Vienna” sound very 80’s. Oh Superman could have been made last week.


Fantastic! Remastered to boot! This is an electronica classic.

Really REALLY hope Bright Red is give the same treatment – for me, her finest album.

Chris Squires

I know it sounds like a joke but….. they have rather painted themselves into a corner.
If they do re-release Bright Red on vinyl what colour is it going to be?

John MC cann



Brighter red?


They could be less obvious and make it yellow or so.

The Golden Age Of The Phonograph

Still got `O Superman` on a 7″ single.

The LP goes nice with her husband`s (Lou Reed RIP) `Metal Machine Music` played back to back.


I bet they’d sound good played simultaneously.

Gary Tilford

If this had Walk The Dog ( the b side of O Superman) on it I would have gone for this. It hasn’t so I won’t. Pity.


Big Science. Hallelujah.

(In joke for fans. Someone had to say it.)

T e y o from ze Nedderlendz



Astonishing record, one of my all-time favorites. Had it on cassette back in the day, got it on CD as soon as the CD was released. Don’t feel like I need a vinyl, but if you ever thought you might want one, I’d jump on it. I might have gone for if they had bundled it with a re-release of the “O Superman” single, just for the cover art and the absolutely bonkers B-side.


B-side was Walk The Dog, wasn’t it? Loved that.

First heard O Superman when I was 18, travelling with my dad in his car. It was one of those tracks that stopped me dead – had him pull over so we could listen without the interruption of the engine sound, and so I could hear the DJ tell us who was performing it. Still have the 45 somewhere, and the LP, and CD.

Have a few of her other releases, a true aural artist.


I have the original vinyl version which is well worn. It was a well produced record. Got to see United States I-IV at the Dominion Theatre in 1983 which was almost an 8 hour performance. Probably the most impressive event of my young life in terms of scale and ideas. I prefer this album to the later albums.

Simon Thornhill

I got to see her at the Meltdown Festival in London I think about 6 years ago. She was incredible, everything id hoped for & nothing like I jad expected at the same time!


I’ve got this on cd with a section that includes the video for O SUPERMAN which can only be played on computers. Would have been nice to have it on DVD – AUDIO which the video included on that.


Same old thing in brand new drag!


Still have my original vinyl for this which should do me well.

Not the type of thing I usually go for, but always dug her work. Was fortunate enough to meet her many years ago and got her signature as well as her thumbprint, so I figure I have a small sample of her DNA and can now make a real clone of her, hopefully one without a mustache.