David Byrne & Fatboy Slim’s acclaimed 2010 album Here Lies Love receives its first-ever vinyl release to coincide with a new production opening on Broadway this summer. Here Lies Love is a double-disc song cycle – improbably poignant, decidedly surreal, surprisingly thought provoking – about the rise and fall of the Philippines' notorious Imelda Marcos. It was conceived by David Byrne; composed by Byrne and DJ/recording artist Fatboy Slim, AKA Norman Cook; and performed by a dream cast drawn from the worlds of indie rock, alt country, R&B and pop. Byrne's taste in collaborators is as imaginative as it is impeccable, including Cyndi Lauper (who recounts, to lighthearted disco beats, Imelda's courtship with Ferdinand Marcos), Steve Earle (as the power-hungry Ferdinand), Dap-Kings vocalist Sharon Jones (recalling Imelda's introduction into New York society) and Natalie Merchant (as spurned Imelda confidante Estrella, anticipating the onset of martial law). Along with vocals turns from such stars as Tori Amos and the B-52's Kate Pierson, Byrne works with rising indie rockers St. Vincent and My Brightest Diamond; New York chanteuses Nellie McKay and Martha Wainwright; and dance-music divas Róisín Murphy and Santigold. Byrne himself appears as the voice of imperialistic America on ‘American Troglodyte’, a send-up that wouldn't have seemed out of places in Talking Heads' True Stories.
Byrne originally envisioned this as a musical theatre piece, to be mounted in disco and nightclub settings, reflecting the globe-trotting Marcos' taste for such velvet-roped spots as Studio 54 and Regine's. In 2006, he performed work-in-progress versions to enthusiastic audiences at New York City's Carnegie Hall and the Adelaide Festival in Australia. While plans for a US theatrical production continued to evolve, he delivered this unique recording. The award-winning theatrical production eventually premiered at The Public Theater in New York in 2013, travelled to London’s National Theater for a sold-out run (2014–15), and was remounted at the Seattle Repertory Theater (2017).
Here Lies Love has an effervescent disco feel, redolent of Fatboy Slim's own dance-floor anthems, with warm undercurrents of the Latin rhythms that have percolated through Byrne's recent solo work. The sunny arrangements act in counterpoint to the reality of the Marcos' increasingly repressive regime, reflecting the imagined inner life of the glamour-obsessed Imelda. Explains Byrne, "For me, the darker side of the excesses are, for the most part, a matter of record. A lot of the audience is going to come with that knowledge already. What's more of a challenge is to get inside the head of the person who was behind all of that, and understand what made them tick." Byrne offers no judgment and avoids the obvious – there is no mention of Imelda's infamous shoe collection.
Many of Byrne's lyrics are, astonishingly enough, constructed from actual Imelda quotes, including the project's title, the words that Imelda, now returned to the Philippines from US-assisted exile in Hawaii, would like to have inscribed on her gravestone. In addition to his new liner note, Byrne illustrates the story with archival photos. In a detailed preface, he reveals what drew him to this subject and the bumpy route he took to launch the project and, ultimately, record this album. The booklet is indeed a page-turner, just as Here Lies Love is a wonderfully old-school album that rewards start-to-finish listening. Once again, Byrne – beloved as musician, thinker and bicyclist-about-town – reveals the breadth and singularity of his vision.
The new production of Here Lies Love will premiere at the Broadway Theatre in New York City. Performances begin June 17, ahead of an official opening night on July 20. Tony Award winner Alex Timbers (direction) and Olivier Award nominee Annie-B Parson (choreography) reunite with Byrne (concept, music, and lyrics) and Fatboy Slim (music) to bring Here Lies Love to Broadway, continuing a ten-plus year collaboration on the project. Tom Gandey and J Pardo contribute additional music. Here Lies Love is produced on Broadway by Hal Luftig, Patrick Catullo, Diana DiMenna for Plate Spinner Productions, Clint Ramos, and Jose Antonio Vargas. The staging at the Broadway Theatre will transform the venue’s traditional proscenium floor space into a dance club environment, where audiences will stand and move with the actors. A wide variety of standing and seating options will be available throughout the theatre’s reconstructed space. The producers of Here Lies Love said, “As a team of binational American producers – Filipinos among us – we are thrilled to bring Here Lies Love to Broadway! We welcome everyone to experience this singularly exuberant piece of theatre. The history of the Philippines is inseparable from the history of the United States, and as both evolve, we cannot think of a more appropriate time to stage this show. See you on the dance floor!”
David Byrne’s recent works include the launch of Reasons to be Cheerful, an online magazine focused on solutions-oriented stories about problems being solved all over the world (2019); Joan of Arc: Into the Fire, a theatrical exploration of the historical heroine that premiered at the Public Theater in New York (2017); The Institute Presents: NEUROSOCIETY, a series of interactive environments created in conjunction with PACE Arts + Technology that question human perception and bias (2016); Contemporary Color, an event inspired by the American folk tradition of color guard and performed at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and Toronto’s Air Canada Centre (2015); Here Lies Love; Love This Giant, a studio album and worldwide tour created with St. Vincent (2012); and How Music Works, a book about the history, experience, and social aspects of music (2012).
Byrne curated Southbank Centre’s annual Meltdown festival in London in 2015. A co-founder of the group Talking Heads (1976–88), he has released eight studio albums as a solo artist and worked on multiple other projects, including collaborations with Brian Eno, Twyla Tharp, Robert Wilson, and Jonathan Demme, among others. He also founded the highly respected record label Luaka Bop. Recognition of Byrne’s various works include Obies, Drama Desk, Lortel, and Evening Standard awards for Here Lies Love; an Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe for the soundtrack to Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor; and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Talking Heads. Byrne’s work as a visual artist has been published and exhibited since his college days, including photography, filmmaking, and writing. He lives in New York City. In addition to 2019’s cast album for American Utopia on Broadway, Nonesuch has released eight other David Byrne records since 2003, including 2018’s American Utopia studio album and two versions of his musical Here Lies Love.
Disc 1: Side A
1. Here Lies Love – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Florence Welch (Florence & The Machine)
2. Every Drop Of Rain – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Candie Payne & St. Vincent
3. You'll Be Taken Care Of – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Tori Amos
4. The Rose Of Tacloban – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Martha Wainwright
5. A Perfect Hand – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Steve Earle
Disc 1: Side B
1. Eleven Days – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Cyndi Lauper
2. When She Passed By – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Allison Moorer
3. Walk Like A Woman – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Charmaine Clamor
4. Don't You Agree? – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Róisín Murphy
5. Pretty Face – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Camille
6. Ladies In Blue – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Theresa Andersson
Disc 2: Side A
1. Dancing Together – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Sharon Jones
2. How Are You? – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Nellie McKay
3. Men Will Do Anything – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Alice Russell
4. The Whole Man – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Kate Pierson
5. Never So Big – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Sia
6. Please Don't – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Santi White [Santigold]
Disc 2: Side B
1. American Troglodyte – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim
2. Solano Avenue – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Nicole Atkins
3. Order 1081 – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Natalie Merchant
4. Seven Years – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond)
5. Why Don't You Love Me? – David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Tori Amos & Cyndi Lauper