Laurie Anderson's Petrochemical Arms

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One of the weirdest moments in pop music has to be the brief, early-1980s rise to fame of radical alterna-electro-artist Laurie Anderson. Her eight-and-a-half minute song "O Superman" (whose complete video you can see here) caught on in England and then spread to the U.S. With her androgynously-modded voice, multi-media performance style, and mad-scientist hair, Anderson was like some kind of cyber-alien in the days before most people knew what "cyber" meant. In "O Superman," she sings about nukes, computers, and the future. Anderson is still writing great music, mostly performing to an artsy crowd. But for a brief moment in 1981, she was a mainstream pop star. Eventually, this music video showed up on VH-1, in a shortened version. [Laurie Anderson]