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Björk

This article is being revised at Talk:Björk/Temp. Please edit that article instead of this one. See also the discussion at Talk:Björk.

Björk Guðmundsdóttir (pronounced "Byerk"), was born in Reykjavík, Iceland on November 21, 1965 to Hildur Rúna Hauksdóttir and Guðmundur Gunnarsson.

The last name Guðmundsdóttir literally means "Guðmunds daughter", in the ancient Icelandic tradition of having your father's first name as your last name and adding whether you are the son or daughter.

Known relationships

In 1977 Björk appeared on national radio singing "I Love To Love", which led her to a record deal and with the help of her stepfather, released her very first solo album, called simply Björk[?]. The songs were a mixture of covers translated into Icelandic, like the Beatles' hit "Fool On The Hill" ("Alfur Út Úr Hól") and Stevie Wonder's song "Your Kiss Is Sweet" ("Búkolla"), but it also contained some songs written specifically for the album. With the money she earned she bought herself a piano and started composing new songs of her own.

By 1979, she had formed an all-girl band in the spirit of the Sex Pistols, under the title Spit and Snot[?]. EXODUS[?] was the next step - a jazz fusion group.

Björk graduated from music school at the age of 15, being the only student to have followed through all the 10 years of education.

In 1982 Tappi Tíkarrass[?] was formed. This was pure punk pop which, according to the bassist's dad "fit like a cork in a bitch's ass!" - and that's exactly what the name Tappi Tíkarrass means - or more precisely "Cork the bitch's ass". The band released two albums and appeared in a couple of films, most famous the Icelandic documentary film Rokk Í Reykjavík. Björk also became the cover girl of the video.

Björk discovered a book that she has said changed her life. It is Bataille's Story Of The Eye[?], a book about teenagers on a mission, about sex, passions, perversions, murder, eyeballs, testicles and eggs.

An Icelandic DJ was going to go off the air, and wanted to do so with a bang, so he gathered the cutting-edge Icelandic artists to play live on his very last show. They were Einar Örn[?] and Einar Melax[?] from Purrkurr Pillnikk, Gulli Óttarson[?], Siggi Baldursson[?] and Birgir Morgensen[?] from Þeyr and Björk. After writing songs and rehearsing for two weeks they performed under the name KUKL[?], which means 'sorcery' or 'witchcraft' in medieval Icelandic.

The band hit it off so well that they decided to stick to that group. They played dark music that bore some resemblence to the goth sound, but was also highly original. In KUKL, Björk started to take the shape we see her in today, in her ways of expressing herself musically - her trademark way of singing, with howls and shrieks that she uses to this day.

In the early 1980s KUKL met Crass whilst the latter band were touring Iceland. Following this connection, the band visited the UK, playing a series of gigs with anarcho-punk band Flux of Pink Indians[?]. In 1984 KUKL released two albums on Crass Records, The Eye and Holidays in Europe. these were re-released in 1997 in CD format.

Björk released a little book of poems to get some cash to pay the rent. It is called Um Úrnat frá Björk and only about 100 copies were released, all hand coloured by Björk herself. The title means About Úrnat by Björk, with Úrnat being a papu-ish word for holiday, or the likes of that. The book is now a rare collector's item.

In 1985 she discovered she was pregnant with Þór's child. That was no hinder for KUKL though. Björk carried on as usual, and being 7 months pregnant, playing live on the television.

In 1986 KUKL broke up. Björk carried on recording some music with Gulli, under the name The Elgar Sisters[?], the name taken after a classical British composer. They recorded 11 songs for an album, but they were put on hold. A few of the songs were released under Björk's solo career; "Glóra", "Síðasta Ég" and "Stigðu Mig".

At the age of 19, Björk gave birth to a boy named Sindri, on June 8, 1986. The name is based on the Norse mythology blacksmith who made Thor's hammer, and it means "when two hot irons meet" and also "sparkle around the sun".

Soon after Sindri was born, Björk got her first acting role in the Brothers Grimm based movie The Juniper Tree[?], a black and white English language movie about two sisters who possess witchcraft.

Björk and Þór had now agreed to split up as a couple, but remained as friends and bandmates. A new pop group consisting of Björk, Siggi Baldursson, Einar Örn and Einar Melax from KUKL, with Þór Eldon, Bragi Ólafsson and Fridrik Erlingson[?] was formed. They had to have a name of course, but after idea after idea had been tossed aside, Einar exclaimed that they should call themselves the silliest thing they could think of, The Sugarcubes or Sykurmolarnir, in their native tongue. After a few shows, Fridrik dropped out of the Sugarcubes, and Einar Melax took the place of keyboardist leaving Þór as the sole guitarist.

At the same time, Björk took up her acting career again - this time in an Icelandic television play.

Einn moll'á mann contained the song "Ammæli", later re-released with English lyrics, as "Birthday". The single became a big hit in England and it was the first Icelandic song to enter the charts outside its native country. Sykurmolarnir changed their name to The Sugarcubes. Suddenly representatives from diverse multi-national record-companies, who were attracted by the atmospherical beauty of "Birthday", were offering the band millions of dollars for a record-deal. Sugarcubes signed with One Little Indian and became the first Icelandic rock-band to face international stardom. In 1988 they released their million-selling debut-album Life's Too Good[?] on Elektra Records.

By 1989 The Sugarcubes had now become really famous, and when entering the studio once again they felt like they had made a real sell out, and decided to make the next album as unpredictable as possible. They wanted to replicate the live feeling of their songs, which became difficult in a studio with such talents. And on top of that, not being able to agree on which songs to include or even which final mixes to use - they quickly exceeded their budget and ran overdue.

Finally, the first single "Regina" was presented to the world, and now Björk was as brand new as the sound. Short, short hair and streamlined space-age tights and dresses, with plastic and silver and glitter being the favorites.

They released their second album with the title Here Today, Tomorrow, Next Week! - a quote inspired by Mr. Toad of Kenneth Grahame's famous children's book[?] The Wind In The Willows[?]. This was not like Life's Too Good at all, which was what they aimed at - but the critics weren't as convinced, so they came down pretty hard on it. The album sold poorly, but the live shows were always fully seated.

Björk joined up with old friends Guðmundur Steingrimsson[?] (aka 'Papa Jazz') and his Tríó Guðmundur Ingólfssonar[?], and together they did a totally spontaneous album; 2 days, all live - no double takes. The songs were old Icelandic tunes made famous by old Icelandic singers and a couple of standards such as "Oh Mein Papa" (in Icelandic), "Ruby Baby" and "Can't Help Loving That Man Of Mine". Gling-Gló was very popular.

In 1991 she also demoed two of her own songs for 808 State member Graham Massey[?]. After listening to several 808 State songs, she returned with two new tracks; "Ooops" and "Qmart" - both of them ended up on the 808 State 1991 album EX:EL[?].

She had offered The Sugarcubes one of her songs named "Murder for two", but they rejected it because they couldn't fit music to the lyrics. Björk later on released it as her first solo single under the name "Human Behaviour". After a while she also met jazz harpist Corky Hale[?]. They wanted to do something together, but Björk's own music didn't quite bridge the generation-gap between them so they settled on Björk's favourite, Chet Baker[?]'s old songs, like "Like Someone In Love", "My Funny Valentine" and "I Fall In Love Too Easily" and such - with only the songs "Like Someone In Love" and "I Remember You" being properly released by Björk later on.

In 1992, Björk met DJ Dom Thrupp on a trip to Disneyland, and she found herself falling in love with him.

The third Sugarcubes album was and called [[Stick Around For Joy]]. This album drew attention from the critics and made The Sugarcubes even more popular.

Later the same year they also put out a CD called It's-It. The Sugarcubes once again started touring, but this was to be their very last tour together, now supporting U2. Their very final gig took place November 17 in New York City at the Limelight club[?].

Dom introduced Björk to Nellee Hooper[?], who helped Björk produce her solo album. Björk wanted hardcore techno, while Nellee wanted a softer and more sophisticated approach. From their work Björk came up with "Big Time Sensuality", but the first single to hit success was "Human Behaviour" - a meditation on humanity's oddness.

She named the album Debut[?] - to celebrate that it was her first self-made album with her own songs and without any compromises.

At this time Björk became very popular with the press. In 1994 as she was working more with Stéphane Sednaoui, they came closer to each other and finally they took their working relationship one step further. She performed a live video, loads of live gigs (one in Iceland being entered by a parachuting Björk) and interviews, an Unplugged session for MTV (with the cut-out track of Björk and Corky Hale performing "My Funny Valentine" missing from the final video) and even modeling clothes for Gaultier[?] (as later also seen in the movie Pret-A-Porter[?]) - Debut was a major hit.

Having split with Sednaoui, Björk wrote a song about it, called "Possibly Maybe", a journey through the seven stages of a relationship, from the first crush to the crushing break-up. Björk soon got into another working relationship gone intimate as she met Adrian Thaws, also known as 'Tricky'.

Her next album was made with the help of with Nellee, Marius de Vries[?] and Howie B[?]. At the last minute Björk panicked about the album being too soft and electronic so she re-recorded it, adding trumpets, saxophones, harpsichords, a symphony orchestra and a brass band . She called her new album Post[?] because the songs were like letters from London home to Iceland.

Touring on, Björk once got a nasty flu and lost her voice, but regained it only to discover she had lost 3 octaves of her singing range and she was diagnosed with throat nodules. Having finished a fleeting romance with Tricky, Björk was now seen with Jungle DJ Goldie and later shyly revealed a relationship that, according to Björk, was 'the best thing yet'.

By 1996 Björk was rumored to be planning a lot of things, but a couple of things that really did happen was the recording of Björk's cover of "You Only Live Twice" for a compilation of James Bond covers. Apparently she wasn't satisfied with it, and had phoned the studio the day after the recording, asking them to throw it away, but someone must have saved a copy, because it's now available on the Internet.

Björk, being fond of extremes, also took part of the forty minute piece "Pierrot Lunaire" by Arnold Schoenberg with conductor Kent Negano[?] and the Opera orchestra of Lyon[?]. It's a talking-singing performance which required three months of rehearsals. This appearance was never officially released and all recording devices were strictly banned from the building. Later on, Björk toured Asia. On the stage in Hong Kong, she was surprised on stage (to the extent of dropping her microphone) by Goldie, presenting her with the 1996 Brit Award[?] for Best International Female Artist.

Björk released an album of remixes from Post, called Telegram[?], an adventurous mixture of different sounds - from vocoded rage in "Possibly Maybe" to a string Hyper-Ballad by the Brodsky Quartet[?] and a minimalist thundery techno mix of "Headphones" by Finnish DJ Mika Vainio[?].

By 1997 Björk had broken up with Tricky and had settled in Spain and her studio (El Cortijo[?]) in El Madroñal[?]. The process of recording the songs was filmed and first shown in 1998 on BBC under the name The Southbank Show : Björk Special, and also later on Bravo channel[?] as Bravo : Björk Special; an unique peek into Björk's studio and history as told by herself.

In September 1997 Björk released her third album, entitled by the style of the songs with a word she didn't even knew existed for real: Homogenic[?]. The word was chosen to symbolize the unity and thread of minimalism in the songs.

In 1999 Björk offered her musical skills to Danish director Lars von Trier - the Dogme 95 stalwart noted for movies such as Breaking The Waves[?] and The Idiots[?]. his next work was to be a musical, and Björk agreed to write all the songs for it. Lars wouldn't settle for that though, and performed the miracle of talking Björk into playing the starring role in the movie as well, with the argument that anyone else would do her songs injustice. The movie is a musical, a comedy and a tragedy all in one - a Czech half-blind woman moves to the United States - the promised land - and works overtime in a factory to earn enough money to save her son from going blind as well. Starring together with Björk are international actors and actresses such as Swedish Peter Stormare and French Catherine Deneuve. Dancer in the Dark was shot in 2000. It premiered at the 53rd Cannes Film Festival. The movie received the award for best movie and Björk was awarded as best actress.

She released Selmasongs[?], the soundtrack of Dancer In The Dark. The song "I've Seen It All" was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song. In the same year the music channel VH1 organized a contest of the best 100 music videos of all times and Björk got the sixth position with "It's Oh So Quiet", video directed by Spike Jonze.

In August 2001 Björk released Vespertine[?], an album in which she made use of chorus and mild sounds. In the same year she published a book titled only Björk; it's about different essays with some pictures of the singer.

In 2002 she released Greatest Hits (Björk album)|Greatest Hits]], a compilation of her big hits throughout her 10-year solo career (1993 - 2003).

In October 2002 she gave to birth a girl whose name is Isidora, her father is Matthew Barney[?], a video director.

After Greatest Hits she released Family Tree[?], a group of songs from different times of her singing career. From this album comes the song "Nature Is Ancient" whose music video shows microorganisms moving all around the camera to finally create a creature whose appearance bears a resemblance to a human foetus.

Complete discography, including her former bands and all her singles

External links:



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