Born: November 21, 1965
Birth Name: Björk Gudmundsdottir
Date of Birth: November 21, 1965
Seen as somewhat of an eccentric pixie, Bjork was born in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. Her parents divorced when she was two and her stepfather, a musician, became an influence on Björk's early years by introducing her to Icelandic folk-music and jazz. Talented in both the piano and the flute by the age of five, Björk enrolled in a local music school. At 11, she released her first album in Iceland, simply titled Bjork, which went platinum.
In her teens she joined several short-lived punk bands, such as Kukl who had some notable success, including touring with German industry band Einsturzende Neubauten and releasing two albums. In the meantime, she got pregnant by her then-husband Thor Eldon. At 19, she gave birth to a son and named him Sindri, but soon after his birth Bjork ended her marriage.
In 1986, she formed The Sugarcubes. The six piece band (which included her ex-husband) released their first album, Life Is Too Good in 1988 and received rave reviews, especially from the British press. Soon they were playing with the likes of New Order and U2 (Bono was a big fan).Two more albums followed, but Bjork left the band and re-located to London, England.
Released in 1994, Bjork's first solo effort, Debut, spawned numerous hits such as "Human Behaviour", "Big Time Sensuality" and "Venus as a Boy". One music journalist wrote: "Debut is one of the strongest, most musically varied and consistent dance records of the 90's." She quickly followed it up with Post, which like Debut became another milestone in music history for its innovative approach.
A relationship with fellow musician Goldie caused controversy for the singer, an American fan, offended by her dalliance with a black man, taped himself creating an acid bomb and sent it to her house before shooting himself in front of the camera. While the bomb, thankfully, never reached Bjork, she became extremely depressed and fled to Spain where she recorded her next album.
The result, entitled Homogenic, was released in 1997 and featured emotional, dark songs possessing sounds that had never been explored. So off the beaten path was the record that it failed to enjoy the commercial success that her last two efforts had. But it was her most personal record to-date.
In 1998, Bjork accepted Danish director Lars von Trier's offer of the lead role in his movie Dancer in the Dark. The film premiered at Cannes in 2000 and she won the award for Best Actress. Bjork also wrote the soundtrack for the film.
Of her award-winning role, Bjork says, "I knew when I said yes that this would be not only my first role but also my last one. I'm very happy that it's to be this one." Asked whether she might one day reconsider, she explained, "I have to do records now. I only have 50 years left, and I've got a lot of records to make."
Bjork's latest record, entitled Selmasongs: Dancer in the Dark, was released in September 2000.
Dancer in the Dark (2000)
Prêt à Porter (1994)
Juniper Tree (1987)