Sunday, April 22, 2012

T is for Talking Heads

My A-Z series on bands has probably been just a brit Britcentric and has bypassed some great American artists such as REM, The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins.



But my 'T' entry Taking Heads is American, although America never really appreciated the band as much as Britain.

One of the band's most well known hits Once in a Lifetime, failed to register much stateside while it made it big in the UK. In fact, Burning Down the House was the only top 10 hit Talking Heads achieved in America.

Maybe America simply did not get their quirky brand of The New Wave  punk, art rock, avant-garde, world music and pop funk.



I once knew a girl who was keen on Talking Heads but it worried me that her favorite track was the 1977 number Psycho Killer. As soon as the taut lyrics "I can't seem to face up to the facts. I'm tense and nervous and I can't relax," started, a strange far away look would come over her features as if she'd just received a calling from God and she'd disappear into the kitchen that, like many kitchens, contained a lot of sharp knives.

At this point I'd disappear out of the window which was a tad unfortunate given that she lived on the fourth floor.

David Byrne, the lead singer of Talking Heads, said of the song.

"When I started writing this (I got help later), I imagined Alice Cooper doing a Randy Newman-type ballad. Both the Joker and Hannibal Lecter were much more fascinating than the good guys. Everybody sort of roots for the bad guys in movies."



That was the kind of guy Byrne was.

Talking Heads were formed in 1975. Byrne, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth were alumni of the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island. I don't know a lot about Rhode Island but I assume it's not large and wonder if they are the only famous artists to ever come from the place.

A cover of Al Green's Take Me to the River brought the band to national conciousness in the late 1970s.

The band was big in the 1980s for a while when the album Little Creatures (which featured the hit singles "And She Was" and "Road to Nowhere, were released. They broke up in 1991.

 In a 2011 update of Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", the band was ranked 100.



There were some tentative efforts at a reunion in the early 2000 but Byrne spoke of "bad blood."

Weymouth was also scathing of Byrne describing him as "a man incapable of returning friendship."

Curious fact about Talking Heads - The band chose their name from a TV guide that contained a description of a person talking.




15 comments:

  1. Your posts have been a real trip down memory lane.

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  2. Talking Heads is still a great band!!

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  3. Awesome...what a blast from the past. Never heard 'Psycho Killer' before and not real crazy about it, but the rest of them were huge favorites. Still cannot hear 'And She Was' without smiling. Thanks for that. :)

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  4. I'm just catching up on your A-Z Bands, what a great theme. I loved the Talking Heads back then and still love them now, Once In A Lifetime is my favorite. Awesome band.

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  5. Always good to take you there Sarah

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  6. Agreed Scots Lass - they have a great sound

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  7. Glad you liked it Tracy - yep Psycho Killer is kind of weird like he's in the thought process of a psycho killer. Bizarrely.

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  8. Thanks for visiting Julie - will catch up on yours.

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  9. Very bizarre lol! Hope you've had a good Monday :)

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  10. My husband first brought the Talking Heads to my attention. I like quite a few of their songs. You're coming into the home stretch with the A to Z thing and doing a great job with it. I've enjoyed these posts.

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  11. Ha! I love how they chose their name.

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  12. I know Tracy - you too, what's left of it. Thax for visiting Jo Jo. I'm rather pleased to be in the home stretch, thanks Daisy

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  13. I know, thanks for visiting Peggy.

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  14. I dig all of these tunes - and my fave is also Psycho Killer, which probably doesn't surprise anyone. :-)

    Some Dark Romantic

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