Monday, May 21, 2007

Stop Making Sense...Show # 146

Forming in 1974, Talking Heads began as a three piece group. The group consisted of David Byrne (vocals/guitar), Tina Weymouth (bass), and Chris Franz on drums. The group formed while at school (Rhode Island School of Design). The name Talking Heads would come from a term that is used when filming in TV. In 1975 the group got an opening spot for the Ramones at CBGB's. A year later in 1976, another member would be added to the group, Jerry Harrison (formerly of The Modern Lovers). He would be the Keyboardist and another guitarist for Talking Heads. The group got a record deal through Sire Records (as did Ramones) and released their first single Love → Building on Fire in 1977. It was recorded when the band was still just a three piece group. It was also produced by Tony Bongiovi (also known as Tommy Ramone). The band’s first album would also be released shortly after in 1977, it would be titled Talking Heads ‘77. The album would also be one of the first albums labelled under the New Wave genre. It featured songs such as "Psycho Killer", "Don't Worry About the Government", "Uh-oh When Love Comes to Town". The album would make it to the charts despite low album sales (#97 on the Billboard charts), it would be their first, but minor taste of success. The lyrics would not be your of your normal topics they were intelligent and were of varying topics, they were also delivered in a quirky, sporadic style.

1978 saw the release of More Songs About Buildings and Food. The album drew more on the bands funk influences as opposed to the first which seemed to be fueled by the energy of the new and emerging New York punk scene at the time. The album did not do as well in sales, but it did display the energy of the band as did the first album. The album would reach # 29 on the Billboard charts, and it would also feature a cover of the Al Green song "Take Me To the River". The album showed that the band was still full of energy. Songs such as "Found a Job" a funky five minute piece, "Artists Only" a keyboard new wave track, and "Stay Hungry" a song eerily similar to the more recent Red Hot Chilli Peppers track "By The Way". The band who was known as an Art-Rock, New Wave band, definitely showed it on this album. The album was also produced by Brian Eno (Roxy Music, David Bowie), he gave them a new sense of direction and song structure.

In 1979, Fear of Music was released. Eno once again worked with the band. The album would jump into a different musical direction while still remaining New Wave. African rhythms would be added to the mix. The album mostly written and recorded in the live setting, was a step into a different direction for the band, yet again. The first song of the album "I Zimbra" is a African vibed song with lyrics inspired from a Dadist poem. "Life During Wartime" is a powerful track, lyrically and musically. The song is about guerrilla movements in the US and live underground music scenes, referenced in the lyrics "This ain't no party/This ain't no disco/This ain't no fooling around". The album also contained the eerie and melodic "Heaven" and "Air" a song about air pollution. Also Robert Frip known for the work he's done with King Crimson, added some guitar to the tracks. The album is just as good as any in the bands catalog.

Remain in Light came in 1980. It was yet again produced by Brain Eno he is even credited for some of the music compositions. The band jumped further into the African rhythms, but also added funk with a New Wave spin. The album contained the track "Once in a Lifetime" which would do good in the UK but not in the US. There also seems to be some early New York rap influence on this album as well with the song "Houses in Motion". This would be the groups last album with Eno. The band would go on tour in support of the album then take a short break and embark on some side projects. In 1983 the band returned with Speaking in Tongues. The album had a more 80's vibe, it also featured the song that would be a big hit for the band "Burning Down the House". The album also featured the pop masterpiece "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)". The band would go on a tour which would be filmed and can be seen in the film Stop Making Sense, which was directed by Johnathan Demme. This would also be the bands last tour. In 1982, a double live album was released titled The Name of The Band Is Talking Heads. The album featured songs from the bands early and later career. In 1984, Stop Making Sense, the soundtrack from the film was released, consisting of live performances from the film.

David Byrne would then direct his first film titled True Stories in 1985, which was a musical comedy. Little Creatures another Talking Heads album was released in the same year. The album was said to be more of a pop album than any of the previous albums by the band. The album drew in new influences such as Country. The album contained great tracks such as "And She Was", "Stay Up Late", and "Road to Nowhere". In 1986, the album True Stories was released, which was named after the Byrne film. It is a collection of odds and ends from the bands catalog, but there are some great worth while tracks on it. "Wild Wild Life" (which would be the bands biggest hit), "Love For Sale" (created for the film), and "Radio Head" (the song where the modern band Radiohead got their name from). Apparently Byrne originally did not want his vocals on the tracks, but those of the actors in his musical film instead (these would be later released as B-sides).

1988 saw the release of the last Talking Heads album Naked. This time the band combined the sound of Little Creatures with Remain in Light and Latin and world music. The album contained songs such as "Blind" and "Mr. Jones". The band would then go on hiatus for a while. After recording one more song for a movie "Sax & Violin's" in 1991, the band called it quits. Byrne would go onto his solo career and Tina Weymouth and Chris Franz would continue recording with their side project Tom Tom Club; They were recording since 1981. Jerry Harrison would also do solo projects and produce albums such as Foo Fighters (on the song "Walking After You"), Von Bondies, No Doubt, and Live. In 1996, the group wanted to reunite for an album, but Byrne did not want any part of it, so the band got some guest musicians and released an album called No Talking Just Head, and the band would be known as The Heads. In 2002, when the band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame they played together for one last time. Despite playing together again, Byrne still says there will be no reunion for the group.

In 2003, a boxset Once in a Lifetime was released compiling material from the bands career on to three discs and a DVD containing the bands music videos. The set also contains a few rarities and B-sides. 2004 saw the release of a greatest hits album The Best of the Talking Heads by Rhino Records. In 2005, Talking Heads Brick Boxset was released. The album contained all eight studio albums remastered with bonus tracks. It was a dual disc boxset which meant that one side was the remastered CD with bonus tracks (which includes B-sides, demos, and outtakes), and the other side was a DVD that contained a 5.1 Surround Sound mix of the album and videos of the band. In 2006, all the albums were released individually in the dual disc format.

For more information on the band visit

Here's the play list from the show:

1. Magazine – my mind ain’t so open (bbc session)
2. Gang of Four – return the gift
3. Devo – wiggly world
4. 4/4 – all wound up
5. The Fans – you don’t live here anymore
6. Blondie – hanging on the telephone
7. The Victims - TV freak
8. The Diodes – tennis (again)
9. The Diodes – headache
10. Pointed Sticks – waiting for the real thing
11. Wire – fragile
12. Wire – champs
13. The Police – low life
14. Talking Heads – paper
15. Talking Heads – mind (alt version)
16. Ultravox! – frozen ones
17. Bureaucrats – feel the pain
18. Modernettes – teen city
19. Ride Theory – walk the line
20. Young Rival – dead end scene (demo)
21. Television – double exposure (1974 demo)
22. Richard Hell & the Voidoids – ignore that door
23. Tricky Woo – altamont raven
24. Tricky Woo – alright
25. Fiction Plane – anyone
26. Fiction Plane - death machine
27. Exploding Hearts – boulevard trash
28. The Caesars - may the rain

Here's some Cool Talking Heads Videos:

David Byrne on Letterman 1983 Part 1
Talking Heads on Letterman Part 2
Once in a Lifetime Music Video
This Must Be the Place Video
Found a Job from the Stop Making Sense Movie
Born Under Punches Live in Rome 1980
Psycho Killer 1982

1 comment:

ourphotoyear said...

Tracklist for the compilation I was telling you about:

The Coolest Songs In The World Vol. 2 (on Wicked Cool Records)

Joey Ramone - Maria Bartiromo
The High Dials - I Am The Eye
Cocktail Slippers - Rock & Roll Babe
Buzzcocks - Sick City Sometimes
The Grip Weeds - Love's Lost On You
Ten High - Mindreader
The Chevelles - C'Mon Everybody
The Rattlers - What Keeps Your Heart Beatin'
The Donnas - Take It Off
The Soundtrack Of Out Lives - Sister Surround
The Raveonettes - That Great Love Sound
The Contrast - Mystery #1
Sugar Shack - Form A Straight Line
The Crybabies - Fool Of Me
Outrageous Cherry - Girl You Have Magic Inside Of You
The Stems - She's Fine