Classics: Talking Heads – Psycho Killer (Sire)
A multi-instrumentist, David Byrne was a founding member and most likely the frontman of American New Wave combo Talking Heads. This from 1975 to the disbanding of the group back in 1991.
Together with Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Jerry Harrison , they created quite a unique sound. Most likely blending elements of Punk Rock, Art Rock, Funk, Dance and World Music. This resulting in firing gems. From ‘I Zimbra’ to ‘Once In A Lifetime’. Not to mention ‘Psycho Killer’ to name but a few. With the latter being the very first of their hits. Itself including a memorable French hook. Itself sayin’ “Psycho Killer, qu’est-ce que c’est?”. In other words: “Psycho Killer, what is this?”
‘Psycho Killer’ eventually saw the light as a single back in December 1977. It instantly became associated in popular culture with the contemporaneous Son of Sam‘s serial misdemeanors. An American serial killer who pleaded guilty to no less than 8 separate shooting attacks. The latter begining in New York City during the Summer of 1976. And this despite the group’s attempts to explain the fact that the song had no connection with any notorious event at the end…
A bunch of former art school students happened to embody the New York Punk scene in the mid 70’s. Givin’ birth to one of the most fascinating bands one may think of. Their name? Talking Heads!
Talking Heads saw the light from the reunion between David Byrne and Chris Frantz soon after joined by Frantz‘s girlfriend, Tina Weymooth. Together they started as The Artistics back in 1973, although they dissolved the year after. Eventually relocating to New York. Then playing their first gig as Talking Heads while opening for the Ramones at CBGB on June 05, 1975.
By that time, Weymooth had become the bassist of the band. Meanwhile a 4th member by the likes of Jerry Harrison (keyboards, guitar, backing vocals) joined them after the release of their debut-single (‘Love → Building on Fire’) in February 1977. The song did not appear on any of the band’s original studio albums though. Meanwhile Talking Heads‘ first album would see the light in September of that same year, featuring the memorable ‘Psycho Killer’.
1978 saw Talking Heads and producer Brian Eno starting a long term collaboration. But also embracing various musical directions. Meanwhile they also established a long-term recording studio relationship with the famous Nassau, Bahamas Compass Point Studios.
‘More Songs About Buildings And Food’, their second album, gave them their first Billboard Top 30 hit with their cover version of Al Green‘s ‘Take Me To The River’. Meanwhile, ‘I Zimbra’, from their third album – ‘Fear Of Music’ – confirmed their incredible eclectism, blending African and Funk vibes. Another few months on, and their 1980 ‘Remain In Light’ album would show up influences from Fela Kuti‘s Afrobeat style. Eventually spanning the intoxicating ‘Once In A Lifetime’. Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz givin’ birth to Tom Tom Club during that period.
The group went then into hiatus for 3 years after releasing 4 albums in barely 4 years. Comin’ back in 1983 with ‘Speaking In Tongues’, a commercial breakthrough that produced the band’s only American Top 10 hit by the likes of ‘Burning Down The House’. They eventually released another 3 albums with ‘Naked’ being their last in the series back in 1988. And by December 1991 they delivered a statement announcing the band had broken up.
Byrne went his way with ‘Rei Momo’ being his first post-Talking Heads album. Thus brilliantly showcasing his inclination towards Latin Music styles. Meanwhile those of you familiar with Thievery Corporation‘s music might remember their collaboration – ‘The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter’ – back in 2005. This with remix courtesy of Louie Vega…