41 Comments

I disagree with you about their version of "River" being better than the original. Nobody beats Al Green and the Hi Rhythm Section at their finest.

Expand full comment
Jul 14, 2023Liked by Kevin Alexander

I went through the biggest Eno/Talking Heads phase in my early 20s. I looove this album. I’m pretty sure I was able to score most of the Talking Heads albums via Columbia House. 😆

This one has one of my favorite opening tracks to an album ever.

Plus Artists Only was my anthem for years!

Expand full comment

Thank you for this Kevin! Sophomore releases usually get such a bad rap but this album is pure gold. Stop Making Sense also had such an impact on me. It was wacky and beautiful. That's where I saw Tina Weymouth in action for the first time and fell in love. "This Must Be the Place" was my wedding song (like so many people I'm sure.)

Expand full comment

I sort of avoided Talking Heads when I was a young teenager, gradually making my way over to grunge instead (and then punk). I'm not sure why, but I never really revisited them with a deep dive. I do like some of their stuff, though, so maybe this is a kick in the pants to take another look.

Expand full comment

The Name of This Band is...my favorite live album ever. The frenetic coked to the gills energy and pace of that album, not to mention the musicianship and quality of the songs makes a strong case for Talking Heads as a top five American band of all time. I particularly love the live versions of the Fear of Music tracks on there, but it's all amazing. Incredibly, their biggest hit albums would follow thx largely to Burning Down the House becoming a frat boy anthem.

Expand full comment

Standing O, Kevin! I saw this tour in '78, and for the first time in print, my story: I played pinball with David backstage after....don't let him tell you HE won! That's my story, and I'm sticking to it! BTW, I witnessed no disharmony in the, admittedly, brief time with them. Chris and Tina were either just gonna be, or had just been married, and were a suitably sweet couple!

Expand full comment
Jul 14, 2023·edited Jul 14, 2023Liked by Kevin Alexander

It's crazy some of the album runs the bands of this era had. Talking Heads, the Smiths, the Cure, REM, the Replacements.

Like most young-ish people, I found out about the Talking Heads through "Once In a Lifetime" but this one may be my favorite album of theirs.

Expand full comment

Great piece for an essential record, Kevin! I obviously missed seeing the Talking Heads but have been fortunate enough to see the off-Broadway version of Here Lies Love (easily the most incredible theater experience I’ve ever had) and caught American Utopia at Red Rocks, so I can’t complain. Thrifted Byrne’s Rei Momo a few weeks ago, which I had never heard, and holy moly, is it a fun summer record. I highly recommend if you’ve missed it as well!

Expand full comment

Still my fave TH album. I first heard this at a friends loft apartment in NZ while playing table tennis and stoned. Great days. He had no neighbors and cranked the dial up.

Expand full comment
Jul 14, 2023Liked by Kevin Alexander

I'm always going to weight Fear Of Music and Remain In Light more heavily than the first two, but this was a leap from the skeletal (but still very good) debut. As for the River conundrum, I love Al Green's version yet always felt it was a bit fast, enjoying the syrupy tempo of the Heads' version. But that could be because I heard the cover before the original. I also like Bryan Ferry's delicately funky version from The Bride Stripped Bare, which came out about two months after More Songs.

Expand full comment
Jul 14, 2023Liked by Kevin Alexander

I want to say that More Songs About Buildings and Food is the first Talking Heads album I bought, followed shortly after by Talking Heads: 77 and Fear of Music. But my brain was rarely clear back then, so it is possible that Talking Heads: 77, or Fear of Music, was the first. Either way, I became a Talking Heads fan, started buying their albums as they came out, and I am still a fan. I listened to their entire discography a couple of years back. By the time I got to Naked, I had no desire to listen to their live or compilation albums. Fortunately, I could get back to the Talking Heads eventually and still be in love with their music, including More Songs About Buildings and Food. David Byrne live in 2018 still ranks as one of the best concerts ever in my concert compendium.

Expand full comment
Jul 14, 2023Liked by Kevin Alexander

Great post Kevin!! A personal moment in time which, like all such moments in time will be lost “...like tears in the rain”: the day I was grocery shopping while “And She Was” played on the overhead Muzak. A good moment (they, and that song were always favorites), and a not so good moment. I was suddenly “old”....

Expand full comment

Thanks for this Kevin! I’m not sure why I never really got into Talking Heads. But over the years I’ve thought I should take the time to dig into their catalog. I’m doing that now, starting with this album so thanks!

Expand full comment

I received this LP as a Christmas gift in 1978. Unfortunately, it was warped so badly as to be unplayable. My parents didn't keep the receipt (I'm the eldest of seven!) so I wrote and mailed (!) a letter to Sire Records in NYC and in a matter of days, a new copy arrived at my house, no questions asked. Different times.

I still have that copy and it sounds great to this day. The Big Country just played randomly on my iPod in the car and I cranked it up. So, so good.

Expand full comment

I have a friend who's in a punk band, a really good one at that. He had NEVER heard of Talking Heads before I played them for him. He's a good fifteen years younger than me, but still! Next thing he'll tell me is that he's never heard of Blondie.

Expand full comment

On balance I still (marginally) prefer the 'shock value' of '77', but this is a truly great/innovative record (with a brilliant ironic title), ending with the magnificent 'The Big Country'

Expand full comment