Friday, June 22, 2018

Speak/Talk: Talking Heads Burning Down the House

purchase [ Speaking in Tongues ]

It seemed such a no-brainer to include Talking Heads Speaking in Tongues that I feared it had already been done here. It's been done lots of other places, but I'll bring it back from wherever in history it's been lurking for you. We're talking about 1983 here.

To start, I browsed the entire archive of Star Maker posts related to the Talking Heads over the years (of which there are about 20) and don't see that anyone has ever picked this one up.

Curiously, the Wiki tells us that Burning Down the House was their "lone top ten single on the US Billboard Hot 100." Me? I loved them and I still follow David Byrne through his mailing list/blog at

Just about every one of their albums "went gold", so that's nothing to scoff at, and there's no denying that especially Tina Weymouth and David Byrne have written their names in the pantheon of modern music greats.

You are aware of course that their vocal style is pretty heavily built on talking imposed over a funky/new wave instrumental composition. Burning Down the House is no exception. The line itself apparently comes from a common audience chant of those years, which the band adopted/converted to their use.

And then there's the Tom Jones/Cardigans rendition of the same. One of his better outputs (unless you want to count Delilah!)

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