Posts Tagged ‘David Byrne’

david byrne, american utopia

Earlier this year, David Byrne appeared on Saturday Night Live for the first time in decades to perform two songs from his American Utopia Broadway show with the news that, after touring the ground-breaking music production around the world, a Spike Lee directed concert film of the incredible show was in the works.

The upcoming film was originally intended to premiere at this years’ Toronto Film Festival, but due to the current state of the world, will now be released to streaming via HBO on Oct 17th. In the first one-minute teaser that arrived today, Byrne narrates a philosophical passage over a montage of cuts featuring his roving musical ensemble (11 in total) who perform as one deconstructed band to deliver a career-spanning collection of tracks from the Talking Heads singer’s entire catalogue.

“Despite all that’s happened and despite what’s still happening, there’s still possibility,” Byrne says. “James Baldwin said: ‘I still believe that we can do with this country something that has not been done before.’”

“I see it as the journey of a character who is me but not me, because it’s not necessarily biographical,” Byrne told Ultimate Classic Rock, when speaking about the upcoming concert film last year. “He starts off within himself wondering how to be in the world, what’s the right thing to do, how you relate to other people. It’s all kind of a mystery to the character. Then this person finds himself within this little community – in this case the band – and that allows him to come out of his interior a bit. Then by the end, this person and the band are engaged in the wider world, getting involved beyond their own bubble.”

David Byrne’s American Utopia brings the critically acclaimed Broadway show to HBO in a one-of-a-kind film directed by Oscar and Emmy-winner Spike Lee. Recorded during its run at Broadway’s Hudson Theatre in New York City, David Byrne is joined by an ensemble of 11 musicians, singers, and dancers from around the globe, inviting audiences into a joyous dreamworld where human connection, self-evolution, and social justice are paramount. The HBO Special Event in partnership with Participant, River Road Entertainment and Warner Music Entertainment is produced by David Byrne’s Todomundo and Lee’s Forty Acres and a Mule Filmworks production companies and executive produced by RadicalMedia.

Who knew how wildly appropriate Byrne’s bubble metaphor would be one year later! The Spike Lee directed concert film of David Byrne’s American Utopia, will arrive on HBO Oct 17th.

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Chris Frantz is a lover, not a fighter. That’s apparent from the relationship that the drummer and co-founding member of Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club shares with both of those groups’ fellow co-founder, bassist Tina Weymouth. Together as marrieds since 1977, now living in Fairfield, Connecticut with their two sons, Frantz and Weymouth have been a unit since they were art students at the Rhode Island School of Design in the early ’70s, before they both played music, before they befriended fellow RISD student/guitarist David Byrne, and before that trio moved to NYC’s Lower East Side in 1975 to join the area’s burgeoning art-punk scene.

Along with sharing those times in the twilight of punk and the ensemble’s vividly imagined growth along the lines of innovative twitchy Afro-funk and ambient pop, Frantz—in his first memoir writings, Remain in Love: Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, Tina—portrays the glories of that rise and the joys of friendships made. Frankly, too, Frantz writes how and why it all went wrong with Byrne, how Lou Reed and Brian Eno also sought to fleece Talking Heads in their own ways, and so much more—all while managing to be jovial and justifiably appreciative of all the good that went on with both of his bands and steering commendably clear of gossip. With that, Frantz has created something novel with Remain in Love—it’s seemingly the first-ever gracious and grateful biographical rock read.

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Chris Frantz met David Byrne at the Rhode Island School of Art & Design in the early 1970s. Together – and soon with Frantz’s future wife, Tina Weymouth – they formed Talking Heads and took up residence in the grimy environs of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where their neighbours were Patti Smith, William Burroughs and a host of proto-punk artists who now have legendary status. Building an early audience and reputation with many performances at CBGB alongside the Ramones, Television and Blondie, Talking Heads found themselves feted by Warhol and Lou Reed, and signed to Sire Records. A band whose sensibility was both a part of, and apart from, punk, their early albums quickly became classics; until the Brian Eno produced masterpiece Remain in Light, saw them explode. Soon, however, relations within the band started to become strained as David Byrne started to take control of a band that had always operated democratically. Chris and Tina started recording as Tom Tom Club in the early ’80s; in the process creating a hybrid of funk, disco, pop, electro and world music that would have a huge impact on the club scene around the world.

Warm and candid, funny and heartfelt, Remain in Love charts the rise and fall of a band who combined the sensibility of artists with extraordinary songwriting vision. It is another classic New York memoir in the mould of Patti Smith’s Just Kids and a book which shares secrets and stories Talking Heads fans have been curious about for decades.

Remain In Light (Deluxe Version)

This is not only Talking Heads’ best record, it’s on the shortlist of the most innovative albums ever made. Under the influence of Brian Eno, the group began to weave African music into the dance grooves (years before Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’ did the same thing in a less transformative manner). Also, Eno and the members implemented the cutting-edge tactic of crafting loops and samples to form the core of tracks. That was unheard of when it came to rock, so it makes the music on this album a second cousin of hip-hop (another influence on the album in terms of Byrne’s delivery). Few bands have ever been so fearlessly creative as to make an extended tribal groove that is as breakneck as it is epic, then perforate it with a snarling guitar solo from Adrian Belew (“The Great Curve”). “Once in a Lifetime” is so weird, it’s hard to believe it’s become a celebrated staple of our musical past. Such is the power of a dive-bombing bass line, intriguing synthesizer sounds and Byrne’s nervy, nerdy charisma. After running themselves ragged on the earlier parts of the album, Talking Heads slow down and stretch out on the last three tracks, proving that they can be just as interesting after the dance party ends. Droning closer “The Overload” adds layer after layer of texture as it stretches into the void as the occasional squawking loop pays homage to another, great meditative final track: “Tomorrow Never Knows.” Is there a way for such dark thoughts to remain in light? Talking Heads found a way.

“And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?” The amazing “Once In A Lifetime” only hinted at the burst of creativity on the Talking Heads album “Remain In Light”. The 1980 Sire Records album finds the quartet incorporating African polyrhythms into its music, as well as making innovative use of loops and samples as instrumental tracks. Brian Eno returns as producer (guitarist Adrian Belew and funk keyboard great Bernie Worrell also contribute to the album), helping strike an appealing balance between danceable grooves (“Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On),” “Crosseyed And Painless”) and more experimental fare (“Houses In Motion,” “The Overload”). The Deluxe Edition of REMAIN IN LIGHT adds four previously unreleased outtakes to the landmark alternative rock album; we’ll give the collection a spin now to wish Heads frontman David Byrne a happy birthday.

Album cover containing a drawing of a mountain range and four mostly red warplanes flying in formation. There is green text on the left hand side and a barcode in the top right corner.

“And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?” The amazing “Once In A Lifetime” only hinted at the burst of creativity on Talking Heads’ Remain In Light. The 1980 Sire Records album finds the quartet incorporating African polyrhythms into its music, as well as making innovative use of loops and samples as instrumental tracks. Brian Eno returns as producer (guitarist Adrian Belew and funk keyboard great Bernie Worrell also contribute to the album), helping strike an appealing balance between danceable grooves (“Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On),” “Crosseyed And Painless”) and more experimental fare (“Houses In Motion,” “The Overload”). While outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Pitchfork to Slant have called Remain in Light one of the best albums of the 1980s, it has a thrilling sense of discovery that remains of-the-moment.

Talking Heads

  • David Byrne – lead vocals, guitars, bass guitar, keyboards, percussion, vocal arrangements
  • Jerry Harrison – guitars, bass guitar, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals
  • Tina Weymouth – bass guitar, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals
  • Chris Frantz – drums, percussion, keyboards, backing vocals

David Byrne

The filmed version of the acclaimed Broadway show David Byrne’s American Utopia, directed by Academy Award–winning director Spike Lee, will be presented by HBO and will debut on HBO later this year. “David Byrne’s American Utopia is a uniquely transformative experience and a perfect example of how entertainment can bring us together during these challenging times,” said Nina Rosenstein, Executive Vice President, HBO Programming. “Spike’s brilliant direction adds a level of intimacy to this powerful performance, and we’re so thrilled to share this groundbreaking show with our audience.”
Spike and I have crossed paths many times over the years, obviously I’m a huge fan and now finally here was an opportunity for us to work together,” said David Byrne. “I am absolutely thrilled with the result. The Broadway show was a wonderful challenge as well as an opportunity—it was a joy to perform and, well, best to let the quotes speak for themselves.

Thrilled that this show and the subjects it addresses will now reach a wider audience.”
“It is my honour and privilege that my art brother, Mr. David Byrne, asked me to join him in concert, to invite me into his magnificent world of American Utopia,” Spike Lee said. “And dat’s da ‘once in a lifetime’ truth, Ruth. Ya-dig? Sho-nuff. Peace and love. Be safe.”

The Broadway production of American Utopia featured Byrne, together with eleven musical artists from around the world performing songs from Byrne’s 2018 album of the same name, along with songs from Talking Heads and his solo career for a major cultural milestone in the worlds of music and theater. The original American Utopia album, as well as the Broadway cast recording, were released on Nonesuch Records.

The set list each night included “Once in a Lifetime,” “Burning Down the House,” several selections from Byrne’s American Utopia solo album, and a rendition of Janelle Monáe’s “Hell You Talmbout,” which featured Byrne and the musicians calling out the names of black Americans who have been unjustly killed with the refrains “say his name” or “say her name.”

In a recent interview, Byrne recalled approaching Monáe about permission to use the song. “She loved it,” he said. “I was kind of surprised. There was no hesitation. She’s very generous. So I continue to ask her, ‘We’re doing it on Broadway now. You sure you’re OK with all this?’ ‘Yeah.’ I thought I had to do that; I had to check with her and see what her take was on that, because otherwise, it could seem pretty strange. She’s about getting the message out.”

This one-of-a-kind, dynamic film gives audiences around the world access to Byrne’s electrifying Broadway show that played to sold-out, record-breaking audiences during its run from October 2019 to February 2020 at Broadway’s Hudson Theater. The New York Times called the production “dazzling, jubilant and rapturous,” while the Hollywood Reporter hailed it as “an astonishing knockout.” The Broadway production featured the work of choreographer Annie-B Parson, with Alex Timbers serving as production consultant (both had previously collaborated with Byrne on the acclaimed Imelda Marcos musical Here Lies Love); lighting design by Rob Sinclair and sound design by Pete Keppler; Karl Mansfield and Mauro Refosco are musical directors.

David Byrnes American Utopia

In addition to the partnership of David Byrne and Spike Lee, the feature-length film includes the work of choreographer Annie-B Parson; director of photography, Ellen Kuras (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind); production consultant Alex Timbers; and editor Adam Gough (Roma). Collaborating with Kuras are eleven camera operators, many of whom are directors of photography in their own right, including Declan Quinn (Leaving Las Vegas) and Sam Levy (Lady Bird).

American Utopia, the album upon which the stage show is based, received a Grammy nomination and was the first by Byrne to reach No. 1 on the Top Current Album Chart. Released by Nonesuch Records in 2018, it was a global hit and the accompanying tour reached more than 27 countries with 150 concert dates.

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You’ve seen Stop Making Sense a million times (and if you haven’t, You must watch that) but maybe you haven’t seen this — Talking Heads playing Rome on the “Remain in Light” tour. It’s less of a flashy production and and a little more punk, with the augmented “10-piece funk machine” line up of the group that included Bernie Worrell and Adrian Belew, and the setlist that hits some deeper cuts (or at least just pre-“Burning Down the House”). No big suits, just a killer performance with especially awesome renditions of “I Zimbra” and “Crosseyed and Painless.”

This full show footage finds the band hitting their stride with the expanded and rather talented roster (in all its art-funk worldbeat glory) you can see at the bottom. Moreover, there’s a reason Nine Inch Nails fans should be thrilled to death about new touring member Adrian Belew and these videos below paint a pretty good picture of just how special and unique the out-of-the-stratosphere King Crimson guitarist is (see “Stay Hungry”, “Crosseyed and Painless” and “The Great Curve” for reference). Throw P-Funk’s Bernie Worrell in the mix and this show stacks up musically with Stop Making Sense, albeit lacking in the Big Suit department. Consider this the visual b-side prequel to Demme’s legendary concert film.

Setlist:
01. Psycho Killer, 02. Stay Hungry, 03. Cities, 04. I Zimbra, 05. Drugs, 06. Take Me to the River, 07. Crosseyed and Painless 08. Life During Wartime, 09. Houses in Motion, 10. Born Under Punches
11. The Great Curve

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Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne was the musical guest on the February. 29th episode last week’s of Saturday Night Live, where he performed the Talking Heads classic “Once in a Lifetime” and his BPA collaboration “Toe Jam.” Fresh off his recently extended “American Utopia Broadway” residency and word that Spike Lee will direct the film version of the show,

The episode was hosted by comic and former SNL writer John Mulaney. Watch Byrne’s sets and his appearance in an elaborate Broadway-themed tribute to LaGuardia Airport (which featured a guest appearance from Jake Gyllenhaal) below.

The last time Byrne performed on SNL was in 1989 when he released his debut solo album, Rei Momo.

Byrne recently announced that his hit Broadway stage show American Utopia will return in September for a 17-week run through early 2021.

Musical guest David Byrne performs on Saturday Night Live.

Nonesuch Records releases the cast album for the critically acclaimed Broadway production of David Byrne’s American Utopia, with music and lyrics by David Byrne; it is available now.  The two-CD set will be released on November 22nd,  a vinyl edition will be available this winter.

“Dazzling, rapturous and jubilant,” exclaims the New York Times of the show. “Byrne puts the central tenet of making contact with a world outside your mind into dynamic, sensory practice onstage.”

“Astonishing,” raves Hollywood Reporter. “A knockout celebration of music, dance and song. Pure bliss.”

“A heady swirl of hope for our anxious times,” says Rolling Stone. “The concert-theater-dance spectacle finds solace in human connections … a tonic for our tumultuous times…”

American Utopia began as an album, also released by Nonesuch, which received a Grammy nomination and was the first by Byrne to reach #1 on the Album Chart; it was also his first to reach the Top Five on the Billboard 200 chart. The concert tour in support of American Utopia, which inspired the Broadway show, included songs from the new album along with music from Talking Heads and Byrne’s solo career. Byrne and the ensemble performed more than 150 dates in twenty-seven countries over nine months. The British publication NME said it “may just be the best live show of all time.”

Byrne performs a song from David Byrne’s American Utopia on Jimmy Kimmel Live! during a special broadcast from the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) October 22nd. Additionally, Byrne and the Broadway ensemble will be musical guests on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on November 19th.

David Byrne’s American Utopia features David Byrne with Jacquelene Acevedo, Gustavo Di Dalva, Daniel Freedman, Chris Giarmo, Tim Keiper, Tendayi Kuumba, Karl Mansfield, Mauro Refosco, Stéphane San Juan, Angie Swan, and Bobby Wooten III; Davi Viera also performs on the album. The show’s design team includes Rob Sinclair (lighting) and Pete Keppler (sound). Karl Mansfield and Mauro Refosco are Musical Directors. Choreography and Musical Staging is by Annie-B Parson. Alex Timbers serves as Production Consultant.

David Byrne’s American Utopia is the once-in-a-lifetime Broadway event that delivers “an experience unlike anything else” and marks a major cultural milestone in the worlds of music and theater. David Byrne shares the spotlight with a diverse ensemble of eleven musical artists from around the globe to deliver “a marvel of staging and motion” that’s a “thought-provoking example of the power of live music” .

David Byrne’s recent works include the launch of Reasons to be Cheerful, an online magazine focused on solutions-oriented stories about problems being solved all over the world (2019);

Byrne curated Southbank Centre’s annual Meltdown festival in London in 2015. A co-founder of the group Talking Heads (1976–88), he has released eight studio albums as a solo artist and worked on multiple other projects, including collaborations with Brian Eno, Twyla Tharp, Robert Wilson, and Jonathan Demme, among others. He also founded the highly respected record label Luaka Bop. Recognition of Byrne’s various works include Obies, Drama Desk, Lortel, and Evening Standard awards for Here Lies Love; an Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe for the soundtrack to Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor; and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Talking Heads. Byrne’s work as a visual artist has been published and exhibited since his college days, including photography, filmmaking, and writing. He lives in New York City.

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The erstwhile Talking Heads frontman was behind one of the year’s most critically-acclaimed and beloved live tours, bringing a barefoot ensemble of untethered musicians onto stages across the world with a celebratory, career-spanning setlist. The tour took place on the back of what surprisingly ended up being one of the year’s more overlooked LPs in American Utopia, Byrne’s first proper solo endeavour in years. “House” was its lead single, and is filled with a classic sense of Byrnian paranoia and unease while simultaneously peppering in a sizzling horn section and head-voice, Sampha-assisted melodies. Long may the grand Byrne spectacle continue.

“The chicken thinks in mysterious ways,” David Byrne informs us on ‘Every Day Is A Miracle’, and you can’t argue with that. The Talking Heads hero turned in a record that, he claimed, was not named ironically – the 66-year-old genuinely still believes in the power of positivity, despite the onslaught of horror-show headlines. Here, he revels in wonder and astonishment at the beauty and bizarreness of the world around him, his wonky art-pop more skewed than ever. This left-field approach (some tracks sound like alternate universe show tunes) is best realised on ‘Everybody’s Coming To My House’, an eccentric ode to the power of community.

Recorded on September 15th, 2018 at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, NY.

Setlist: 0:00 Here 4:18 Lazy 9:00 I Zimbra 12:11 Slippery People 16:59 I Should Watch TV 20:17 Dog’s Mind 24:28 Everybody’s Coming to My House 28:13 This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) 33:15 Once in a Lifetime 39:00 Doing the Right Thing 43:35 Toe Jam 48:55 Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On) – with band intros 55:32 I Dance Like This 1:00:19 Bullet 1:03:52 Every Day Is a Miracle 1:08:48 Like Humans Do 1:12:35 Blind 1:17:54 Burning Down the House Encore 1: 1:25:28 Dancing Together 1:28:46 The Great Curve Encore 2: 1:36:30 Hell You Talmbout – with Merrill Garbus from tUnE-yArDs

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david byrne 1989

If mere mortals were as capable and accomplished as David Byrne then we would most definitely be having this conversation in this galaxy so far, far away!

David Byrne first introduced himself to the world in 1975 as the frontman of the American new wave pioneers, Talking Heads. Since their disbandment in 1991, he has released a prolific collection of solo albums and works across a broad range of media including film, photography, opera, fiction, non-fiction and theatre.

Here are some of the great moments in the career of an artist boasting limitless creativity, and an overwhelming passion to transform the world around him for all.

TRUE STORIES,

David Byrne made his debut on the big screen in 1986 when he wrote, directed and starred in True Stories. He described the film as ‘… an ode to the extraordinariness of ordinary American life …’, reviewers described it as ‘60 minutes on acid’ – proving that with David Byrne at the helm, even an exploration of the mundane is a potentially mind-bending experience!

To celebrate the anniversary of the film’s release,True Stories, A Film by David Byrne: The Complete Soundtrack will be released on vinyl LP, CD, and digital formats on November 23rd

AMERICAN UTOPIA

Released earlier this year, American Utopia is a celebration of euphoria designed to remind us of all that’s good in the world. The first single, “Everybody’s Coming to My House” was co-written with longtime collaborator and all-round musical superhero, Brian Eno.

“The chicken imagines a heaven, full of roosters and plenty of corn,” sang David Byrne on Everyday Is A Miracle, an avian highlight from this, his first solo album since 2004. Though it isn’t quite the accessible treat some were anticipating, for others, American Utopia is one of Byrne’s best; heavily electronic, the record boasts production by Thomas Bartlett, Daniel Lopatin and Rodaidh McDonald, among others, and there are pleasing touches of the global, electronic funk Byrne has regularly released on his Luaka Bop label. The likes of Gasoline And Dirty Sheets might bounce along on a sturdy dancehall beat, but much of American Utopia is a wry reflection of the times we live in: Bullet is a joyous song about a brutal shooting, for example, while I Dance Like This moves suddenly between pretty piano verses and industrial choruses. More than poultry thrills here, it turns out.

“These songs attempt to describe the world we live in now—and that world, when we look at it, as we live in it, as it impacts on us – immediately commands us to ask ourselves – is there another way? A better way? A different way?

ABORETUM

Since the 1990’s, David Byrne’s visual art has been shown in contemporary art galleries and museums around the world.  In 2006, his sketchbook of tree drawings titled, Arboretum was published, featuring a decade’s worth of “mental maps of imaginary territory” earning him the title of ‘visual philosopher’ in the art community.

LOVE THIS GIANT

David Byrne has released an extensive range of experimental collaborations with cutting-edge female artists. One shining example is the brazen album, Love This Giant(2012), written and recorded with St. Vincent. The formidable pair of alt-art-rockers combine dissonant textures and eclectic, juxtaposing, melodic hooks to create an immersive but challenging work unlike anything else in either musician’s prior solo efforts.

TALKING HEADS 

In 1974 Byrne moved to New York City with a dream of starting a band. He was joined by friend, Chris Frantz and his girlfriend Tina Weymouth who would become the band Talking Heads by 1975.

The group found themselves at the forefront of the new wave movement that was bubbling up in New York’s underground music scene, setting themselves apart and defining an era with their refined, minimalist sound, slick suits and intellectual overtones.

MY LIFE IN THE BUSH OF GHOSTS 

During his time in Talking Heads, Byrne also took on a number of outside projects. In 1979 he collaborated with Brian Eno on an album titled, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts which attracted considerable critical acclaim due to its early use of analogue sampling and found sounds that would form the basis of modern-day electronica.

CYCLING 

Motivated by the freedom and exhilaration, David Byrne is an avid cycling enthusiast. In 2008 he designed a series of bicycle parking racks that were later sold as artworks, featuring images corresponding with their locations. He has also written widely on the subject in his 2009 non-fiction book, Bicycle Diaries.

THE SIMPSONS 

In 2003, Byrne set a benchmark for cameos when he guest starred as himself on The Simpsons in an episode titled, ‘Dude, Where’s My Ranch?’ for which he penned and performed the classic number, ‘Everybody Hates Ned Flanders’.

HERE LIES LOVE 

In late 2005, Byrne teamed up with electronic artist, Fatboy Slim to produce, Here Lies Love, a disco opera about the life of Imelda Marcos, the controversial former First Lady of the Philippines. Some music from this piece was debuted at Adelaide Festival of Arts in Australia in February 2006.

REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL

Obama was on his way out, Trump was on his way up, and Byrne wanted to alleviate the gloom by collating stories of positive change from around the world. Playing the part of a dapper academic with his sharp grey suit and shock of white hair, David Byrne presenting a slide show of uplifting human stories designed to remind audiences of all the Reasons to be Cheerful.

With a dedication to making the world a better place at the heart of all of his projects, David Byrne is a rare and true example of the highly evolved. The artist has dedicated his life’s work to looking on the bright side and asking if things can be done differently – for the better of all.

American Utopia

“The chicken imagines a heaven, full of roosters and plenty of corn,” sang David Byrne on Everyday Is A Miracle, an avian highlight from this, his first solo album since 2004. Though it isn’t quite the accessible treat some were anticipating, for others, American Utopia is one of Byrne’s best; heavily electronic, the record boasts production by Thomas Bartlett, Daniel Lopatin and Rodaidh McDonald, among others, and there are pleasing touches of the global, electronic funk Byrne has regularly released on his Luaka Bop label. The likes of Gasoline And Dirty Sheets might bounce along on a sturdy dancehall beat, but much of American Utopia is a wry reflection of the times we live in: Bullet is a joyous song about a brutal shooting, for example, while I Dance Like This moves suddenly between pretty piano verses and industrial choruses. More than poultry thrills here, it turns out.

This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” is a song by the band Talking Heads, released in November 1983 as the second single from their fifth album Speaking in Tongues. The lyrics were written by David Byrne, and the music was written by Byrne and the other members of the band, Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Jerry Harrison.

Here are three different covers of a beloved song “different” because part of the fun is showcasing how artists that, in theory, are very different nonetheless share the same influences. three pretty slick covers of Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” . It’s a song that David Byrne has described as a long song:

“That’s a love song made up almost completely of non sequiturs, phrases that may have a strong emotional resonance but don’t have any narrative qualities. It’s a real honest kind of love song. I don’t think I’ve ever done a real love song before. Mine always had a sort of reservation, or a twist. I tried to write one that wasn’t corny, that didn’t sound stupid or lame the way many do. I think I succeeded; I was pretty happy with that.”

it was a full-blown love song. [..] With “This Must Be the Place”, the band simplified their sound dramatically, condensing their sonic palette to the level of small EKG blips (having switched instruments for a lark, this was nearly all they were able to reliably deliver chops-wise) and wringing out only a few chords.”

Throughout the Stop Making Sense version, Byrne and his bandmates perform by a standard lamp, while close-up images of various body parts are projected onto a screen behind them. As revealed on the commentary to the film, the body parts belong to Byrne and his girlfriend (later wife) Adelle Lutz who was also known as Bonnie. When the song reaches a bridge, the musicians step back and Byrne dances with the lamp, a reference to Fred Astaire’s similar dance with a coat-rack in the film Royal Wedding. During the song, Weymouth is seen playing a rare Fender Swinger electric guitar, instead of her usual bass.

We have different studio recorded versions of the tune including a somewhat orchestral take on the tune by Kishi Bashi; a shuffling, playful version by Sure Sure; and A stirring cover of Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody)”  a sweeping, pensive version by The Lumineers.

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And, if you’re looking for even more Naive Melody you can check out a few live versions of the tune by Car Seat Headrest & Naked Giants , Arcade Fire, Iron & Wine, and MGMT. Honestly, so many people have tackled this tune that this collection just scratches the surface. Enjoy!

The song was covered live by the Montreal-based band Arcade Fire, and is featured as the B-side to their single “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)”. Their version features David Byrne on guest vocals.

Iron & Wine and Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses performed the song on their covers album Sing into My Mouth. The album’s title is from a lyric in the song.

And finally a nice cover from the excellent Scottish band Admiral Fallow

Released 35 years ago this month, Talking Heads’ SPEAKING IN TONGUES was the group’s commercial breakthrough following a trio of acclaimed albums with producer Brian Eno. The collection includes the quartet’s first Top Ten hit, “Burning Down The House,” the follow-up single “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” is  noteworthy. Atypically for the band, “it’s a real honest kind of love song,” said lyricist David Byrne. “I don’t think I’ve ever done a real love song before.” The melody is purposefully simple, with group members switching from their usual instruments to play it, and that simplicity may explain its popularity in soundtracks and cover versions. Cited by Pitchfork as one of the 50 best songs of the 1980s,

SONG OF THE DAY - This Must Be The Place