Tag Archives: Brian Eno

Rocks In The Attic #454: Talking Heads – ‘Talking Heads: 77’ (1977)

RITA#454Hands down my favourite Talking Heads record, this debut might not have Brian Eno’s production (he was installed from More Songs About Buildings And Food onwards), or the chart-storming later singles such as Once In A Lifetime or Road To Nowhere, but it has a certain charm that is impossible not to love.

You know something is immediately different with this record – with this band, in fact – when just a few lines into opening song Uh-Oh, Love Comes To Town, they break into a steel drum solo. Steel drums? Hang on, isn’t this a new wave band, a product of New York’s punk movement? To provide some context, their first gig was opening for the Ramones at CBGBs. That bass line in Uh-Oh, Love Comes To Town doesn’t suit a post-punk / new wave band either. It’s a little too close to disco.

If nothing else, this band defies convention. More Velvet Underground style art-rock than any of their CBGB peers (except maybe Television), Talking Heads would carve a niche between the underground and the mainstream throughout the 1980s. The direction that the band would take seemed to get more and more serious as the band progressed – perhaps as a product of that self-obsessed, greedy decade that the ‘80s became – however this record is easily their most fun offering.

Hit: Psycho Killer

Hidden Gem: Uh-Oh, Love Comes To Town

Rocks In The Attic #419: Talking Heads – ‘More Songs About Buildings And Food’ (1978)

RITA#419This is the second Talking Heads record, released two weeks to the day I was born in 1978. I always spot in those lists that the number one record when I was born was You’re The One That I Want by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. I think I prefer this.

The one thing that amazes me about this album – except for the music of course – is the cover. It’s probably one of my favourite pieces of album artwork – a collage of 529 close-up polaroid photos, showing the four members of the band standing looking at the camera. I never see this regarded as being a classic album cover though. Maybe it’s a little too artsy for classic rock fans – but as far as pop art goes, this is a beautiful image.

This is the first Heads album to feature Brian Eno in the producer’s chair – a partnership that would eventually see them change the face of American music, turning new wave into alternative rock, paving the way for the likes of R.E.M. and subsequently Nirvana and beyond. In terms of a comparison to their first album, this one is tighter and, dare I say it, not as fun as that debut record. One of my favourite looser moments on Talking Heads: 77 is the steel drum break in opening song Uh-Oh, Love Comes To To Town. You still hear steel drums on More Songs…, but this time it’s in a much more controlled manner (towards the end of Found A Job).

That said, Bryne is still having a whale of a time, whooping and hollering on songs like Artists Only. Here you can hear him starting to loosen up, heading in the direction of his crazy vocal performance on Once In A Lifetime. Maybe that was Eno’s plan all along – get the band under control, but let Byrne go crazy over the top?

Hit: Take Me To The River

Hidden Gem: Thank You For Sending Me An Angel