We’re big fans fo Talking Heads here in the Far Out Magazine offices. We’d even go so far as to say that we may well fall into the super-fan pigeonhole. But even we hadn’t heard these musical gems; the earliest known recordings of Talking Heads from 1975.
In the year of their formation, Talking Heads arrived in New York with a suitcase full of dreams and a mind full of the next generation of rock music. Having discarded their previous name for their incarnation, The Artistics, Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, and David Byrne arrived from Rhode Island School of Design ready to change NYC.
The Heads would go on to define the city. They were the nerdy brothers and sisters of punk, the bookworm clique of art-nerds who would not only run alongside the punk rock explosion that the Ramones would lead but would go on to create the new wave of rock that would dominate the upcoming decade.
In 1975, the trio, a year or so away from Jerry Harrison joining the band, took to the CBS studios to lay down some early demo versions of what would become some of the band’s standout hits. They would lay down versions of ‘Psycho Killer’, ‘Thank You For Sending Me an Angel’, and ‘I’m Not in Love’, all of which you can hear below.
That wasn’t all that the band laid down that day. Talking Heads would also provide early demo versions of ‘I Wish You Wouldn’t Say That,’ ‘Tentative Decisions,’ and ‘Stay Hungry’ which is now available to listen to in full here. But despite these being the earliest versions of the Heads’ well-known tracks, there is one thing which makes these recordings particularly interesting.
These tracks recorded for the first time in 1975, so adored by their fans and so ubiquitous with the new wave/post-punk genre actually came before punk. So perhaps the Talking Heads are more accurately described as pre-punk?
They would languish with this progressive and forward-thinking sound without a contract for two more years until they were picked up, not by CBS records but by Sire Records. They would become label mates with the Ramones and their journey would begin. Talking Heads would follow this up with two iconic albums Talking Heads: 77 and More Songs About Buildings and Food and cement themselves as the zeitgeist band of any moment.
Before all that could happen Frantz, Weymouth, and Byrne would come together in 1975 to arrive in New York and provide some wonderful demos. You can listen to them below.
Source: Open Culture