Every now and then music needs somebody to come along, grab it by the lapels and rattle it about like a pinball in-play during an earthquake. Talking Heads didn’t quite do this entirely. David Byrne and the band more sort of moseyed up to the music industry, introduced themselves as an intergalactic presence, walked it hand-in-hand to the dancefloor and showed it how to make Flippy Floppy. As bassist Tina Weymouth once said, “When Talking Heads started, we called ourselves Thinking Man’s Dance Music.”
This unique approach to the craft made Talking Heads one of the most original acts of all time, but their music shows the true worth of ‘originality’ as an adjective. It should be a token used to describe your work as opposed to something to strive for while making it, this notion is where imitators have gone wrong and the band themselves triumphed unquestionably. Behind the singular sound that the band crafted is a simple need for exultation that we can all celebrate in.
David Byrne once said, “I couldn’t talk to people face to face, so I got on stage and started screaming and squealing and twitching.” This need to escape from yourself and to cut the dull ties of banality that tether us to the grind of the ‘everyday’, is gorgeously elucidated in their music. They extend this need for spiritual escapism out to the listener as an unmistakable entreaty to join them in the beatific rhapsody of music.
As is clear from this clip, their unique approach worked out from the start as they came flying out of the CBGB with all the subtly of a speeding juggernaut set ablaze careening up a pedestrian street. As is also apparent in the clip and later shows like Stop Making Sense, the energy is even greater in their live shows.
The band rattled through ‘Girls Want to be with the Girls’ and it is an exhilarating thing to behold. Despite the video dating back to New York in 1976, the song would evade their debut and wouldn’t feature on record until 1978’s More Songs About Buildings and Food.
Amid an unbelievable purple patch that followed this song, the band kicked the tune to the wayside in a live sense. The video is somewhat of a rare performance of it. In fact, all in all Talking Heads only played the song live on 63 occasions, having debuted it back in 1975 at the famed CBGB.
You can check out the riotous rendition below.