New York’s new wave royalty, Talking Heads, were nothing short of a creative and commercial sensation over their 15-year reign in the late 1970s and ‘80s. Their creativity and musical mastery propagated gradually over their first four albums, reaching a peak with the 1980 masterpiece, Remain In Light. Their mission for the 1980s was to keep their sound fresh while maintaining the same level of appeal as they had achieved with the first four albums.
While Talking Heads arguably never reached the same creative peak as achieved with Remain In Light, they were more than successful in maintaining intrigue with their following album, Speaking In Tongues, in 1983. The album marked a new commercial peak for the group thanks to its funky rock anthems, including their only US top-ten hit to date, ‘Burning Down the House’.
They followed up with their sixth studio album, Little Creatures, in 1985. The album saw the band impressively maintain their commercial peak. Little Creatures became Talking Heads’ best-selling album thanks to its buoying singles, ‘The Lady Don’t Mind’, ‘Road to Nowhere’ and ‘And She Was’. In the latter, the Heads managed to take a leaf out of the Beatles’ book and release a high-charting single about a girl tripping on LSD.
The subject of the 1985 MTV favourite was a girl whom frontman David Byrne had once known while living in Baltimore. “I used to know a blissed-out hippie chick in Baltimore,” Byrne wrote in the liner notes of Once in a Lifetime: The Best of Talking Heads. “She once told me that she used to do acid and lay down on the field by the Yoo-hoo chocolate soda factory. Flying out of her body, etc etc. It seemed like such a tacky kind of transcendence… but it was real! A new kind of religion being born out of heaps of rusted cars and fast food joints. And this girl was flying above it all, but in it too.”
Watch the fittingly trippy music video for David Byrne’s ode to a Baltimore “hippie chick” below.