Classics: Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime (Sire)
“Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down. Letting the days go by, water flowing underground. Into the blue again after the money’s gone. Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground…” As many words comin’ up like a sermon. And I’m not even talkin’ about David Byrne‘s distinctive flow contributing to its timeless particularism. With the song dealing with that sort of unconsciousness that sees us like operating half awake or on autopilot. Then end up, whatever, with a house and family and job and everything else. Meanwhile, we haven’t really ceased askin’ ourselves how we got here…
‘Once In A Lifetime’ happened to be far from being the favorite of his composer (Brian Eno), explained Byrne years ago. You don’t need to be a Disco no more than a Funk fan to love it though. You just need to feel the appeal of music with a sense as with a solid groove around. Which is pretty much what we have on this infectious gem which countless artists sampled. Most likely in the Hip-Hop scene, from KC Flightt to Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth. Not to mention Sugar Bear back in 1988 on ‘Don’t Scandalize Mine’.
A bunch of former art school students happened to embody the New York Punk scene in the mid 70’s. Givin’ birth to one of the most fascinating bands one may think of. Their name? Talking Heads!
Talking Heads saw the light from the reunion between David Byrne and Chris Frantz soon after joined by Frantz’s girlfriend, Tina Weymooth. Together they started as The Artistics back in 1973, although they dissolved the year after. Eventually relocating to New York. Then playing their first gig as Talking Heads while opening for the Ramones at CBGB on June 05, 1975.
By that time, Weymooth had become the bassist of the band. Meanwhile a 4th member by the likes of Jerry Harrison (keyboards, guitar, backing vocals) joined them after the release of their debut-single (‘Love → Building on Fire’) in February 1977. The song did not appear on any of the band’s original studio albums though. Meanwhile Talking Heads‘ first album would see the light in September of that same year, featuring the memorable ‘Psycho Killer’.
1978 saw Talking Heads and producer Brian Eno starting a long term collaboration. But also embracing various musical directions. Meanwhile they also established a long-term recording studio relationship with the famous Nassau, Bahamas Compass Point Studios.
‘More Songs About Buildings And Food’, their second album, gave them their first Billboard Top 30 hit with their cover version of Al Green‘s ‘Take Me To The River’. Meanwhile, ‘I Zimbra’, from their third album – ‘Fear Of Music’ – confirmed their incredible eclectism, blending African and Funk vibes. Another few months on, and their 1980 ‘Remain In Light’ album would show up influences from Fela Kuti‘s Afrobeat style. Eventually spanning the intoxicating ‘Once In A Lifetime’. Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz givin’ birth to Tom Tom Club during that period.
The group went then into hiatus for 3 years after releasing 4 albums in barely 4 years. Comin’ back in 1983 with ‘Speaking In Tongues’, a commercial breakthrough that produced the band’s only American Top 10 hit by the likes of ‘Burning Down The House’. They eventually released another 3 albums with ‘Naked’ being their last in the series back in 1988. And by December 1991 they delivered a statement announcing the band had broken up.
Byrne went his way with ‘Rei Momo’ being his first post-Talking Heads album. Thus brilliantly showcasing his inclination towards Latin Music styles. Meanwhile those of you familiar with Thievery Corporation‘s music might remember their collaboration – ‘The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter’ – back in 2005. This with remix courtesy of Louie Vega…