Friday, 9 January 2015

Art of the Cover - Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer" (1977)

Qu'est-ce que c'est? ... indeed!

Yap, the very interesting (and very phallic) artwork for the great single (yeah, the Heads were once damn good!).

'Psycho Killer' was released in a different - and better - version from the album version, as a single for "Talking Heads 77" back in December 1977.

Written by David Byrne, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, "Psycho Killer" was actuallly first played by their band The Artistics some years earlier - back in 1974 - prior to the incarnation of the Heads.

The band's "signature debut hit" features bizarro dark lyrics which delve into the mind of an especially sick, soulless, sociopathic killer ...  think an amalgam of Cheney, Obama and Kissinger!

The song has been released in a number of different version down the years.

A live version was released on The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads in 1982 (the later expanded CD release of which included, as a bonus track, a second, later live version from the Remain in Light tour.)

In 1984, another live version was included on the soundtrack for Stop Making Sense, the band's legendary concert movie. 

Stop Making Sense, of course, opens with Byrne alone onstage, announcing "'Hi. I've got a tape I want to play" and strumming maniacally like Richie Havens, belting out an amazing acoustic version of "Psycho Killer", backed only by a Roland TR-808 drum machine whose sound appears to be issuing from a boom box.

The song appears on their wonderful 1992 compilation album Sand in the Vaseline: Popular Favorites 

"Psycho Killer" also appears on a later expansive compilation album The Best of Talking Heads.

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