The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads is a live compilation album from Talking Heads spanning the years from 1977 to 1981.
This represents the time when Talking Heads were at their most innovative, coming out of the punk movement at the CBGBs club but sounding nothing like punk. In my classification system I’m treating talking Heads as both a new wave band and an art rock band.
This album represents Talking Heads at their brilliant, quirky best and in my opinion is even more exciting than Stop Making Sense.
If you’re wondering about the title, the group were often incorrectly called The Talking Heads. David Byrne would often introduce songs with the phrase “The name of this song …”
The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads
My Rating – 29 out of 30 – an outstanding live album
Average Amazon Customer Rating – %%AVERAGERATING%% Stars
Set List Rating – 10/10
- New Feeling – 3:09 (1977) (from the album 77)
- A Clean Break (Let’s Work) – 5:05 (1977) (new to this album I think)
- Don’t Worry About The Government – 3:03 (1977) (from 77)
- Pulled Up – 4:04 (1977) (from 77)
- Psycho Killer – 5:31 (1977) (from 77)
- Who Is It? – 1:44 (1977) (from 77)
- The Book I Read – 4:22 (1977) (from 77)
- The Big Country – 5:09 (1978) (More Songs About Buildings And Food)
- I’m Not in Love – 4:57 (1978) (More Songs About Buildings And Food)
- The Girls Want to Be with the Girls – 3:44 (1978) (More Songs About Buildings And Food)
- Electricity (Drugs) – 3:28 (1978) (Fear Of Music)
- Found a Job – 5:35 (1978) (More Songs About Buildings And Food)
- Mind – 4:56 (1979) (Fear Of Music)
- Artists Only – 3:49 (1979) (More Songs About Buildings And Food)
- Stay Hungry – 4:05 (1979) (More Songs About Buildings And Food)
- Air – 4:01 (1979) (Fear Of Music)
- Love → Building on Fire – 3:47 (1979) (77 as a bonus)
- Memories (Can’t Wait) – 3:44 (1979) (Fear Of Music)
- Heaven – 4:31 (1979) (Fear Of Music)
- Psycho Killer – 5:33 (1981) (77)
- Warning Sign – 5:40 (1981) (More Songs About Buildings and Food)
- Stay Hungry – 3:56 (1981) (More Songs About Buildings and Food)
- Cities – 5:00 (1980) (Fear Of Music)
- I Zimbra – 3:30 (1980) (Fear Of Music)
- Drugs (Electricity) – 4:41 (1980) (Fear Of Music)
- Once in a Lifetime – 5:57 (1981) (Remain In Light)
- Animals – 4:05 (1981) (Fear Of Music)
- Houses in Motion – 6:54 (1980) (Remain In Light)
- Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On) – 8:24 (1981) (Remain In Light)
- Crosseyed and Painless – 5:58 (1980) (Remain In Light)
- Life During Wartime – 4:54 (1980) (Fear Of Music)
- Take Me to the River – 6:33 (1980) (More Songs About Buildings And Food)
- The Great Curve – 6:42 (1980) (Remain In Light)
Three songs are repeated twice – Psycho Killer, Stay Hungry and Drugs/Electricity.
This is a comprehensive summary of their first four studio albums – 77, More Songs About Buildings And Food, Fear Of Music and Remain In Light – played in roughly date and album order.
This gives a chance to see how Talking Heads developed in their early years.
Performance Rating – 10/10
The performances on this album are consistent excellent and in my opinion, much better than on the studio albums.
This is high quality, intelligent rock played with so much energy it positively crackles.
The early songs feature Talking Heads as a tight four piece band but the second disc is a much bigger band.
David Byrne’s vocals are jittery and strained but completely compelling. He demands your attention and you’re forced to listen to the lyrics. These songs hook you in and keep you mesmerised.
Here are some videos of Talking Heads performing live in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Don’t Worry About The Government – this 1978 recording comes from the Old Grey Whistle Test on the BBC and is another slice of my personal history.
And here’s Psycho Killer again on the OGWT.
Crosseyed And Painless in Rome in 1980
Take Me To The River – again from Rome in 1980
Atmosphere & Authenticity Rating – 9/10
The sound is terrific. Very clear and well mixed.
My only criticism is that in my purist hard, I like live albums to be from one gig or one tour. The Name Of The Band Is Talking Heads doesn’t do that but I don’t want to lose any of the songs.
Until we have great recordings of individual concerts from the tours to promote 77, More Songs, Fear Of Music and Remain In Light, this is an essential record of Talking Heads in their element, live on stage in front of an audience.
Total Rating For The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads – 29/30
I believe this is one of the greatest live albums ever that captures the spirit of Talking Heads in concert.
I heart this before Stop Making Sense and it spoilt me. People rave about that album but I find myself thinking “what’s all the fuss, you can’t have heard The Name Of This Band.”
I bought the first four Talking Heads albums when they first came out but this beats them all. If I want to hear Talking Heads, this is the album I turn to and would be the first one I’d recommend anyone buy.
An essential slice of late 70s and early 80s art rock and new wave / funk rock.
What Others Say About The Name Of This Band
This album does feature in the all time greatest live albums lists but not as often as Stop making Sense.
I find that very strange.
The lists that got it right are:
Stylus – 3rd
IGN – 7th
DigitalDreamDoor.com – 72nd
Over at Amazon, the album is loved.
Buying The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads
Do yourself a big favour and buy this album or at least listen to the samples of the songs on Amazon. I think you’ll be amazed at how good Talking Heads sound live.
These links will help you get to the albums quickly and easily but I recommend that you still search for the best deal.
What Do You Think About This Album?
I love it but I’d like to know what you rate The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads as highly as I do so please leave me a comment.
Is it the best live album by Talking Heads?
What Are The Best Live Albums Of All Time?
Help me find the best live albums of all time by voting in the readers polls.
Please vote for the best new wave albums
Please also vote for the best art rock albums
You may also be interested in the poll to find the best prog rock live albums.