32 minutes of Talking Heads playing CBGBs in 1975
01:47 pm
32 minutes of Talking Heads playing CBGBs in 1975

In 1975 the art-rock combo known as Talking Heads played its first gigs in New York City. In June they opened for the Ramones at CBGBs; by September they were the subject of an admiring account by John Rockwell in the New York Times. They took October off and then played a trio of gigs on the Thanksgiving weekend. December was busier, with 5 shows at CBGBs and 1 at Max’s Kansas City.

The second of those CBGBs shows took place on December 6, 1975, and Metropolis Video captured the full set on a video lasting 32 minutes.

In his excellent Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever, Will Hermes mistakenly identifies the clip as being recorded two weeks later, during the “CBGB Christmas Festival” weekend (it happens, nailing down shit like this is tricky):

Talking Heads played two nights at CBGB in late December. In a blurry black-and-white clip that later surfaced on YouTube, David Byrne appears to be doing a mic check, but instead of the usual “one-two” he sputters “Uh. Uh, uh” over and over, like an autistic kid in a lock groove. Tina Weymouth stands stock-still, her bass nearly the size of her torso, her hands draped over the top, waiting. She wears a dress shirt under a pullover, her hair in a blond bob. She resembles Olga Korbut, the era’s famous teenage Olympic gymnast. Byrne looks equally neat and preppy, dress shirt open at the neck, sleeves rolled up. Chris Frantz, behind his drum kit in the rear, wears a similar light-colored shirt; his head is cut off in the framing.

Three of the songs played that night ended up on their debut album Talking Heads 77. Hearing Byrne’s somewhat adenoidal rendition of ? and the Mysterians’ “96 Tears” is a special treat.

Set list:
Psycho Killer
Tentative Decisions
With Our Love
I Wish You Wouldn’t Say That
I’m Not in Love
96 Tears
No Compassion


Posted by Martin Schneider
01:47 pm



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