Talking Heads: Love → Building on Fire (Love Goes To Building On Fire)

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Spotify HTTP Link: Talking Heads – Love -> Building On Fire

There are bands that you used to love years ago that you still listen to today. For me, a few examples would be The Beatles, T.Rex, R.E.M., and Mott the Hoople/Ian Hunter. Then there are bands who you used to love and never find yourself listening to at all anymore. I would have to place Talking Heads in the latter category.

And yet…

If you were there in 1977, you know what I’m talking about and if you weren’t, you have no idea what you missed. When I moved from the New York area to Philadelphia to go to art school that year, it was like stepping back in time 10 years. New York was Patti Smith, Talking Heads, and Television, while Philadelphia was Foreigner, Led Zeppelin, and the Eagles. I remember being introduced by one of my school friends: “This is Marc. He’s into punk rock. Har har har.” There was one guy named Ken who lived in the dorm who used to hang out in my room and listen to my Roxy Music albums. He was the only other person there who was into punk and new wave. Ken later left school, moved back to Long Island, and was in a band called The Bloodless Pharaohs with a guy named Brian Setzer.

But I digress. Ken and I went to The Hot Club in Philadelphia to see Talking Heads. It was one of the first new wave acts I’d ever seen. I remember looking at the crowd outside the club and thinking, so these are the other people who like this music.

When Talking Heads came on the scene, they were nerdy arty types fresh from the Rhode Island School of Design. Their music was one part 1910 Fruitgum Company, one part, I don’t know, one part just plain weird. And I was attracted to the different-ness of their music.

If you wanted to buy new wave/punk records, there were two places to get them. In New York, there was Bleeker Bob’s. In Philadelphia, there was Third Street Jazz & Rock. My UK import copy of the single Love Goes To Building On Fire probably came from Bleeker Bob’s and it was hands down my favorite Talking Heads song. The reverse side had a version of New Feeling with horns.

The song is presented in a not-so-high-quality YouTube clip above. If you have Spotify, you can use the links to check out the track in its original form. Who knows, maybe I’ll listen to Talking Heads 77 later on today.

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Peter Gabriel: Don’t Give Up (1986)

Don’t Give Up (Version 1)

Don’t Give Up (version 2)

Don’t Give Up (Secret World Live with Paula Cole)


Peter GabrielReturn with us now to the thrilling days of yesteryear, a time before music had turned to crap, a time when people who made music could actually sing and play instruments.

Peter Gabriel’s tenure as lead singer of Genesis marked the band’s creative heyday. After his departure, Genesis went on to become a hugh commercial success (emphisis on the word commercial), while Gabriel eventually became a megastar in his own right. No cause-related benefit concert of the 1980s was complete without Gabriel performing Red Rain and Biko.

I was at Gabriel’s first-ever solo show at the legendary Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ on March 5, 1977. The opening act was Television. Unfortunately, the suburban prog-rock audience wasn’t ready for Television’s New York new wave sound, and the band was literally booed off the stage.

But I digress. The reason that I chose to highlight this particular song isn’t because it’s Gabriel’s best or even my favorite. I selected it because it’s topical.

Don’t Give Up, a duet with Kate Bush, tells the story of an unemployed man who’s at the end of his rope because he can’t find a job during hard economic times.

We’re living in that time now. The current American president cares more about nationalizing the private sector and listening to the sound of his own voice than doing anything effective to stimulate the economy so people can get back to work.

There are three videos this time. The two studio versions were directed by Kevin Godley and Lol Creme. The first features Peter and Kate embracing and revolving while the sun slowly goes into and out of an eclipse. The second shows Gabriel superimposed over a town with people in hard times. The last video is a live version filmed at the Secret World Live concert in Italy and features Paula Cole as the other singer in the duet.

Bob Dylan: Idiot Wind (1975)

Bob Dylan

Going to a Bob Dylan concert is a bit of a crap shoot—you never know what you’re going to get. It could be great. It could be incoherent. It could be a little of both.

In 1961, Dylan began singing and playing folk music in New York’s Greenwich Village. By 1965, he’d written a number of notable folk songs and protest songs, including Blowin’ in the Wind and The Times They Are a-Changin. March 1965 saw the release of Bringing It All Back Home, Dylan’s first album featuring the use of electric instruments.

The folk music establishment went ballistic. Ewan MacColl, writing in Sing Out!, said:

“Our traditional songs and ballads are the creations of extraordinarily talented artists working inside traditions formulated over time…But what of Bobby Dylan?…a youth of mediocre talent. Only a non-critical audience, nourished on the watery pap of pop music could have fallen for such tenth-rate drivel.”

There are folk music enthusiasts who to this day still haven’t forgiven Dylan for breaking out into the mainstream.

“A lot of people can’t stand touring but to me it’s like breathing. I do it because I’m driven to do it.”
— Bob Dylan

Idiot Wind is one of my favorite Dylan songs. It’s certainly the most angry. Because of copyright issues, I can’t reprint the lyrics here, but fortunately, the lyrics are printed on Dylan’s website. The song comes from the Blood on the Tracks album, released in 1975. The version presented here is from a 1976 concert.

Catherine Wheel – Heal (1995)

catherine_wheelNo one who has followed Catherine Wheel over the years will ever understand why they weren’t more popular. Maybe they were ahead of their time. Maybe there just aren’t that many people around anymore with good taste in music.

The band formed in 1990 in Great Yarmouth, England and disbanded in 2000 (officially, the band is on “hiatus.”). I was lucky enough to have seen them at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City in July of that year. Seven tracks from that show are included on a bonus disc on the limited edition of the CD, Wishville.

I think Like Cats and Dogs, the B-sides record, (is my favorite Catherine Wheel album), purely because it’s conceptually different from the studio records. All the songs were recorded very quickly and written very quickly. It just reveals a very interesting side to the band which I don’t think many people are that familiar with.

– Rob Dickinson

It’s not difficult to hear Catherine Wheel’s Pink Floyd influences. A cover of Wish You Were Here appears on the album Like Cats and Dogs. The art for every Catherine Wheel album other than Ferment was designed by Storm Thorgerson of Hipgnosis fame. Hipgnosis was the team of designers who created most of Pink Floyd’s album covers, as well as most of the notable album covers of the 20th century.

You can see the similarities in the cover art of Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma and Catherine Wheel’s Wishville.

ummagumma

wishville

Singer/guitarist Rob Dickinson continues the band’s sound in his solo album, Fresh Wine for the Horses. His live shows include many Catherine Wheel songs.

The anthemic Heal appears on the album Happy Days, while another version of the song, called Heal 2, can be found on Like Cats and Dogs, an album that contained B-sides and out-takes. A live version of the song is presented here.

• Rob Dickinson’s MySpace page:
http://www.myspace.com/robdickinson