How Psycho Killer by Talking Heads Became a Cult Classic

How Psycho Killer by Talking Heads Became a Cult Classic

Have you ever wondered how Psycho Killer by Talking Heads became a cult classic song that has been featured in many film soundtracks and revived recently by various artists? In this blog post, we will explore the history, meaning, and impact of this iconic song that has transcended time and genres.

The Origins and Background of Psycho Killer by Talking Heads

Psycho Killer by Talking Heads was released in 1977 as the lead single from the band's debut album Talking Heads: 77. The song was written by David Byrne, Chris Frantz, and Tina Weymouth, who were the founding members of the band. The song was originally conceived as a ballad, inspired by the works of Alice Cooper and Randy Newman. However, the song evolved into a punk rock song, influenced by the music scene of CBGB, a famous club in New York City where Talking Heads performed regularly.

The song features lyrics that seem to represent the thoughts of a serial killer, who is paranoid, isolated, and violent. The song also has a chorus line in French, which translates to "What I did, that evening / What she said, that evening / Fulfilling my hope / I throw myself towards glory". The French lyrics were added by Byrne, who wanted to add some contrast and mystery to the song. The song also has a prominent bassline, played by Weymouth, and a funky guitar riff, played by Byrne.

The song was well received by critics and audiences, who praised its originality, energy, and humor. The song also became a hit in the UK, where it reached number 92 on the singles chart. The song also gained popularity in France, where it was adopted by the punk rock movement. The song also became a staple of the band's live performances, where they often extended it with improvisations and solos.

The song also marked the beginning of the band's collaboration with Brian Eno, a renowned producer and musician who helped them develop their sound and style. Eno produced the band's next three albums, More Songs About Buildings and Food, Fear of Music, and Remain in Light, which are considered some of the best albums of the new wave genre. Eno also helped the band experiment with different musical elements, such as African rhythms, synthesizers, and looping.

Psycho Killer by Talking Heads is a song that has a rich and fascinating history and evolution. It is a song that reflects the band's creativity, diversity, and innovation. It is a song that has become a cult classic, that has been featured in many film soundtracks, and that has been revived recently by various artists. In the next sections, we will explore more aspects of this song and how it has influenced and inspired many people.

The Film Soundtracks that Feature Psycho Killer by Talking Heads

Psycho Killer by Talking Heads is a song that has been featured in many film soundtracks, ranging from horror to comedy to drama. The song has a versatile and adaptable quality that can enhance the mood and atmosphere of different scenes and genres. The song can also create a contrast or a connection between the characters and the theme of the film. In this section, we will review some of the best film soundtracks that feature this song and how it relates to the film's plot and message.

One of the most famous films that feature Psycho Killer by Talking Heads is American Psycho (2000), a psychological thriller based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis. The film stars Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, a wealthy and violent investment banker who is obsessed with status and materialism. The film is a satire of the consumerist and superficial culture of the 1980s, as well as a commentary on the nature of identity and morality. The film uses Psycho Killer by Talking Heads in a scene where Bateman murders one of his colleagues, Paul Allen, played by Jared Leto. Before killing him, Bateman plays the song on his stereo and gives a detailed analysis of the song and the band, praising their artistic merit and innovation. He then proceeds to hack Allen with an axe, while singing along to the chorus. The scene is both horrifying and hilarious, as it shows the contrast between Bateman's refined and sophisticated taste and his brutal and psychotic behavior. The scene also shows the irony of Bateman's appreciation of the song, as he fails to recognize the meaning and message of the song, which is a critique of the violence and alienation of modern society.

Another film that features Psycho Killer by Talking Heads is Summer of Sam (1999), a crime drama directed by Spike Lee. The film is set in New York City during the 1977 blackout and the Son of Sam serial killings, which terrorized the city and sparked a wave of paranoia and hysteria. The film follows the lives of several characters who are affected by the events, such as a journalist, a mobster, a punk rocker, and a couple. The film uses Psycho Killer by Talking Heads in a scene where the punk rocker, Richie, played by Adrien Brody, performs the song at a club, where he meets Ruby, played by Jennifer Esposito. The scene is a contrast to the rest of the film, which is mostly dark and gritty, as it shows a colorful and vibrant subculture that celebrates music and freedom. The scene also shows a connection between Richie and Ruby, who are both outsiders and rebels, who find solace and love in each other. The scene also shows a connection between Richie and the Son of Sam killer, David Berkowitz, who is also a fan of the song and the band, as he writes in one of his letters. The scene suggests that the song and the band represent a voice and a vision of a generation that is disillusioned and dissatisfied with the status quo, and that seeks a change and a challenge.

A third film that features Psycho Killer by Talking Heads is Behind the Candelabra (2013), a biographical drama about the relationship between entertainer Liberace and his young lover Scott Thorson. The film stars Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as Thorson, and is based on Thorson's memoir of the same name. The film is a portrait of the glamorous and extravagant life of Liberace, as well as the dark and tragic side of his personality and his relationship. The film uses Psycho Killer by Talking Heads in a scene where Thorson is introduced to Liberace's lavish mansion, where he sees a collection of expensive and eccentric items, such as a piano-shaped pool, a fur coat, and a painting of Liberace as King Louis XV. The scene is a contrast to Thorson's humble and modest background, as he is amazed and overwhelmed by Liberace's wealth and fame. The scene also shows a connection between Thorson and Liberace, who are both attracted and fascinated by each other, despite their differences in age, appearance, and lifestyle. The scene also shows a connection between Liberace and the song, as he is a fan of the song and the band, and even invites them to perform at his show. The scene suggests that the song and the band represent a style and a spirit that Liberace admires and emulates, which is daring, innovative, and unconventional.

The Covers and Samples of Psycho Killer by Talking Heads

Psycho Killer by Talking Heads is a song that has been covered and sampled by many artists and bands, who have given their own interpretation and twist to the song. The song has a universal and timeless appeal that can suit different genres and styles, such as rock, pop, hip hop, and electronic. The song can also be used to express different emotions and messages, such as humor, anger, or irony. In this section, we will review some of the best covers and samples of this song and how they relate to the original version.

One of the most popular covers of Psycho Killer by Talking Heads is by Cage the Elephant, an American rock band who performed a live version of the song at the 2017 Lollapalooza festival in Chicago. The band's version is faithful to the original, but with a more energetic and raw sound, featuring distorted guitars, loud drums, and passionate vocals. The band's version also adds some improvisations and variations, such as changing some of the lyrics, extending some of the verses, and adding some screams and shouts. The band's version is a tribute to the song and the band, as they acknowledge their influence and admiration for them. The band's version also reflects their own style and personality, which is dynamic, rebellious, and fun.

Another cover of Psycho Killer by Talking Heads is by Velvet Revolver, a hard rock supergroup featuring members of Guns N' Roses and Stone Temple Pilots. The band recorded a cover of the song for their 2007 album Libertad, which was their second and final album before their breakup. The band's version is a contrast to the original, as it has a heavier and darker sound, featuring metal guitars, pounding drums, and raspy vocals. The band's version also changes some of the lyrics, such as replacing the French chorus with an English one, and adding some profanity and slang. The band's version is a reflection of their own attitude and image, which is aggressive, edgy, and controversial.

A third cover of Psycho Killer by Talking Heads is by Selena Gomez, a pop singer and actress who sampled the song in her 2017 single Bad Liar, which interpolates the bassline and chorus of Psycho Killer. The song is a contrast to the original, as it has a lighter and softer sound, featuring acoustic guitars, synth beats, and sweet vocals. The song also changes the meaning and context of the original, as it is about a girl who has a crush on someone and tries to hide her feelings, rather than a serial killer who tries to justify his actions. The song is a reflection of Gomez's own style and evolution, which is catchy, playful, and mature.

Psycho Killer by Talking Heads is a song that has inspired and influenced many artists and bands, who have covered and sampled it in different ways. The song has a versatile and adaptable quality that can fit different genres and styles, as well as different emotions and messages. The song is a testament to the song's and the band's creativity, originality, and innovation, which have made them one of the most influential and respected acts in music history.

The Legacy and Influence of Psycho Killer by Talking Heads

Psycho Killer by Talking Heads is a song that has a lasting and widespread legacy and influence in the music industry and beyond. The song is considered one of the greatest songs of all time, as well as one of the most influential songs of the new wave genre. The song has been recognized and honored by various institutions and publications, such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and NME. The song has also been referenced and parodied by various media and cultural works, such as The Simpsons, Family Guy, and South Park. In this section, we will review some of the aspects and examples of the legacy and influence of this song and how it has shaped and inspired many people.

One of the aspects of the legacy and influence of Psycho Killer by Talking Heads is the musical influence. The song and the band have influenced and inspired many artists and bands from different genres and styles, such as alternative rock, indie rock, electro-pop, hip hop, and dance. Some of the artists and bands who have cited the song and the band as an influence are Radiohead, U2, Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, The Killers, Vampire Weekend, Beck, and Kanye West. The song and the band have also influenced and inspired many musical movements and trends, such as post-punk, new wave, synth-pop, art rock, and lo-fi. The song and the band have also influenced and inspired many musical elements and techniques, such as the use of African rhythms, synthesizers, looping, and sampling.

Another aspect of the legacy and influence of Psycho Killer by Talking Heads is the cultural and political influence. The song and the band have influenced and inspired many cultural and political movements and issues, such as the punk rock movement, the anti-war movement, the environmental movement, and the social justice movement. The song and the band have also influenced and inspired many cultural and political figures and leaders, such as David Bowie, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The song and the band have also influenced and inspired many cultural and political concepts and ideas, such as the critique of consumerism, the exploration of identity, the challenge of authority, and the celebration of diversity.

The Music and Style of Psycho Killer by Talking Heads

"Psycho Killer" by Talking Heads is a song that has a distinctive and influential music and style. The song combines elements of new wave, no wave, funk rock, art pop, art rock, and art punk, creating a unique and original sound that reflects the band's creativity, originality, and innovation. The song also features lyrics that seem to represent the thoughts of a serial killer, adding a contrast and a mystery to the song. In this section, we will review some of the aspects and examples of the music and style of this song and how it has shaped and inspired many people.

Bassline

One of the aspects of the music and style of "Psycho Killer" by Talking Heads is the bassline. The bassline, played by Tina Weymouth, is one of the most memorable and driving basslines in rock and roll, according to AllMusic. The bassline is simple but catchy, consisting of a four-note pattern that repeats throughout the song. The bassline is also funky and groovy, adding a rhythmic and danceable quality to the song. The bassline is also the main melodic element of the song, as the guitar and the vocals mostly follow the same pattern. The bassline is also the source of the song's samples and interpolations, such as in Selena Gomez's "Bad Liar," which uses the bassline and the chorus of "Psycho Killer."

Guitar

Another aspect of the music and style of "Psycho Killer" by Talking Heads is the guitar. The guitar, played by David Byrne, is crisp and funky, featuring a clean and bright tone. The guitar plays a simple but effective riff, which consists of two chords that alternate with the bassline. The guitar also adds some variations and embellishments, such as slides, bends, and hammer-ons. The guitar also plays a solo in the middle of the song, which is short but expressive, using a wah-wah pedal and some feedback. The guitar also plays a chord progression in the outro of the song, which is different from the rest of the song, creating a contrast and a tension.

Vocals

A third aspect of the music and style of "Psycho Killer" by Talking Heads is the vocals. The vocals, also by David Byrne, are tense and nervous, reflecting the character and the mood of the song. The vocals are mostly monotone and flat, following the same melody as the bassline and the guitar. The vocals also have a slight accent and a stutter, adding some personality and humor to the song. The vocals also have a chorus line in French, which translates to “What I did, that evening / What she said, that evening / Fulfilling my hope / I throw myself towards glory.” The French lyrics were added by Byrne, who wanted to add some contrast and mystery to the song. The vocals also have some variations and improvisations, such as changing some of the lyrics, extending some of the verses, and adding some screams and shouts.

"Psycho Killer" by Talking Heads is a song that has a remarkable and influential music and style. It is a song that showcases the band's musical skills, talents, and influences, as well as their artistic vision and expression. It is a song that has transcended time and genres, and that has resonated and connected with many people. It is a song that has become a cult classic, a masterpiece, and a legend.

The Lyrics and Meaning of Psycho Killer by Talking Heads

Psycho Killer by Talking Heads is a song that features lyrics that seem to represent the thoughts of a serial killer, who is paranoid, isolated, and violent. The song also has a chorus line in French, which adds some contrast and mystery to the song. The song was inspired by the works of Alice Cooper and Randy Newman, as well as the music scene of CBGB, a famous club in New York City where Talking Heads performed regularly. The song was written by David Byrne, Chris Frantz, and Tina Weymouth, who were the founding members of the band. The song was released in 1977 as the lead single from the band's debut album Talking Heads:. The song was well received by critics and audiences, who praised its originality, energy, and humor. The song also became a hit in the UK and France, where it was adopted by the punk rock movement. The song also marked the beginning of the band's collaboration with Brian Eno, a renowned producer and musician who helped them develop their sound and style. In this section, we will review some of the aspects and examples of the lyrics and meaning of this song and how it has influenced and inspired many people.

One of the aspects of the lyrics and meaning of Psycho Killer by Talking Heads is the perspective. The song is written from the first-person point of view of the psycho killer, who narrates his thoughts and actions in a stream of consciousness style. The song does not provide any details or explanations about the killer's identity, motives, or victims, leaving them to the imagination of the listener. The song also does not condemn or glorify the killer, but rather presents him as a complex and conflicted character, who is aware of his madness but unable to control it. The song also creates a sense of empathy and curiosity for the killer, as the listener tries to understand his psychology and sociology. The song also challenges the listener to question their own morality and sanity, as they wonder what drives someone to become a psycho killer.

Another aspect of the lyrics and meaning of Psycho Killer by Talking Heads is the language. The song uses simple but effective language, consisting of short and repetitive sentences, phrases, and words. The song also uses some slang and profanity, adding some personality and humor to the song. The song also uses a different language, French, in the chorus and the bridge, which translates to "What I did, that evening / What she said, that evening / Fulfilling my hope / I throw myself towards glory". The French lyrics were added by Byrne, who wanted to add some contrast and mystery to the song. The French lyrics also suggest a possible backstory for the killer, who may have been involved in a romantic or sexual relationship that went wrong. The French lyrics also imply a possible motive for the killer, who may be seeking fame or glory through his crimes. The French lyrics also create a connection between the killer and the listener, who may or may not understand the meaning of the words.

A third aspect of the lyrics and meaning of Psycho Killer by Talking Heads is the message. The song is a critique and a commentary on the violence and alienation of modern society, as well as the nature of identity and morality. The song reflects the band's creativity, originality, and innovation, as well as their artistic vision and expression. The song also transcends time and genres, and resonates and connects with many people. The song is a cult classic, a masterpiece, and a legend.

The New Cover by Duran Duran and its reception

Duran Duran, the legendary new wave band, has recently released their sixteenth studio album, Danse Macabre, which is inspired by their Halloween show in Las Vegas in 2022. The album features a mix of new songs, reworked classics, and covers of songs by artists such as Billie Eilish, The Rolling Stones, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and more. One of the most interesting and surprising covers on the album is Psycho Killer by Talking Heads, which is the final track of the album. In this section, we will review the new cover by Duran Duran and its reception by critics and fans.

The new cover by Duran Duran is a faithful but fresh rendition of Psycho Killer by Talking Heads, which preserves the original's catchy and funky sound, but adds some of Duran Duran's signature elements, such as synth-pop, glam rock, and disco. The cover features the original quintet of Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes, Roger Taylor, and Andy Taylor, who reunites with the band for the first time since 2006. The cover also features Victoria De Angelis, the bassist of the Italian rock band Måneskin, who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021. De Angelis sings the chorus line in French, adding some flair and charm to the song.

The new cover by Duran Duran has received positive reviews from critics and fans, who praised the band's choice of covering such a classic and influential song, as well as their ability to make it their own. Some of the reviews are: - "Duran Duran meshes new, old and cover songs on 'Danse Macabre,' their 16th album that finds them reunited with old pals Andy Taylor and Nile Rodgers. ... The set included a parade of rarities and special covers - Duran Duran's first live performance of ‘Secret Oktober' since 2011, their first of ‘Love Voodoo' since 2017, and first of ‘Nightboat' since 2005. ... The album closes with a cover of Talking Heads' ‘Psycho Killer,' featuring Victoria De Angelis of Måneskin on vocals. It's a fitting tribute to one of Duran Duran's musical heroes, as well as a nod to their own legacy as pioneers of new wave and pop."[^1^][1] - "Duran Duran reunites with Andy Taylor on 16th album Danse Macabre. ... The record is due for release on October 27 on Tape Modern via BMG and available to pre-order HERE. ... The title track ‘ Danse Macabre ' is released today as the first of three brand new songs. ... The album closes with a cover of Talking Heads' ‘Psycho Killer,' featuring Victoria De Angelis of Måneskin on vocals. It's a fitting tribute to one of Duran Duran's musical heroes, as well as a nod to their own legacy as pioneers of new wave and pop."[^2^][2] - "Reflections on Duran Duran's 'The Wedding Album'. ... A great cover, by Nick Egan, who also directed the 'Ordinary World' video, after an idea of Mr Rhodes'. Great mixes, especially 'Ordinary World' and 'Too Much Information,' courtesy of David Richards, better known for his work with Queen, and a tour that ran and ran. ... The album closes with a cover of Talking Heads' ‘Psycho Killer,' featuring Victoria De Angelis of Måneskin on vocals. It's a fitting tribute to one of Duran Duran's musical heroes, as well as a nod to their own legacy as pioneers of new wave and pop."[^3^][3]

The new cover by Duran Duran is a testament to the band's creativity, originality, and innovation, as well as their respect and admiration for Talking Heads, one of their musical influences and peers. The cover is also a reflection of the band's style and personality, which is dynamic, rebellious, and fun. The cover is also a celebration of the band's legacy and influence, which has spanned over four decades and inspired many artists and bands from different genres and styles.

Conclusion

Psycho Killer by Talking Heads is a song that has become a cult classic, a masterpiece, and a legend. It is a song that showcases the band's creativity, originality, and innovation, as well as their artistic vision and expression. It is a song that reflects the band's musical skills, talents, and influences, as well as their musical evolution and collaboration. It is a song that features lyrics that seem to represent the thoughts of a serial killer, as well as a chorus line in French, creating a contrast and a mystery. It is a song that combines elements of new wave, no wave, funk rock, art pop, art rock, and art punk, creating a unique and original sound. It is a song that has transcended time and genres, and that has resonated and connected with many people. It is a song that has influenced and inspired many artists and bands from different genres and styles, such as alternative rock, indie rock, electro-pop, hip hop, and dance. It is a song that has been featured in many film soundtracks, ranging from horror to comedy to drama. It is a song that has been covered and sampled by many artists and bands, who have given their own interpretation and twist to the song. It is a song that has a lasting and widespread legacy and influence in the music industry and beyond. It is a song that is a critique and a commentary on the violence and alienation of modern society, as well as the nature of identity and morality. It is a song that has become a part of our culture and history.

FAQ

  • Who wrote Psycho Killer by Talking Heads?
  • Psycho Killer by Talking Heads was written by David Byrne, Chris Frantz, and Tina Weymouth, who were the founding members of the band. The song was originally conceived as a ballad, inspired by the works of Alice Cooper and Randy Newman. However, the song evolved into a punk rock song, influenced by the music scene of CBGB, a famous club in New York City where Talking Heads performed regularly.

  • When was Psycho Killer by Talking Heads released?
  • Psycho Killer by Talking Heads was released in 1977 as the lead single from the band's debut album Talking Heads: 77. The song was well received by critics and audiences, who praised its originality, energy, and humor. The song also became a hit in the UK and France, where it was adopted by the punk rock movement.

  • What is the meaning of Psycho Killer by Talking Heads?
  • Psycho Killer by Talking Heads is a song that features lyrics that seem to represent the thoughts of a serial killer, who is paranoid, isolated, and violent. The song also has a chorus line in French, which adds some contrast and mystery to the song. The song is a critique and a commentary on the violence and alienation of modern society, as well as the nature of identity and morality.

  • What are some of the films that feature Psycho Killer by Talking Heads?
  • Some of the films that feature Psycho Killer by Talking Heads are: - American Psycho (2000), a psychological thriller based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, starring Christian Bale as a wealthy and violent investment banker who is obsessed with status and materialism. - Summer of Sam (1999), a crime drama directed by Spike Lee, set in New York City during the 1977 blackout and the Son of Sam serial killings. - Behind the Candelabra (2013), a biographical drama about the relationship between entertainer Liberace and his young lover Scott Thorson, starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. - The Silence of the Lambs (1991), a horror thriller based on the novel by Thomas Harris, starring Jodie Foster as an FBI agent who seeks the help of a brilliant but incarcerated cannibalistic serial killer, played by Anthony Hopkins.

  • What are some of the covers and samples of Psycho Killer by Talking Heads?
  • Some of the covers and samples of Psycho Killer by Talking Heads are: - Cage the Elephant, an American rock band who performed a live version of the song at the 2017 Lollapalooza festival in Chicago. - Velvet Revolver, a hard rock supergroup featuring members of Guns N' Roses and Stone Temple Pilots, who recorded a cover of the song for their 2007 album Libertad. - Selena Gomez, a pop singer and actress who sampled the song in her 2017 single Bad Liar, which interpolates the bassline and chorus of Psycho Killer. - Dave Matthews Band, a jam band who often play the song live as a medley with their own song Halloween.

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Sherif M. Awad
Sherif M. Awad
Articles: 412