Talking Heads: 77

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Talking Heads: 77
Talking Heads 77.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 16, 1977
RecordedApril 1977
StudioSundragon Studios in New York City
Talking Heads chronology
Talking Heads: 77
More Songs About Buildings and Food
Singles from Talking Heads 77
  1. "Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town"
    Released: 1977
  2. "Psycho Killer"
    Released: December 1977
  3. "Pulled Up"
    Released: 1978

Talking Heads: 77 is the debut studio album by American rock band Talking Heads. It was recorded in April 1977 at New York's Sundragon Studios and released on September 16 of that year by Sire Records. The single "Psycho Killer" reached number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100.


After developing a following playing lower Manhattan's CBGB scene, Talking Heads shopped demos they had recorded for record labels, eventually signing a deal with Sire Records in late 1976. The following April, the band began recording the album at Sundragon Studios, a small studio in lower Manhattan.[3]

Release history[edit]

The album was released by Sire Records in the UK and US and Philips Records throughout continental Europe.[4]

In 2005, it was remastered and re-released by Warner Music Group on their Warner Bros./Sire Records/Rhino Records labels in DualDisc format with five bonus tracks on the CD side (see track listing below). The DVD-Audio side includes both stereo and 5.1 surround high resolution (96 kHz/24bit) mixes, as well as a Dolby Digital version and videos of the band performing "Pulled Up" and "I Feel It in My Heart."[5] In Europe, it was released as a CD+DVDA two-disc set, rather than a single DualDisc.[6] The reissue was produced by Andy Zax with Talking Heads.

The album was re-released on vinyl on April 18, 2009 for Record Store Day.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Retrospective professional reviews
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[8]
Chicago Tribune3.5/4 stars[9]
Christgau's Record GuideA–[10]
Drowned in Sound8/10[11]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[12]
The Irish Times5/5 stars[13]
Mojo3/5 stars[14]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3.5/5 stars[15]
Spin Alternative Record Guide9/10[16]
Uncut5/5 stars[17]

Reviewing for The Village Voice in 1977, Robert Christgau said that while "a debut LP will often seem overrefined to habitues of a band's scene", the more he listened to the album the more he believed "the Heads set themselves the task of hurdling such limitations", and succeeded with 77:

"Like Sparks, these are spoiled kids, but without the callowness or adolescent misogyny; like Yes, they are wimps, but without vagueness or cheap romanticism. Every tinkling harmony is righted with a screech, every self-help homily contextualized dramatically, so that in the end the record proves not only that the detachment of craft can coexist with a frightening intensity of feeling—something most artists know—but that the most inarticulate rage can be rationalized. Which means they're punks after all."[18]

In his 1995 book, The Alternative Music Almanac, Alan Cross placed it in the No. 5 spot on his 10 Classic Alternative Albums list.[19]

In 2003, the album was ranked No. 290 on Rolling Stone magazine's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by David Byrne,[20] except where noted.

Side one
1."Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town"2:48
2."New Feeling"3:09
3."Tentative Decisions"3:04
4."Happy Day"3:55
5."Who Is It?"1:41
6."No Compassion"4:47
Side two
1."The Book I Read" 4:06
2."Don't Worry About the Government" 3:00
3."First Week/Last Week… Carefree" 3:19
4."Psycho Killer"Byrne, Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth4:19
5."Pulled Up" 4:29
  • Sides one and two were combined as tracks 1–11 on CD reissues.
2005 CD bonus tracks
12."Love → Building on Fire" 3:00
13."I Wish You Wouldn't Say That" 2:39
14."Psycho Killer (Acoustic version)" (featuring Arthur Russell on cello)Byrne, Frantz, Weymouth4:20
15."I Feel It in My Heart" 3:15
16."Sugar on My Tongue" 2:36


Adapted from the album's liner notes.[20]

Talking Heads[edit]




Year Chart Position
1978 UK Albums 60[23]


Year Single Chart Position
1978 "Psycho Killer" Billboard Hot 100 92[24]


  1. ^ Aaron, Charles (August 2004). "New Wave". Spin. New York: 104. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  2. ^ Gittins, Ian (September 1, 2004). Talking Heads: Once in a Lifetime, The Stories Behind Every Song. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 39. ISBN 0-634-08033-4. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  3. ^ Simons, Dave (2004). "Sundragon Studios 'Psycho Killer'". Studio Stories: How the Great New York Records Were Made: From Miles to Madonna Sinatra to The Ramones. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 1617745162. Retrieved March 14, 2019 – via Google Books.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Record Store Day releases". Retrieved May 4, 2012.
  8. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Talking Heads 77 – Talking Heads". AllMusic. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  9. ^ Kot, Greg (May 6, 1990). "Talking Heads On The Record". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: T". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 14, 2019 – via
  11. ^ Smith, Jon (July 15, 2012). "Album Review: Talking Heads – Talking Heads 77". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  12. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  13. ^ Courtney, Kevin (January 13, 2006). "Talking Heads: 77/More Songs About Buildings and Food/Fear of Music/Remain in Light". The Irish Times. Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  14. ^ "Talking Heads: Talking Heads: 77". Mojo: 116. Their claustrophobic tunes of social unease, mathematical arrangements and front man David Byrne's self-conscious take on mundane events elevated them far beyond what would become new wave.
  15. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Talking Heads". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 802–03. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  16. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. p. 394. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  17. ^ Shapiro, Peter (February 2006). "The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth". Uncut (105): 82.
  18. ^ Christgau, Robert (October 31, 1977). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  19. ^ "Alan Cross' Ten Classic Alternative Albums". Apr 18, 2010. Retrieved Mar 9, 2013.
  20. ^ a b Talking Heads: 77 liner notes
  21. ^ Hermes, W, 2011. Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever. 1st ed. U.S.A: Faber & Faber Ltd.
  22. ^ Diver, M, BBC. 2012. Talking Heads Remain in Light Review. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 10 March 2017].
  23. ^ British Hit Singles & Albums, Edition 17, 2004 Guinness World Records Limited, p.548
  24. ^ Billboard chart history. Retrieved 2012-06-22.

External links[edit]