Top Fifty Talking Heads Songs


Jul 2 2008, 6h02

Over the course of the past several months, i've decided that Talking Heads has to be my favorite band. The band is so quirky, so diverse, and yet so technically solid that it's hard to fully comprehend the impact they've had on music as a whole.

So, as i've done with some of my favorite bands, i've compiled what I feel is my definitive top fifty songs list for them. A couple of my choices might be considered odd by other Heads aficionados, particularly the rather low (in most people's opinions) placing of "This Must Be the Place" and several of my entries into the top ten. Unless otherwise noted, the version of the song on my list is from the original album the song appeared on. But alas, Here we go!

50. Slippery People
49. I Wish You Wouldn't Say That
48. Radio Head
47. Love for Sale
46. Mind
45. With Our Love
44. Swamp
43. Blind
42. Memories Can't Wait
41. Stay Hungry
40. The Girls Want to Be With the Girls
39. Wild Wild Life
38. Air
37. Seen and Not Seen
36. I Zimbra [The Name of This Band... Version]
35. Paper
34. Animals [The Name of This Band... Version]
33. Houses in Motion
32. No Compassion
31. Sax and Violins
30. The Democratic Circus
29. Lifetime Piling Up
28. This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)
27. Pulled Up
26. Heaven
25. Road to Nowhere
24. Burning Down the House [Stop Making Sense Version]
23. Love --> Building On Fire [The Name of This Band... Version]
22. Cities [The Name of This Band... Version]
21. I Get Wild/Wild Gravity
20. Crosseyed and Painless
19. The Book I Read
18. The Overload
17. And She Was
16. Once in a Lifetime
15. Girlfriend Is Better
14. Drugs (Electricity) [The Name of This Band... Version]
13. Listening Wind
12. Psycho Killer
11. Take Me to the River
10. Don't Worry About the Government
Sure, this song has a catchy chorus and melody, but you know what I like best about it? It's the perfect counter to the common argument "all songs are about love." Well, maybe the love between a man and his building, but that's definitely not a standard love. Sorry to offend any Buildophiles out there...
9. (Nothing But) Flowers
I've heard this song described as 'The only song on Naked that nobody feels the need to apologize for.' Personally, I feel Naked is a pretty solid album, if you couldn't tell by its four entries on my list, two of which are in the top ten! If anything, True Stories needs someone to defend it...
8. Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town
One of the most perfect opening tracks ever. Those first few chords and drum fills perfectly set the mood for the enchanting Talking Heads '77.
7. Cool Water
The other big standout from Naked, this one is an entry on my long list of songs which I listened to once, ignored for months, then totally loved upon the next listen. If Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town is a perfect opening song, Cool Water is a perfect closing song, with its moody atmospheric tone and sense of finality. Of course, they wouldn't fit on the same album, but that's not quite the point!
6. The Lady Don't Mind
Little Creatures isn't the most popular Talking Heads album by almost anybody's standards, but this is the one song that is good enough to rub shoulders with some songs from the best albums. I think the chorus with its 'uh-oh, uh-oh' opening is what makes this song stand out for me. The Lady Don't Mind is a deceptively catchy song; it might not grab you on the first listen but it worms its way from the back of your mind all the way up to the front.. and before you know it, you're singing along.
5.Thank You for Sending Me an Angel
One of the shortest songs in the band's catalogue, and yet, it's one of the best. I just love the galloping drumbeat, and the extremely vague lyrics.
4. The Great Curve
This was my favorite track by the band for a LONG time. It's still amazing in its complexity... I can't believe how much is going on in this song! It's pretty difficult to sing along to though... I can't imagine what it must be like to play it.
3. Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)
Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town is a great Talking Heads album opener, but this is the king of album openers. Some drum hits, and an emphatic "HA" later and the greatest Talking Heads album (and one of the greatest albums EVER) begin. Note how all eight of the songs from the album appear on my list... the album is that solid.
2. Life During Wartime [Stop Making Sense Version]
This track places so highly almost solely on the strength of its version from Stop Making Sense. Honestly, I don't really like the Fear of Music version at all. It's too stripped down and repetitive and completely lacks the energy of the live performance. Obviously that says a lot about the strength of the band live. Speaking of Stop Making Sense...
1. What a Day That Was
I thought it over and over and over again, and this is the one that I felt needed to be in my top spot. The fact that i'm putting two live versions of songs in the top two spots says a lot about the band live, but the fact that my number one spot goes to a song that they ONLY performed live says even more.

Number of songs from each album:

Talking Heads 77: 6
More Songs About Buildings and Food: 5
Fear of Music: 7
Remain in Light: 8
Speaking in Tongues: 5
Little Creatures: 3
True Stories: 3
Naked: 4
The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads: 4
Stop Making Sense: 3
Popular Favorites: 3


  • lightandmagic

    Thank you for this list!

    Jul 19 2008, 17h17
  • jessiqua74

    Nice list...I am a TH fan, too!

    Ago 19 2008, 5h01
  • Vegeduck

    I can't believe I don't have 'Found a Job' on here. The lyrics are among the band's best, but that instrumental bit at the end is simply sublime. All three versions are great, but the More Songs... version is definitely my favorite. The song should be in my top fifteen, if not my top ten. Chalk it up to 'Cool Water' syndrome, as I didn't realize the greatness of the song until I saw it performed in 'Stop Making Sense.'

    Ago 19 2008, 5h23
  • Pinkfloydbeck

    Great list, I agreed with many of them, including the high placing of "Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)."

    Dez 3 2008, 0h49
  • inhmn

    television man is missing - and this is one hell of a song.

    Ago 30 2009, 16h15
  • spree0220

    I just started listening to Talking Heads recently... so far I've only gotten into '77 mostly because I didn't know where to go next. This list has helped me out big time... I've liked literally every song I've listened to on this list so far!

    Mai 30 2010, 0h32
  • locusssssssssst

    Psycho Killer... #12... ! :)

    Ago 29 2010, 20h29
  • Vegeduck

    I need to update this list. Psycho Killer would definitely fall even further :O

    Ago 29 2010, 20h40
  • killa2200

    Better to just go by albums top studio every single time stop making sense the name of this band is 77 naked then go on to eno&byrne my life in a bush of ghosts and into the cosmos from there saw byrne last year still a great show

    Mar 27 2011, 16h43
  • GLil02

    This list is brilliant. I only knew their greatest hits before, but this has helped expand my listening and confirm them as my favourite band. Surprised to see Making Flippy Floppy omitted, though. Love that song! :)

    Set 6 2014, 11h16
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