This gospel/soul track was originally penned by Al Green and released on his 1974 album Al Green Explores Your Head. The Heads version was co-produced by Brian Eno (in the Bahamas) and released as a single in 1979, giving the band their first major hit and reaching #26 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. The single was also a hit in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
This was the only single to be lifted from the band's second studio album More Songs About Buildings and Food.

Interestingly, three other versions of the song were released around the same time by Bryan Ferry, Foghat and Levon Helm.

Studio Album Discography

1977  Talking Heads: 77  #97  #66
1978  More Songs About Buildings and Food  #29  #21
1979  Fear of Music  #21  #33
1980  Remain in Light  #19  #21
1983  Speaking in Tongues  #15  #21
1985  Little Creatures  #20  #10
1986  True Stories  #28  #7
1988  Naked  #19  #3

Chart positions shown are for the U.S. and UK respectively.
Take Me To The River (vinyl single) by Talking Heads (1979)
Talking Heads
More Songs About Building and Food LP sleeve

Three singles were released from Fear Of Music, although none of them were hits in the UK. Life During Wartime reached #80 in the U.S., I Zimbra reached #28 on the U.S. Dance chart and Cities failed to chart anywhere.


This classic art pop track features a truly insane new wave video that could only have been produced in the 80s. Frontman David Byrne adopted a geeky office worker style (a suit with a bow tie and specs) and performed a rather quirky (actually, it's bizarre!) dance routine, at times looking like an out-of-control Thunderbirds puppet.

The background contains arty imagery such as a fake ocean and multiple clones of Byrne dancing in sync, which were created using the limited video effects that were available back in the day, but very typical of the early eighties.

Produced by the legendary ambient music producer Brian Eno, Once In A Lifetime was the band's first hit in the UK, reaching #14, although it stalled at a rather unimpressive #103 in the U.S. despite rave reviews of the song by music critics. The song was also a moderate hit in several other countries, reaching #23 in Australia, #28 in Canada, #16 in Ireland and #24 in the Netherlands. The track was released as the lead single from Talking Head's fourth studio album Remain In Light

A live version of the song was also released as a single in 1984, peaking at #91 on the Billboard Hot 100, although it didn't chart here in the UK.

Talking Heads would have to wait another four years before breaking into the British Top 40 again, with Road To Nowhere reaching #6 in 1985, becoming their biggest ever hit.

I see many reviews of the band suggesting that they never really achieved massive mainstream success. As a singles band they certainly didn't, but with five Gold and two Platinum albums, one could hardly describe the band as unsuccessful.

Fear of Music LP (1979) Talking Heads


Once In A Lifetime - Talking Heads vinyl single (1981)
Remain in Light LP (front and rear of sleeve) Talking Heads (1980) LP
The front and rear of the sleeve on the LP Remain in Light


Lifted from the their fifth studio album Speaking in Tongues, this single became the band's second and biggest hit in the U.S., reaching #9. The song was also a #8 hit in Canada and #5 hit in New Zealand. However, the single failed to chart in the UK. Ironically, a cover version by The Cardigans and Tom Jones broke into the British top ten during 1999.

The second and final single from the Speaking in Tongues album,
This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody), charted higher in the UK (#51) than it did in the U.S. where it stalled at #62.
Talking Heads


This quirky new wave rock track was penned by frontman David Bryne and reached #6 here in the UK, giving the band their biggest British hit single. The song also reached #6 in Germany and #8 in Holland. However, in the U.S. the single didn't capture the imagination of the band's fans and stalled at #105.

The imaginitive video won the "Video of the year" award at the MTV Video Music Awards 1986. Director Stephen R. Johnson went on to produce the influential video Sledgehammer for Peter Gabriel in 1986, applying similar editing techniques and this won numerous awards.

Talking Creatures
The Little Creatures LP (1985) reached #20 in the U.S., #10 in the UK and topped the album charts in New Zealand. It was also a major hit in many other countries. Four tracks from the album were released as singles; The Lady Don't Mind, Road To Nowhere, And She Was and Stay Up Late.
True Stories LP by Talking Heads (1986)

The band's seventh studio album, True Stories, reached #7 in the UK album charts and became the second album in a row to reach #2 in Australia. The lead single, Wild Wild Life, just failed to break into the UK Top 40, stalling at #43, although it reached #25 in the U.S. No other single release from the album charted in the UK. 

Talking Heads

Naked was the eighth and final studio album by Talking Heads. Released in 1988, it became the highest-charting album for the band in the UK, peaking at #3, although neither of the two singles from the album became major hits. Blind reached #59 and (Nothing But) Flowers peaked at #79. 

In the U.S., Naked reached #19, but broke into the top ten in at least seven countries.