Well, here we are deep in the heart of Presidential debate season, and all we are getting is a bunch of “Elephant Talk.” No matter what your views are, one listen to this essential King Crimson track should put us all in agreement that it’s just “Talk…it’s only talk.” By 1981, King Crimson were coming off a seven year layoff following their 1974 swansong “Red,” with a brand new lineup featuring Robert Fripp on lead guitar, Adrian Belew, who had already toured with David Bowie and Frank Zappa and was currently working with Talking Heads on rhythm guitar, Tony Levin on Chapman Stick (bass) and Bill Bruford on drums. Not only was this a new lineup for the mighty Crimson, but with it came a new streamlined and somewhat danceable sound. Indeed, Fripp had already experimented with dance music in his instrumental group The League Of Gentlemen, and with the addition of Belew who was fresh off the road with Talking Heads, they cemented this new more approachable direction for the band. The resultant album was called “Discipline” and it is a stunner that stands mighty tall in their immense catalog. This particular lineup was one of the band’s most stable, lasting for a three years and the release of the albums “Beat” in 1982 and “Three Of A Perfect Pair” in 1984. During this period the band toured relentlessly around the world until Fripp decided to dissolve the band on the last night of the “Three Of A Perfect Pair” tour. “Talk…it’s only talk…”
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Electricity (Drugs)” by Talking Heads
One of the musical highlights of our 16 hour car trip from The Outer Banks of North Carolina back home to Chicago was listening Talking Heads’ live double album entitled The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads. The second half of the album features recordings from the 1980-81 Remain In Light tour when Talking Heads expanded from a quartet of David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth and Chris Franz to a 10-piece band adding Adrian Belew on guitars, Busta Cherry on bass, Bernie Worrell on keyboards, Joe Rossy on percussion and Dolette McDonald and Nona Hendryx on vocals.
By 1979, Brian Eno’s influence was felt all over the Heads’ music, especially on more atmospheric songs like today’s Song Of The Day originally from their Fear Of Music album. Eno’s input was beginning to create a chasm within the band because the rest of the group felt that he was monopolizing David Byrne’s attention. Today’s song’s title was changed from “Drugs” to “Electricity” by the time it was released on the album in 1979. Whatever tension Eno’s presence created also resulted in the band taking off in a far more interesting direction with a brand-new funkified line-up. The video portion of today’s posting shows the expanded Heads in action (particularly Belew) from a show broadcasted on TV from Rome in 1980. (Today’s Song of The Day begins at 20:00 into the 64-minute clip. Having seen this version of Talking Heads several times in concert, it is well worth watching if you have the time.)
By the time we got around to hearing the The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads album at the tail end of our trip it was as a follow-up to a most-enjoyable spin of XTC’s Black Sea. And it was just the tonic we needed to wield our way through Saturday night Chicago city traffic and back up to the northern suburbs. Home Sweet Home!
Song Of The Day – “Elephant Talk” and “Thela Hun Ginjeet” by King Crimson
Their lineup changes were numerous, but for my money this was the best and most musically consistent lineup King Crimson ever had with the mighty Adrian Belew on guitar and vocals, Tony Levin on stick and bass, Bill Bruford on percussives and, of course, Robert Fripp on guitar and devices. The lineup stayed together for three albums between 1980 and 1983 before laying it all to rest. Here are two songs from their 1980 “Discipline” album.