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Talking Heads: Burning Down the House (1983)

A promotional video of Talking Heads performing their hit Burning Down The House, with surreal imagery inserted.


David Byrne


David Byrne
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Credited cast:
David Byrne
James Dietz James Dietz ... Alternate Tina Weymouth
Jean Marie Evans Jean Marie Evans ... Alternate Chris Frantz
Chris Frantz Chris Frantz
Jerry Harrison
Max Illidge Max Illidge ... Little Boy
Max Loving Max Loving ... Alternate David Byrne
Rockets Redglare Rockets Redglare ... Alternate Jerry Harrison
Tina Weymouth Tina Weymouth


A promotional video of Talking Heads performing their hit Burning Down The House, with surreal imagery inserted.

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Short | Music | Musical





Release Date:

1983 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


Burning Down The House
Written by David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison and Tina Weymouth
Performed by Talking Heads
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User Reviews

One of Heads' best
11 September 2016 | by Rodrigo_AmaroSee all my reviews

Stop Making Sense! Relax, my facts aren't wrong, this song/clip came out in the "Speaking with Tongues" album, the initial remark was directed to the clip which seems to summarize Talking Heads quite a bit in everything they did, and that's what defined them as one of the greatest bands of all time. The video goes on those lines. Sure, David Byrne had a concept to it and the audiences goes like "What?" but that's not a problem. Instead, we have plenty of striking visual qualities, very creative and lots of fun.

Can't be described exactly, it must be seen. Byrne along with Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz and Jerry Harrison perform the song and from time to time they are replaced by alternate actors, including a kid. A common band performance with people taking their place, being the most memorable moment where the band plays with the alternates playing/interrupting their act - to me, an imagery that reflects the band being the body and the alternates being the soul. And also the classic images of all their faces matching into one another on this dark background; and the iconic superimposed images of Byrne's face into a house and on a highway. Can't and won't ramble about the song because in this particular case it's not worthy...you have to listen, feel it and get your experience with it. Doesn't hold much of a meaning, it was created by the group after Frantz attending a funk group's concert where people were chanting "Burn Down the House" to the sounds played and the rest is history. Possibly, it was the video that brought Talking Heads to the MTV and to a larger audience, though they already had a few albums earlier on.

Byrne directed and wrote the video besides his appearance, and his ideas carry a weight that can't be discarded. You feel the experience in all possible ways. And this was back in a time when video clips were already becoming this huge monumental thing that had to create an appeal in order to sell, so the more relatable it were to audiences, the bigger a single was charting if the radio wasn't playing it yet. And with an artistic vibe Talking Heads went on to make the other clips in that decade, including "Road to Nowhere", "Wild Wild Life" and "The Lady Don't Mind", the latter directed by Jim Jarmusch, and with no pages on the site. Maybe someday. 10/10

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