SRK 6076 Fear of Music
Produced by Brian Eno and Talking Heads
Released on August 3, 1979
US CHART POSITION #21 . . . GOLD ALBUM (9/17/85) . . .
Find it at GEMM
SRK 6076 cover  

D avid Byrne sums it all up at the end on Drugs: “I'm charged up/I'm kind of wooden/I'm barely moving/I study motion/I study myself/I fooled myself/I'm charged up/It's pretty intense.” In fact, Fear of Music is very intense: a control freak out of control planning the next revolution, battling with his ego in a wasteland of drugs and disappointments, the gears of his internal machinations spinning toward moral entropy, all splashed against a canvas of deconstructed funk riffs that mask a puerile affinity for pop. This is far and away the Heads’ greatest artistic leap, even if they were goaded to jump by Brian Eno and (on “I Zimbra”) Robert Fripp. Let’s stay with that opening track for a moment: the third world collides with the future, and the Western man finds himself in a world of animal primitivism still clinging to technology like a security blanket. In retrospect, “I Zimbra” is a clear precursor to the sound Fripp would pursue with the re-formed King Crimson, while also serving as a template for Talking Heads’ next album, Remain In Light. The remaining tracks have more in common with the band’s prior output, refining that formula of past albums by again analyzing the artistic process (“Paper”) and our relation to the world around us (“Animals”). What’s missing this time is that most banal of topics, love. It simply doesn’t have any place on an album this serious, especially one so obviously disconnected from society. Looking back over their career, some of Talking Heads’ most stunning achievements take place on this album: the epiphany that ends “Memories Can’t Wait,” the pressing urgency of “Life During Wartime,” the defeated chorus of “Heaven.” Those smart folks at Melody Maker hit the nail on the head when they rated this the #1 album of 1979. High praise indeed for a quintessentially American rock album (insofar as the paranoid, overstimulated alter ego of David Byrne is as American as apple pie, prime-time wrestling or Frank Zappa).

SRK 6076 back cover SRK 6076 lyric sleeve
SRK 6076 back cover SRK 6076 lyric sleeve


  1. I ZIMBRA    (David Byrne/Brian Eno/Hugo Ball)    3:06
  2. MIND    4:12
  3. PAPER    2:36
  4. CITIES    4:05
  6. MEMORIES CAN'T WAIT    3:30
  7. AIR    3:33
  8. HEAVEN    4:01
  9. ANIMALS    3:29
  10. ELECTRIC GUITAR    2:59
  11. DRUGS    5:13

    All songs written by David Byrne unless noted


DAVID BYRNE -- vocals, guitars, sleeve concept
JERRY HARRISON -- keyboards, guitar, cover concept
Ari -- congas
Brian Eno -- treatments, background vocals
Robert Fripp -- guitar (1)
Julie Last -- background vocals, assistant engineer
The Sweetbreathes (Lani and Laura Weymouth) -- background vocals (7)
Gene Wilder -- congas
Joe Barbaria -- engineer
Rod O'Brian -- engineer
Neil Teeman -- engineer
Jimmy Garcia -- thermograph

return to TALKING HEADS discography

US/UK/AUS'L/POR August 3, 1979 Sire LP SRK 6076 lyric sleeve
BRA   WEA LP 6107079  
GER/NET 1979 Sire LP 56707 lyric sleeve
US/CAN 1984 Sire CD/CS 6076  
EUR   Sire CD 27428 lyric booklet


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