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The song that captured Tiktok and Instagram – "Life During Wartime" by Talking Heads

What is the secret of success? How did an old 70s track suddenly become a hit? And what is the history of its origin? First things first...

The story of one song: "Life During Wartime" by Talking Heads - facts, meaning, popularity

Life During Wartime - trending hit in 1979 groups Talking heads. Did the members of the team think that they would release a bestseller that would be a success after more than 40 years? Most likely not ... Nevertheless, that's exactly what happened: the composition found a second life in 2021 thanks to… social networks like Tik-Tok and Instagram! Video from a live performance in which the frontman David Byrne performs the track, delighting the audience with rather original dance movements, gaining hundreds of thousands of views, while amateur videos of users to this melody - tens of thousands ... What is the secret of success? How old 70s track suddenly became a hit? And what is the history of its origin? First things first…

History of creation: background and background

Talking Heads
Talking Heads

Punk music goes against the mainstream in many ways...While Sex Pistols vengefully sang about the destruction of the government in Anarchy in the UK, Life During Wartime groups Talking heads has the same feelings, but only in a different tone. Here David Byrne sings from a rebel point of view: a bit paranoid, he can't give up the comforts people lose by engaging in guerrilla warfare (not the least of which is the music...)

The song is surprisingly insightful in its theme of technology leading to a society that is heavily information driven. David Byrne drew inspiration from a book he had read about computer crimes, which included a curious story about a guy who forged deposit receipts with his bank account number and forced "backers" to inadvertently deposit money into his account. Another story was about a man who used a touch-tone phone to break into a computer network. General Electric and steal consumables...

Talking Heads
Talking Heads

Since the "big boys" own this technology but cannot control it, Byrne saw a bleak future... In his interview with the magazine NME he told:

“There will be chronic shortages of food and gas, and people will live in shacks. Paradoxically, they will be surrounded by computers the size of wristwatches! Calculators will be cheap... Connecting a computer to the central bank will be as easy as buying groceries for a week. I think we will be saved by amazing technological development! However, everything else will fall apart. Government surveillance becomes inevitable because a dilemma arises when you increase your storage capacity. It is intended for your convenience, but as more information gets into the file, it will inevitably be misused…”

Popularity in social networks

David Byrne
David Byrne

In summer 2021 the song has found a second life! She began to enjoy great popularity in social networks such as Tik-Tok and Instagram. In particular, it was not so much the track that became popular, but the video, a moment from the concert film "Stop Making Sense"! We can see how David Byrne performed by Life During Wartime, and at the same time demonstrates unusual dance moves... This little fragment really hypnotizes, forcing you to watch the scene to the end (and it becomes very disappointing when the video cuts off abruptly at the most interesting). It's no wonder that this piece got so many views and likes on social media...

David Byrne, footage from the Talking Heads live performance
David Byrne, footage from the Talking Heads live performance

Some users also try to replicate the dance moves Byrne!

Film "Stop Making Sense" or "Second Life"

Stop Making Sense movie poster
Stop Making Sense movie poster

And of course, it would not be superfluous to mention the film itself! "Stop Making Sense" - concert film 1984 of the year with a live performance by Talking Heads! Directed by Jonathan Demme. Filming took place four nights in a row at Hollywood's Pantages Theater in December. 1983 years: in those days the band was actively touring in support of their new album Speaking in Tongues. Remarkable, but "Stop Making Sense" is the first film to use digital audio technology! And yes, the budget $1.2 million was collected heads on one's own…

Most critics agree that this is the best live rock movie ever!

David Byrne
David Byrne

The tape also shows us Byrne in his famous gray suit, which was inspired by Japanese culture (and in particular the theater kabuki).

Interesting Facts

Talking Heads
Talking Heads
  • In texts Life During Wartime two New York clubs are mentioned where they used to play Talking Heads: CBGB and The Mudd Club. CBGB was where the band played their first gigs in 1975 supporting the Ramones.
  • The track was based on a bass riff, invented by Tina Weymouth during an "unproductive day in New Orleans".
  • Phrase "life during the war" does not appear in the lyrics themselves.
  • It was the lead single from the group's third album. Fear Of Music. Like their previous album More Songs About Buildings And Food, it was produced Brian Eno, who was an iconic figure in the experimental music scene. The album was recorded in an attic in New York where the bassist lived Tina Weymouth and drummer Chris Franz
  • About the album title: David Byrne came across a book called "Music and the Brain", which discussed some people's phobia of music. The book explains that music upsets some people so much that they have to be sent to the countryside where they can't hear it. Byrne thought the contradiction between the intention of the music and that reaction was interesting...
  • At first, when the album was first released, David Byrne was the only band member credited on this track, causing a long-standing rift within the band over copyright.
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