The Epic 2017 Project #317: 171113
Talking Heads – ’77 (1977)
Talking Heads: 77 was their debut. Released in September of that year, it now ranks at No. 290 on Rolling Stone magazine’s The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.
“Psycho Killer” was written by David Byrne, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth and first played by their band the Artistic in 1974. But it also made it onto their 77 debut and became the band’s signature debut hit. Originally written and performed as a ballad, “Psycho Killer” became what AllMusic calls a “deceptively funky new wave/no wave song” with “an insistent rhythm, and one of the most memorable, driving basslines in rock & roll.”
“Psycho Killer” was the only song from the album to appear on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at number 92. It reached number 32 on the Triple J Hottest 100 in 1989, and peaked at number 11 on the Dutch singles chart in 1977. The song is included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
The Epic 2017 Project #314: 171110
10cc – How dare you (1976)
How Dare You! is the fourth album by 10cc. Released in 1976, it included UK hit singles “I’m Mandy Fly Me” and “Art for Art’s Sake”. It was also the last 10cc album by the original line-up of Eric Stewart, Graham Gouldman, Kevin Godley, and Lol Creme, with the latter two departing to work on their own musical projects, and eventually becoming music video pioneers. The album was the band’s third with cover artwork by the Hipgnosis creative team.
The Epic 2017 Project #260: 170917
Republica was the self-titled debut released in the USA on 30 July 1996 by RCA Records and in the UK on 5 October 1996 by Deconstruction Records.
Upon its release, Republica received generally positive reviews from music critics and was a commercial success. It peaked at number four on the UK Album Charts. In the United States, it reached number 153 on the Billboard 200 and was also successful in other countries, such as Germany and New Zealand.
Three singles were released from the album: “Bloke” and two hit singles, “Ready to Go” and “Drop Dead Gorgeous”.
In January 1978, a relatively unknown Swindon band released the single ‘Statue of Liberty in advance of their debut album – ‘White Music’. I was just into my second term at West Sussex College of Art & Design in Worthing, UK and the Virgin signed XTC were being played to death in every studio on the campus.
Owing more to quintessential English psychedelia than the raw nihilistic three-chord assault of their punk peers, XTC’s art-pop sound combined with the very obvious song-writing talent of Andy Partridge endeared itself to fine art, ceramics and fashion students alike.
Later in 1978 XTC released the more sonically adventurous second album ‘Go 2’ which was heavily influenced by the likes of Brian Eno to mould quirky art-pop with equally quirky electronica.
The band build success on success with the dawn of the 1980’s releasing the massively successful ‘Drums and Wires’ album in 1979 and a spate of chart-busting hit singles including ‘Making plans for Nigel’, Senses working overtime’ and ‘When you’re near me I have difficulty’.
But, whereas the ’80s brought the good time, the ’90’s initially brought obscurity as fashion changed and the band left Virgin to start their own independent label ‘Idea Records’. However, the Virgin split had a silver lining as an audit revealed that a considerable backlog of royalties had been withheld from the band. An out of court settlement allowed the building of two new studios but despite remaining together through to at least 2005 and releasing a lot of back-catalogue material, XTC never regained the glory days.