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Talking Heads — Burning Down The House (live)
Album: Stop Making Sense
Avg rating:
7.8

Your rating:
Total ratings: 4819









Released: 1984
Length: 4:02
Plays (last 30 days): 5
Ah, watch out, you might get what you're after
Cool babies, strange, but not a stranger
I'm an ordinary guy
Burning down the house

Hold tight, wait till the party's over
Hold tight, we're in for nasty weather
There has got to be a way
Burning down the house

Here's your ticket, pack your bags
Time for jumpin' overboard
The transportation is here
Close enough, but not too far
Maybe you know where you are
Fightin' fire with fire

Ah, all wet, yeah, you might need a raincoat
Shape down, dreams walking in broad daylight
Three hundred sixty-five degrees
Burning down the house, huh

Ah, it was once upon a place
Sometimes I listen to myself
Gonna come in first place
People on their way to work
And, baby, what did you expect
Gonna burst into flames
Ah

Burning down the house

My house, s'out of the ordinary
That's right, don't want to hurt nobody
Some things sure can sweep me off my feet
Burning down the house

No visible means of support
And you have not seen nothing yet
Everything's stuck together
And I don't know what you expect
Staring into the TV set
Fighting fire with fire
Ah
Comments (434)add comment
HEADS UP! It's truly a fantastic testament to their legacy, and the legacy of this film as The Greatest Concert Movie Ever, that the Boulder Theater was once again packed and buzzing like a hive for another showing of this last Friday night. It was one of the coldest nights of the year, and the place was rocking, everyone dancing and singing and sweating and going wild, clapping and cheering like it was an actual live concert. Burning down the house! I danced my buns off the whole time, as did most. Musical ecstasy! It's an experience not to be equaled -- except by doing it again, perhaps... Let's go! I'll always be up for it! More Songs About Buildings and Food helped change my life when I was 16 years old, and I am eternally grateful!
 Tomasni wrote:

Rating to 3 + skip


Well, skip your buns off, Skippy!
 Natureboy1962 wrote:

Saw them in '82. They opened for the Police.

They blew the Police off the stage. Fantastic show, a very fond memory.



I found it hard to believe that the Talking Heads ever *opened* for the Police, but there it is:

https://www.facebook.com/CHOM9...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

I remember seeing them in NYC around the same time -- definitely not opening act material -- joyous, ecstatic, unforgettable. 
 coloradojohn wrote:

Best concert movie EVER! A couple nights ago, (Oct. 30 so lots of Byrne costumes and Big Suits!), the Boulder Theater was packed; standing-room only, and we were dancing and singing and going wild, just like the members of this incredible band. The pre-show party was just like before a real rock concert! Kevin and I staked out balcony seats, though I wound up dancing in the aisle the whole time. He had never seen it, and was totally blown away, rather overwhelmed by the whole thing, just like I was the first time... It was my third time seeing it, but at least 20 years since the last. And with the re-mixed sound, whoah! This is a powerful event. David was freaky beyond belief! Jerry was on fire! Tina was hopping and bopping and jamming her heart out, and Chris Frantz went absolute Moonie! Bernie Worrell was the super-groovy guest keyboardist from P-Funkadelic, Alex Weir was a madman on guitar, and Chris Scale bangs on every kind of drum... Edna Holt and Lynn Mabry were the fabulous back-up singers. The magic they all made together is something to see! It's so utterly Next-Level that it stays with you for days, too! GO SEE IT!



I saw this in San Francisco after many years - it was everything he said and more. 
Well, this is probably one of those posts that will get downvoted, but I've been trying to understand why I just can't listen to Talking Heads' music without hitting the PSD after 30 seconds. Today, I think I realised it's the lead singer's voice.

Back in '84, I got a new teacher for Classics at school, Mr Spears. It turned out to be an apt name as I soon got in trouble for complaining of jabbing headaches in his lessons; no other lessons, just his. Turned out his voice resonated in my head to the point it triggered migraines. Fortunately I was able to swap classes and the problem was solved.

Much as I might try to enjoy Talking Heads, I think I just can't, which is a shame. Hopefully I'm not the only one who likes everything else about a band, except that one, unfortunately crucial, thing.
Best concert movie EVER! A couple nights ago, (Oct. 30 so lots of Byrne costumes and Big Suits!), the Boulder Theater was packed; standing-room only, and we were dancing and singing and going wild, just like the members of this incredible band. The pre-show party was just like before a real rock concert! Kevin and I staked out balcony seats, though I wound up dancing in the aisle the whole time. He had never seen it, and was totally blown away, rather overwhelmed by the whole thing, just like I was the first time... It was my third time seeing it, but at least 20 years since the last. And with the re-mixed sound, whoah! This is a powerful event. David was freaky beyond belief! Jerry was on fire! Tina was hopping and bopping and jamming her heart out, and Chris Frantz went absolute Moonie! Bernie Worrell was the super-groovy guest keyboardist from P-Funkadelic, Alex Weir was a madman on guitar, and Chris Scale bangs on every kind of drum... Edna Holt and Lynn Mabry were the fabulous back-up singers. The magic they all made together is something to see! It's so utterly Next-Level that it stays with you for days, too! GO SEE IT!
 DrRick1954 wrote:

Just saw the film “Stop Making Sense” rereleased in theater. Awesome concert, and my friend and I had the entire theater to ourselves 🤣

check it out if it comes by near you


We had whole theatre too - meant I could sing and dance.
Just saw the film “Stop Making Sense” rereleased in theater. Awesome concert, and my friend and I had the entire theater to ourselves 🤣

check it out if it comes by near you
 agkagk wrote:
I remember being blown away by the quality of the recording and mixing on this album. It was the first live performance I had heard that was recorded to audiophile standards.  Ground breaking then and amazing to this day! {#Clap}


Same - I actually forgot about that aspect of the release until you just laid it out. SO true!
Funny story: I saw David Byrne at the Warfield in San Francisco many years ago, and he did not do this song in the regular set. Came out for the encore in a flame-patterned jumpsuit, but still did other songs (despite the crowd calling out the title of the song). His sense of humor I guess. 
If you get a chance to see American Utopia I highly recommend it. Saw in NYC  2 weeks before Covid shut down.
 Rockit999 wrote:

Give credit to the sound technicians & stage set up...These people are unheralded.



Give credit to the late, great Bernie Worrell on keys.
It is 2022 and this still burns away everything! Great Track from an great album.
The Tom Jones & The Cardigans rendition of this is... something.... 🤣
Give credit to the sound technicians & stage set up...These people are unheralded.
 walk2k wrote:



more like



(this album was one of the first, to my knowledge... that was recorded on a digital system)



You are distorting when you enter the red in digital!!  ...You can usually go to +4dB on most analog equipment without distortion!! 
 TomJB wrote:
Vol Max



more like



(this album was one of the first, to my knowledge... that was recorded on a digital system)
His house does sound out of the ordinary - I’d be surprised if it conforms to building regulations.
Geez, slow down, this is not a race.  Burning Down The House is a broody, pensive song.
 Natureboy1962 wrote:

Saw them in '82. They opened for the Police.

They blew the Police off the stage. Fantastic show, a very fond memory.



I like the Police. I like Talking Heads more.
Saw them twice on this tour - SF and Houston. Blew my F’ing mind. SOOO innovative. Byrne is off the f’ing charts
 agkagk wrote:
I remember being blown away by the quality of the recording and mixing on this album. It was the first live performance I had heard that was recorded to audiophile standards.  Ground breaking then and amazing to this day! {#Clap}



YOU BET!!!   Super excellent in FLAC w/ great studio phones, amp & DAC!!!
Methinks there's ghosts in RP today. This says it's Talking Heads' Burning Down the House (live) but I'm definitely hearing Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb
TOTALLY EXCELLENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Had to switch to my best headphones.  Much better.
I remember being blown away by the quality of the recording and mixing on this album. It was the first live performance I had heard that was recorded to audiophile standards.  Ground breaking then and amazing to this day! {#Clap}
Dig out your old DVD of the movie. There's an alternative mix of this live version that's even more incredible than this.
 phlattop wrote:

huh. That's saying something cause the Police were a hell of a live act themselves.
 

1982 US Festival. I wouldn't say they "opened" for the Police but they were on before them. Police were great and Sting was funny but agree that the Talking Heads set was better.
 Natureboy1962 wrote:
Saw them in '82. They opened for the Police.

They blew the Police off the stage. Fantastic show, a very fond memory.
 
huh. That's saying something cause the Police were a hell of a live act themselves.
 victory806 wrote:
This was from the most memorable concert I’ve ever seen! The percussion alone has never been duplicated - it blew us away. The venue at Miami University was bouncing and floating off the ground! I was 8 months preggers at the time, and the only fallout is my son’s perpetual hate for the Heads. His loss!
 
I kicked myself for missing an opportunity to see TH, especially to hear this song live. Many years later, I finally got to see David Byrne on his tour with St. Vincent (twice!) and they played this. Thank you, fate.
 h8rhater wrote:

True, but have you considered the utter waste in expending your emotions hating  something like a band?  Tell us what you love to hear on the threads for those songs.  Put something positive out there.
 
Your most important point right there brother: put something GOOD in the universe!! ✌ and LLRP!!
This was from the most memorable concert I’ve ever seen! The percussion alone has never been duplicated - it blew us away. The venue at Miami University was bouncing and floating off the ground! I was 8 months preggers at the time, and the only fallout is my son’s perpetual hate for the Heads. His loss!
I've had this at a 9 for quite a while, but good grief, today it's a 10!
 corbu wrote:

and again!!  love it!
 

 ick wrote:
Hahaha!  "Burning Down the House" proceeded by "Frank's Wild Years"  I see what you did there Bill. 
 

 ick wrote:
Hahaha!  "Burning Down the House" proceeded by "Frank's Wild Years"  I see what you did there Bill. 
 
and again!!  love it!
 stephen.king12101 wrote:
Volume 10 !
 

Quality is best served Loud!
 stephen.king12101 wrote:
 
 
This one goes to 11
Volume 10 !
Hahaha!  "Burning Down the House" proceeded by "Frank's Wild Years"  I see what you did there Bill. 
Saw American Utopia a few weeks ago in New York. Dancing in the aisles!!

I loved it.
Saw them in '82. They opened for the Police.

They blew the Police off the stage. Fantastic show, a very fond memory.
Since college I've always loved this song and considered this the bar for concert films.  About twenty years ago, I was watching Stop Making Sense at home while my young sons were on overnight stays with classmates, and the music was playing as loud as my sound system could sustain when Burning Down the House came on...little did I know that my 7-year old younger son was NOT spending the night, and I did not hear the numerous phone calls from his classmate's mother asking when I was coming to pick him up.   My son came in the front door after being dropped off and demanded why I didn't answer the phone.  I said,  "We have to watch this movie from the beginning, then you'll understand."  I restarted the DVD.

To this day my audiophile son is a true TH fan...
One of the best sounding live concert films of all time
There was a dj in skowhegan Maine who played this song while a local song was burning. He was——-fired
Bill, something on your mind? Burning down the house? And I think I heard Tom Waits before with Frank’s Wild Years...
 dischuckin wrote:

...and this isn't one of them.
 
i always prefer the live versions of TH
 
This whole live album is extraordinarily good.. better than the studio versions in some cases.  
Rating to 3 + skip
 renlat wrote:
Ando wrote:
Oh my god. I heard this song at least 3 years ago on RP. I can't believe there isn't more variety. Can't I go 1.5 million minutes without hearing the same song. Geez, what's the deal... Stupid whiners. If you don't like a song, go ahead and say so, but I challenge you to find any other source with as much variety. And, if you do find that source, then you might as well stay there and keep your
It is not because you love Talking Heads that I do not have the right to hate it.
 
True, but have you considered the utter waste in expending your emotions hating  something like a band?  Tell us what you love to hear on the threads for those songs.  Put something positive out there.
8 down to  7 
Just saw David Byrne a few months ago, and he is still incredible live! Was on my feet for most of it. There's some great videos on YouTube of his last tour.
Is that a silk or linen jacket, he's wearing?  
Wow... what an unfortunate timing to play this with the complete destruction of Paradise due to the wild fires.
 jhorton wrote:
Some bands are NOT better live.

 
...and this isn't one of them.
 
i always prefer the live versions of TH
 TomJB wrote:
Vol Max
 
Especially the last 2 minutes.
Vol Max
I increase to 8 - Most Excellent 
 hanssachs wrote:
I can see the whole band running in place, in my mind's eye ...

 
In my lifetime I was never in the kind of physical condition to do what David Byrne does in that show. Astonishing.
 vanillagorilla wrote:
Burn down the house with this record in it
 
Funny!........but I heartily disagree.  Great song IMHO
 user4176 wrote:
I used to like the TH. But recently they are a bit overplayed here. Wonder why that is.

 
As an alternative read, how about "This is by far the best rocker the TH ever recorded."  It's been covered multiple times (Bonnie Raitt has an excellent live version on CD).  Gave it a "9".
I used to like the TH. But recently they are a bit overplayed here. Wonder why that is.
Burn down the house with this record in it
Pushing it up one notch to 9.  This could be the kind of songs that makes you spin for another 6 months when you are down below.  
I m burning up my feet. Can t stop dancing! Best concert film of all time.
Going for a 9- see it live! 

Listening in on the East Coast.  Thanks.


This still sounds modern 32 years on!
One of the best concert films ever.
"Slippery People" is another highlight.
Why does the song ends in That's rightThat's right?
Some bands are NOT better live.
 Bobert_ParkCity wrote:
Saw these guys at Forest Hills.  Dude named Jim sitting next to me kept doing blow and telling me how awesome it was.

Dude's other name was Bogart...
 

Used to hate when that happened. Now I'm glad.
 timmus wrote:
I never liked this version because the tempo is wayyyyyyy too fast.

 
Yup, the drummer needs a click track. He's all over the place {#Cheesygrin}
Saw these guys at Forest Hills.  Dude named Jim sitting next to me kept doing blow and telling me how awesome it was.

Dude's other name was Bogart...

Great show, tho - David had the giant suit thing going "Well, I wanted to make my head smaller, so I made my body bigger".  
 hempmandan wrote:
Davis Byrne is genius. So is his backup band Tom Tom Club....
 
 
Well, Talking Heads included two member who would later go on to form the Tom Tom Club.
I never liked this version because the tempo is wayyyyyyy too fast.
 averybadcat wrote:


As for the new playlists, just wondering... do you all ever find your song ratings being influenced by what comes before or after, or do they stay pretty constant regardless?

 
I think that what comes before more than after would more influence a rating.

I think a good song could get a bump if it follows a good song.  A not so good song preceding won't hurt a song's rating more than a good one in front would help.

It would also depend on ones familiarity for a song, with the more ingrained, the less another song may influence a rating.  As time passes, I will give some songs a bump and some a kick down.  But the ups outnumber the downs by about 10 to 1. 
Davis Byrne is genius. So is his backup band Tom Tom Club....
 
Live music is better, bumper stickers should be issued.
 fedtho wrote:
randyblew wrote:
Talking Heads - Burning Down The House
Johnny Cash - Ring of Fire
Son Volt - Driving the View
Van Morrison - And It Stoned Me

Nice segue...
 enkay wrote:

So good that the whole set gets repeated 2 months later apparently.

 
dwlangham wrote:

Wow. And here we are with the same sequence on Jan 30, 2012. Bill never said this was "live" radio, did he though?
 
Well said.
And I might add that, on this April 7th 2014, I heard this followed by completely different songs. So Bill also makes NEW sequences now and again.
Not that I ever had any doubts !

Keep at producing the most creative and refreshing playlists I know, Bill  {#Notworthy}

 

As for the new playlists, just wondering... do you all ever find your song ratings being influenced by what comes before or after, or do they stay pretty constant regardless?
We used to play this (volume on "11") while we cleaned up the bar after closing.{#Fire} 
Never...to...hear...TH/DB....again....

Insta-PSD 
 fedtho wrote:
randyblew wrote:
Talking Heads - Burning Down The House
Johnny Cash - Ring of Fire
Son Volt - Driving the View
Van Morrison - And It Stoned Me

Nice segue...
 enkay wrote:

So good that the whole set gets repeated 2 months later apparently.

 
dwlangham wrote:

Wow. And here we are with the same sequence on Jan 30, 2012. Bill never said this was "live" radio, did he though?


 
Well said.
And I might add that, on this April 7th 2014, I heard this followed by completely different songs. So Bill also makes NEW sequences now and again.
Not that I ever had any doubts !

Keep at producing the most creative and refreshing playlists I know, Bill  {#Notworthy}

 
And again on July 1st, 2014. I am not complaining, it's interesting to see, I would not expect Bill to stay up 24 7 DJing. 

I love this live version of the song so much! In the 80s, I recorded the music video onto VHS and played it often.  
randyblew wrote:
Talking Heads - Burning Down The House
Johnny Cash - Ring of Fire
Son Volt - Driving the View
Van Morrison - And It Stoned Me

Nice segue...
 enkay wrote:

So good that the whole set gets repeated 2 months later apparently.

 
dwlangham wrote:

Wow. And here we are with the same sequence on Jan 30, 2012. Bill never said this was "live" radio, did he though?


 
Well said.
And I might add that, on this April 7th 2014, I heard this followed by completely different songs. So Bill also makes NEW sequences now and again.
Not that I ever had any doubts !

Keep at producing the most creative and refreshing playlists I know, Bill  {#Notworthy}
I know so little of TH that I didn't know this was the live version (I wonder if, once the concert version existed, they might have essentially play that on the radio instead of the studio cut? It sounds so familiar, I would believe this is the version I've heard when they were big.)

Anyway, what I mean to say is that it sounds really, really good, like studio good. I wouldn't be surprised if this was considered as a landmark in live recording. (I confess I never saw the movie, I might have a look now...!)

I must also confess I didn't like the TH back in the days; but over the years, some of their songs have grown on me, and I got back to liking this one in particular after the Tom Jones/The Cardigans cover on Jones' "RELOAD" album (fantastic concept: doing covers of well known songs - at least in the UK - in duets with yet different artists who also produce said covers, well worth a listen - unless you can't stand T. Jones, there's pretty much something for everyone: I initially bought it for the Portishead "All mine", duet with and produced by Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy, with a full-blown orchestra and electric band, sounding very much like a James Bond's title song, a total blast... {#Cool} )
I like Talking Heads a lot but something about the keyboard sound in this hasn't aged very well. They make the song sound dated to me. Still an easy 7.
Great song. I'm not a huge fan of the studio version, but the Stop Making Sense version is simply amazing. An absolute spectacle. 
Love this! The whole concert. Even the Tom Tom Club interlude, though I think the strange performance of Swamp--thought it was Blind--is my favorite...
Nice Live series - doing the chair dance.
 calypsus_1 wrote:


"This is from Stop Making Sense, imo one of the hands down best (of any band) concert films. So full of creativity and energy, definitely worth watching for a TH fan..."      Joshmf



 
Much agreed. Just did rent it from Netflix. 
DB's final song at Red Rocks after playing most of Remain In The Light. They all came out in pink tutu's. Awesome.
One of 2-3 songs I can stand of TH
 marcc wrote:
one of my biggest regrets was not seeing these guys when they played this, but i was young and stupid, so what's a brother to do? this song brings such amazing memories: i was with a smoking-hot girl, my motorcycle and i was 20-somethning... ahhh.

 
Me too! They came to town when I was in high school and I thought about going. But you know how it is when you are young. You think these bands will be around forever so you can always see them another time. Not seeing Talking Heads live is one my greatest musical regrets.
 Now I am going have to listen more closely to the studio cut.    I'v always been hooked on this film version.


TheBorgBuilder wrote:
Good but, Studio version is much better...IMO

 


Good but, Studio version is much better...IMO
I saw him do this with St Vincent as an encore a couple of months back - excellent
I can see the whole band running in place, in my mind's eye ...
one of my biggest regrets was not seeing these guys when they played this, but i was young and stupid, so what's a brother to do? this song brings such amazing memories: i was with a smoking-hot girl, my motorcycle and i was 20-somethning... ahhh.
Definitely not for me...  {#Frustrated}
 spaceman wrote:
Every time I hear this song now, I can only think of:

"...going to set the building on fire..."
- Milton Waddams

 

Bob Slydell: Well, just a second there, professor. We, uh, we fixed the *glitch*.


"This is from Stop Making Sense, imo one of the hands down best (of any band) concert films. So full of creativity and energy, definitely worth watching for a TH fan..."      Joshmf


An amazing band and this song took them even further.

They were very special right up till their end.
always liked the song but come on bill. you don't get to jump from praising variety in your segue to playing the most overplayed talking heads song.  ??
 sirdroseph wrote:
Yea, this song did not stand the test of time.{#No}

 
Which of course would explain the 7.8 rating {#Stupid}
the grupo fantasma cover is soooooo amazing
Unfortunate.
A red got live version of their very best rocker.  Didn't know it was around.  Thanks, Bill.
Very clever seque!!

Johnny Cash Ring of Fire -> Talking Heads Burning Down The House

Went to see the movie when it came out. In Denver. In a snowstorm. At midnight. Very stoned. Actually felt like you were at a concert. Very nice.

{#Clap}
Oh no.
Good song, but if there is one band on RP that's overplayed, it must be Talking Heads.

If I hear them too much, I get allergic, and it often causes me to switch away from RP...
 Stranglersfan wrote:
Ah Yes, The Era of Giant Suit Jackets.
 

Yes, I saw them on "The Big Suit Tour."
One of the best concerts for that year.
And a bunch of you complain that Neil Young has a lousy voice? Jeez, Byrne has more thin whiny nasal singing than a busted train whistle, and not nearly the depth of lyrics. 
Every time I hear this song now, I can only think of:

"...going to set the building on fire..."
- Milton Waddams
He's doing this song as an encore on tour with St. Vincent.  With a brass band.  It brought the house DOWN.
This still rocks.
Ah Yes, The Era of Giant Suit Jackets.
 That_SOB wrote:


"Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds." - - - Einstein

 

Nice quote, this song did not stand the test of time.{#No}
 enkay wrote:


So good that the whole set gets repeated 2 months later apparently.
 
Hey, if it works in December, it'll work in April...
Oh shut up David Byrne. Maybe for this song....David Burn!
possibly inappropriate?  wtf?