With African percussion rhythms augmented by synthesizers, this song was the brainchild of Brian Eno, who produced the Talking Heads Fear of Music album. Eno came up with similar sounds for his 1974 album Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy).
As for the lyrics, they came about when Eno suggested to David Byrne that he adapt the poem Gadji beri bimba by the German Dadaist writer Hugo Ball. Eno, Byrne…
Gadji beri bimba clandridi
Lauli lonni cadori gadjam
A bim beri glassala glandride
E glassala tuffu i zimbra