Psycho Killer (4:28)

Cover of Stop Making Sense

From Stop Making Sense and 63 other releases

“Psycho Killer” is a song by Talking Heads from their 1977 album Talking Heads: 77, written by David Byrne, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth. The band’s “signature debut hit” features lyrics which seem to represent the thoughts of a serial killer. Allmusic calls it a “deceptively funky New Wave/No Wave song … an insistent rhythm, and one of the most memorable, driving bass lines in rock & roll.”

“Psycho Killer” was the only song from the album to appear on the Billboard charts, peaking at 92 among Billboard Pop Singles. It placed 32nd on the Triple J Hottest 100 in 1989. It almost made the top ten in the Netherlands, peaking at #11 in 1977.

Lyrics

According to the preliminary lyric sheets copied onto the 2006 remaster of Talking Heads: 77, the song started off as a semi-narrative of the killer actually committing murders. Byrne has said of the song:
When I started writing this (I got help later), I imagined Alice Cooper doing a Randy Newman-type ballad. Both the Joker and Hannibal Lecter were much more fascinating than the good guys. Everybody sort of roots for the bad guys in movies.
The bridge lyrics are in French and include the prominent chorus line, “Qu’est-ce que c’est ?”, which translates in English to “What is it?”. The rest of the French lyrics are:
Ce que j’ai fait ce soir-là
Ce qu’elle a dit ce soir-là’
Réalisant mon espoir
Je me lance vers la gloire… OK
What I did, that evening

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