15 September 1977
Talking Heads: 77 is the debut album by American rock band Talking Heads. It was recorded in April 1977 at New York's Sundragon Studios and released on September 16 of that year by Sire Records. The single "Psycho Killer" reached number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100.
After developing a following playing lower Manhattan's CBGB scene,Talking Heads shopped demos they had recorded for record labels, eventually signing a deal with Sire Records in late 1976. The following April, the band began recording the album at Sundragon Studios, a small studio in lower Manhattan.
Sire Records in the UK and US and Philips Records throughout continental Europe released the album.
In 2005, it was remastered and re-released by Warner Music Group on their Warner Bros./Sire Records/Rhino Records labels in DualDisc format with five bonus tracks on the CD side (see track listing below). The DVD-Audio side includes both stereo and 5.1 surround high-resolution (96 kHz/24bit) mixes, as well as a Dolby Digital version and videos of the band performing "Pulled Up" and "I Feel It in My Heart." In Europe, it was released as a CD+DVDA two-disc set, rather than a single DualDisc. Andy Zax with Talking Heads produced the reissue. The album was re-released on vinyl on April 18, 2009 for Record Store Day.
AllMusic 5/5 stars
Chicago Tribune 3.5/4 stars
Christgau's Record Guide A–
Drowned in Sound 8/10
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars
The Irish Times 5/5 stars
Mojo 3/5 stars
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars
Spin Alternative Record Guide 9/10
Uncut 5/5 stars
Reviewing for The Village Voice in 1977, Robert Christgau said that while "a debut LP will often seem overrefined to habitues of a band's scene", the more he listened to the album the more he believed "the Heads set themselves the task of hurdling such limitations," and succeeded with 77:
"Like Sparks, these are spoiled kids, but without the callowness or adolescent misogyny; like Yes, they are wimps, but without vagueness or cheap romanticism. Every tinkling harmony is righted with a screech, every self-help homily contextualized dramatically, so that in the end the record proves not only that the detachment of craft can coexist with a frightening intensity of feeling—something most artists know—but that the most inarticulate rage can be rationalized. Which means they’re punks after all?"
In his 1995 book, The Alternative Music Almanac, Alan Cross placed it in the No. 5 spot on his 10 Classic Alternative Albums list. In 2003, the album was ranked No. 290 on Rolling Stone magazine's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.
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