It’s September and the kids are back to school, but the summer heat persists. We just went through the hottest summer since records began in 1940, and the current heat wave has forced school closings and early dismissals throughout the Midwest and the Northeast. Given these sweltering conditions, this week’s EHSDA Song of the Week is “Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)” by Talking Heads.
The lead track on 1980’s Remain In Light, the song combines African rhythms, funky bass and a screaming guitar solo courtesy of guest Adrian Belew. Talking Heads frontman David Byrne delivers an unhinged performance as the lead character of the song, a “government man/born under punches.” It sets the tone for the album, which includes Heads classics like “Once in a Lifetime” and “Crosseyed and Painless.” The album finds the band moving away from the post-punk/new wave sounds of its earlier releases and introducing a funkier, more electronic sound.
“Born Under Punches” was released as a single in Japan, but a medley including it, “Once in a Lifetime” and “Crosseyed and Painless” reached #20 on the Billboard Dance Music/Club Play chart. The subsequent tour featured some legendary performances that are captured on YouTube, including this one from Rome.