Talking Heads – Life During Wartime (1979)

Talking Heads – Life During Wartime (1979)

“Life During Wartime” is a song by the American new wave band Talking Heads, released as the first single from their 1979 album Fear of Music. It peaked at #80 on the US Billboard Pop Singles Chart.

The song is also performed in the 1984 film Stop Making Sense, which depicts a Talking Heads concert. The performance featured in the film prominently features aerobic exercising and jogging by David Byrne and background singers. The Stop Making Sense live version of the track is featured in the film’s accompanying soundtrack album. Its official title as a single, “Life During Wartime (This Ain’t No Party… This Ain’t No Disco… This Ain’t No Foolin’ Around)”, makes it one of the longest-titled singles.

In David Bowman’s book This Must Be the Place: The Adventures of Talking Heads in the Twentieth Century Byrne is quoted as describing the genesis of the song, David wrote nine of the album’s eleven tracks. Two numbers came out of jamming. The first would be called “Life During Wartime.” David’s lyrics describe a Walker Percy-ish post-apocalyptic landscape where a revolutionary hides out in a deserted cemetery, surviving on peanut butter. “I wrote this in my loft on Seventh and Avenue A,” David later said, “I was thinking about Baader-Meinhof. Patty Hearst. Tompkins Square. This a song about living in Alphabet City.”

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