Way Back Wednesday: The Top Music of September 16, 1983

This Week In 1983: The Top Music of September 16, 1983

We’ve Michael Sembello sitting in the top spot for a second straight week. Air Supply (“Making Love Out Of Nothing At All”) and Naked Eyes (“Promises, Promises”) both move up six spots while this week’s biggest mover is The Fixx who move “One Thing Leads To Another” up nine spots to #29. This week’s biggest drop belongs to Stevie Nicks who, after peaking at #5 a couple of weeks ago, drops eleven spots to #35. And on their way to a peak of #9, Talking Heads move up five spots to #28 with “Burning Down The House”. It’s also our featured song of the week.

Song Story: “Burning Down The House” by Talking Heads

I forgot how weird and awesome this song and video are. The song started out as an instrumental jam between drummer Chris Frantz and bass player Tina Weymouth (who also happen to be husband and wife) after they had seen Parliment Funkadelic live at Madison Square Garden. The crowd had been chanting “burn down the house, burn down the house” which gave the duo the idea for the title. For the lyrics, singer David Byrne picked lyrics that fit the rhythm of the song. Byrne began by chanting and singing nonsense words and syllables until he found a phrase that fit the rhythms (funny side note: the chorus was originally filled in with “foam rubber, USA”). In an interview, Byrne said: “I had loads and loads of phrases collected that I thought, thematically, had something to do with another and I would just pick from them.”

The video was directed by Byrne, himself, and featured the exterior of his aunt’s house. It was also the band’s first video to feature then entire band. Thanks to MTV, the video received a great deal of exposure and became the band’s biggest hit even though it wasn’t getting much radio airplay.

About Eric Vardeman 115 Articles
80's lover. Screenwriter. Cohost of The Greatest Lists podcast. Christmas enthusiast. Tulsa Curling Club founder. Cherokee. Guitar player. Boomer Sooner. Curator of 80's playlists (https://open.spotify.com/user/127168733)

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