Talking Heads Perform an Early Version of ‘Psycho Killer’ Live at CBGB in 1975

A clip from the film Talking Heads: Chronology shows the band performing an early version of their hit song “Psycho Killer” during a now-legendary December 1975 show at CBGB.
This was their second appearance at the iconic New York City club after opening for The Ramones seven months earlier.

Talking Heads, “Psycho Killer” Live at CBGB, 1975

The song was written in 1974 by David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, and Chris Frantz. Byrne explained the motivation for the song in the liner notes from Once in a Lifetime: The Best of Talking Heads.

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.

Weymouth, who grew up speaking French at home, wrote the famous bridge that translates into the chilling first-person words of a killer.

Ce que j’ai fait, ce soir-là – What I did, that evening
Ce qu’elle a dit, ce soir-là – What she said, that evening
Réalisant mon espoir – Fulfilling my hope
Je me lance vers la gloire – Headlong I go towards glory

Here’s the full show from that evening.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.