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"Listening Wind" is the seventh track of the Talking Heads (WP) album Remain in Light.[1] The track has a prominent bassline and sets the funk tone of the album. It is one of few songs on the album that has not been re-released in another form or on any of the Talking Heads live albums.

Author Ian Gittens described it as a "Middle Eastern keyboard and percussion lament"[2]

Listening Wind tells the story of a foreign freedom fighter, Mojique, who plans to bomb interests of the "foreigners" in his land to redress the inequities he sees, including their "fancy houses". Strictly speaking, his motivation is economic. He does not even count as the mid-to-late 20th C definition of a terrorist; no phoning newspapers to claim the destructive power as his own, no targeting of civilians as psychological warfare. Nowadays the US definition is "violence with political intent", but then, that describes each and every military action from the beginning of time, including all the US ones. There was a tsunami of fear after the WTC collapse, all right, but it was fear of this police state. A state that creates a definition of terrorism that implicates themselves, wielding a fear that immunizes them against their own creation.

Nowadays even the creator of this song has to duck a little. David Byrne in an interview with Peter Ross of the Glasgow Sunday Herald, “I don’t know if I could get away with performing that live anymore!… I understand why America is not universally loved. That’s been obvious to me for years and years, but it’s not obvious to a lot of Americans. Their immediate reaction is, ‘They love us, they’re just jealous. They just want McDonald’s.’”'

'"Woof! I don't know if I could get away with performing that live anymore! Wooaaaooh! Nothing's changed. God, nothing's changed at all. We should send that off as a little bonus CD for the troops."
"Yeah, I think I do a little bit. But you never know, I'm not there. I certainly understand a part of it. I understand why America is not universally loved. That's been obvious to me for years and years, but it's not obvious to a lot of Americans. Their immediate reaction is, 'They love us, they're just jealous. They just want McDonald's.'"'
'Post 9/11, he says, amid the burning effigies of Osama and Saddam, he felt alienated even in his beloved New York.'
'"I felt 'Woah, maybe I don't belong here. Is this our country's true colours we are seeing now? Or is it an aberration?' I would like to think it's an abberation, but it goes to show not only how easily people can be manipulated but how easily they can be swept up in a fever of nationalism, patriotism, xenophobia. At some point they wake up from that and they are back to the wonderful people they were before. But watch out for them when they're sleepwalking."' - Peter Ross' interview with David Byrne, Sunday Herald, Glasgow (UK), Mar 21, 2004, Copyright 2004 SMG Sunday Newspapers Ltd.[3]

Peter Gabriel (WP) covered the song on his album Scratch My Back, with almost full stringed instrumentation (other than an electronic bass). David Byrne said, “(Gabriel) brings a kind of sweetness out of the song. It brings a lot of yearning and personal emotion.”[4]

Geoffrey Oryema covered the song on his 2000 album Spirit

Wikipedia:Template:Talking Heads

External links Edit


  1. Schill, Fred (November 18, 1980). "Talking Heads:The beat deepens". Wikipedia:The Michigan Daily.,3959243&dq=born-under-punches&hl=en. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  2. Gittens, I. (2004). [ "Talking Heads: Once in a Lifetime : the Stories Behind Every Song"]. Hal Leonard. pp. 72. Template:Citation/identifier. 

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