Tag Archives: Talking Heads

Talking Heads – Once in a Lifetime

Once in a Lifetime” is a song by Talking Heads, from their album Remain in Light. Written by David Byrne and Brian Eno, it was named one of the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century by National Public Radio.

Lyrics

The verses of the song consist of David Byrne speaking rather than singing. With the lyrics “Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down,” the song has an existential vibe to it, although it is usually interpreted to be a song dealing with the midlife crisis and the inevitable sacrifice of youthful ideals and dreams for conventional success:

And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!

The main portion of the lyric is said to be based on a preacher heard on the radio by Byrne and Eno while they were driving through New York.

Music video

The music video features a bespectacled David Byrne dancing much like a marionette. The choreography was done by Toni Basil, famous for her hit song “Mickey“. Byrne is shown making sudden flings of his arm, tapping his head, and getting on his hands and knees to pat the floor, much like simple tricks which can be done with actual marionettes. In the background, Byrne dances in perfect synchronisation; in the foreground, a larger Byrne is getting further and further out of synch. Some of Byrne’s mannerisms (such as physical spasms, unfocussed eye movements, and sharp intakes of breath) were inspired by choreographer Basil showing him footage of epilepsy sufferers. The video is noted for being exhibited in the New York Museum of Modern Art.

reference:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Once_in_a_Lifetime_(Talking_Heads_song)