a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History Lyrics

Burning Down the House

Music/Lyrics: Byrne/Frantz/Harrison/Weymouth

Vocals: Trey (lead), All (backing)

Original Artist: Talking Heads

Original Album: Speaking in Tongues (1983)

Debut: 1998-08-12

Historian: Mark Toscano

One of Talking Heads’ most recognizable songs, this tune can be heard everywhere from Revenge of the Nerds to Bonnie Raitt concerts to suburban garages to downtown karaoke jukeboxes. The members of Phish are clearly huge Talking Heads fans and have covered them many times: the complete Remain in Light album played on 10/31/96 and the retention of “Crosseyed and Painless” from that album in its repertoire, as well as covers of "Cities," "Psycho Killer," and “Burning Down the House.”

Talking Heads, "Burning Down the House"

On 8/12/98 the band played a hometown show for Fishman in Vernon, NY (near Syracuse), and treated the crowd to a sizzling “Burning Down the House,” "YEM" combo encore. Perhaps a special one-time treat, this performance contained a localized lyric change that had the fans at Vernon Downs feeling right at home: “Vernon Down the House!” This encore sent fans off on the road to Lemonwheel with a collective ear-to-ear grin.

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