Cities

Album: Fear of Music (1979)

Songfacts®:

  • This song finds David Byrne singing about a man looking for a city to live in. During the song he talks about London being "a small city." He explained to Uncut August 2015: "I think I meant that it was made up of lots of small villages, and people sometimes never ventured out of their little village."
  • This is as close to a touring song as the Talking Heads ever got. Birmingham, Alabama; El Paso, Texas; and Memphis, Tennessee all get mentions in addition to London. But unlike most musical travelogues, the lyrics is rather abstruse, with David Byrne singing that Memphis is home of both Graceland and the ancient Greeks. By this time, the Talking Heads had toured extensively, but hadn't played any of the cities mentioned in the song except for London. They never did play Memphis or El Paso, but did play Birmingham in 1979 after the album was released.
  • Brian Eno produced the Fear Of Music album with the band; it was Talking Heads third album and their second with Eno on board. Most of the band had art school backgrounds and meshed well with Eno's experimental style, which resulted in some rather unusual songs, like "Cities," which is driven by Tina Weymouth's bass line, David Byrne's rhythm guitar, and Jerry Harrison's Yamaha CP-70 electric piano.

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