Song of the Day #2,942: ‘Once in a Lifetime’ – Talking Heads

remain_in_lightI may only own five albums from 1980, but fortunately they’re very good ones. In fact, in my #3 slot is an album that shows up on just about every list of the best albums of the entire decade.

Remain in Light is Talking Heads’ fourth album, and their first to embrace the African rhythms that would become a hallmark of their future work. Unlike their previous efforts, David Byrne didn’t deliver these songs to the band intact. They were conceived during jam sessions driven by the Heads’ excellent rhythm section of Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz.

Today’s SOTD, ‘Once in a Lifetime,’ was the album’s only “hit” (though it didn’t crack the US Hot 100, it did receive a ton of MTV airplay) but every one of its songs is inventive and influential. When I was searching my blog to see if I’d written about Remain in Light before, I discovered a half dozen posts on other songs that owe it a musical debt.

Remain in Light isn’t my favorite Talking Heads album (I’d give that honor to Speaking in Tongues) but it’s undoubtedly a classic.

You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself, “Well… how did I get here?”

Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
Into the blue again after the money’s gone
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground
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!

Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
Into the blue again after the money’s gone
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground

Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…

Water dissolving…and water removing
There is water at the bottom of the ocean
Remove the water [?]
Remove the water from the bottom of the ocean!

Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
Into the blue again after the money’s gone
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground

Into the blue again into the silent water
Under the rocks and stones there is water underground
Letting the days go by, into the silent water
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground

And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway lead to?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right? Am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself, “MY GOD! WHAT HAVE I DONE?”

Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
Into the blue again after the money’s gone
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground
Into the blue again, into the silent water
Under the rocks and stones, there is water underground

Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
Into the blue again after the money’s gone
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground

Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Time isn’t holding us
Time isn’t after us
Time isn’t holding us
Time isn’t holding us
Time isn’t holding us
Time isn’t after us
Time isn’t holding us
Letting the days go by
Letting the days go by
Letting the days go by once in a lifetime
Letting the days go by
Letting the days go by
Letting the days go by once in a lifetime

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One thought on “Song of the Day #2,942: ‘Once in a Lifetime’ – Talking Heads

  1. Dana says:

    Great song, classic video. My personal favorite Heads albums are Stop Makng Sense (where this and other older songs are given new life and energy live) and the more commercial and accessible Little Creatures.

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