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Talking Heads - Once in a Lifetime: The Stories Behind Every Song Paperback – 1 Oct 2004

1.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Carlton Books Ltd; 01 edition (1 Oct. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844426718
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844426713
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 0.9 x 28 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,139,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Ian Gittins has written about music and popular culture for 15 years, for publications as various as Melody Maker, Q, the Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Time Out, MTV and the New York Times. Based in London, he now contributes to the Guardian and Q. He is also the author of Bjork - Human Behaviour: The Stories Behind Every Song.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoy these 'Stories Behind The Songs' books and have quite a few of them. I've found the quality of each can be hit-and-miss. The Pink Floyd One 'Echoes: The...' is excellent and refers to band interviews and other sources to give you as much of what went into the inspiration, composition and recording of each song as possible. The Beatles 'Hard Days Write' is of similar quality. I'm a big fan of Talking Heads and was hugely looking forward to this book.
However, its easily the worst SBTS book I've read. There's almost no reference to band interviews or other sources to explain the songs, no new information. Instead, the author just disassembles each track and describes what we can all hear anyway. The author actually just writes his guesses at what the lyrics mean without offering any information from the band about them. For the majority, he's clearly just sat down with a pad and the song, nothing else. That's not insight, it's just opinion. And the lyrical explanations are often heftily over-analytical, as if a 'deep and meaningful' paragraph might actually look convincing if it sounds 'heavy' enough.
Stay clear - this book is 'all talking, no Heads'.
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Format: Paperback
Do not by this book. How can some one tell you the meaning and stories of these great songs when they had no part in writing them? The author of this book looks into the songs to deep and writes giberish. The songs are just songs (FANTASTIC SONGS), there NOT ancient egyptian scripts that have a hidden meaning for gods sake.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Colorful photos, but sparse descriptions of songs 1 April 2005
By Hairy Lime - Published on
Format: Paperback
Gittins is effective at giving the reader the story of Talking Heads as a group and the trials and tribulations that occurred between albums. However, the "stories behind every song" are pretty sparse. For instance, a total of 7 sentences is dedicated to the song "Memories Can't Wait" and only 8 sentences are written about "Heaven." Instead of writing about every song on every Heads' album, I think it would have been better to write more thoroughly about the better known songs only.

While the color photos are nice, some of them are barely relevant (a half-page photo of the Carpenters in a Talking Heads book?). Also, the editing/proofreading could have been better. For example, on page 9 there's a photo of Jerry Harrison and David Byrne, but the label for the photo says "Chris Frantz and David Byrne." This can cause major confusion for people not too familiar with the Heads, like myself, especially when the photo is near the beginning of the book.

One last criticism has to do with the author's writing style. He seems to use unusual words and descriptions just to be different, but it comes off as pretty annoying in my opinion. On page 83, he's describing "Girlfriend Is Better" and says Tina Weymouth's bass playing "is as near to phat as it ever gets but still sounds parping and hesitant rather than enjoyably flatulent..." And I know we all like our bass playing to sound flatulent. Finally, if you've never heard of the word 'skewwhiff' before, you might wanna steer clear since Gittins uses it about 20 times in this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars There is scant little in the way of stories behind every song 11 Nov. 2012
By A dad - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a book with photos and not much else. It would have been interesting if it lived up to its promise, but it does not begin to do so.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A terrible waste of time-- just look at the pictures 6 Mar. 2005
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
While the photographs in this book are fabulous, the book itself is poorly written, poorly edited, and poorly researched. There are many typos and grammatical errors in the text. Most of the "research" was just taken from other books about the Talking Heads. The thing I find most offensive is that the book is titled, "The Stories Behind Every Song" but the "stories" are no more than guesses made by the book's author as to what he thinks the songs could be about. "Oh ummm David Byrne was PROBABLY dating Adelle Lutz when Speaking In Tongues was recorded so I think she was the girlfriend in Girlfriend is Better!!". Ridiculous! This book is total trash. Leaf through it for the pictures at the store, but don't waste your money.
1.0 out of 5 stars Among the worst books I have read. 16 Jan. 2013
By Philter - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was expecting research and interviews, or at least quotes from other interviews. Instead I got descriptions of the songs and sometimes wild conjecture or ridiculous interpretations of the lyrics. Example: the title Found A Job has nothing to do with the lyrics. Huh? The writing "style" is on a middle school level. How did this get published? I'll keep it for the pictures only.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A waste 17 Aug. 2009
By Wyoming Snowman - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is pretty much worthless. There are some snippets of band history that are interesting, but the line from the title "The Stories Behind Every Song" is completely misleading, insofar as I was expecting _the band's_ take on their work. Instead, the author provides us with his pretty lame and obvious interpretations of the lyrics. I suppose this book is OK if all you want is the historical pictures of the band, but the text is weak at best.
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