Talking Heads Perform The Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” Live in 1977 (and How the Bands Got Their Start Together)

Back in the sum­mer of 1975, the Talk­ing Heads were still an unknown band, labor­ing away in obscu­ri­ty. Amidst a sti­fling heat wave, they prac­ticed in every day in a New York City loft. And so it went until they got an ear­ly break–a chance to per­form live at CBGB, as the open­ing act for The Ramones. “Hilly [Kristal, own­er of CBGB, asked John­ny [Ramone] if we could open for them, and John­ny said, ‘Sure, they’re gonna suck, so no prob­lem,’ ” Chris Frantz (Talk­ing Heads drum­mer), recalled in an inter­view with The New York Post. “There were very few peo­ple in the audi­ence, maybe 10 alto­geth­er,” he adds. “Five came to see us and five came to see the Ramones.” The lucky ones.

By 1977, the bands had released their debut albums and embarked on a Euro­pean tour togeth­er. Equal­ly inno­v­a­tive but styl­is­ti­cal­ly dif­fer­ent, their his­to­ries would remain for­ev­er intertwined–something that’s per­haps best cap­tured by the clip above. If we have our facts right, in Jan­u­ary 1977, the Talk­ing Heads opened a show at the Jab­ber­wocky Club at Syra­cuse Uni­ver­si­ty with a cov­er of The Ramones’ 1976 sin­gle “I Wan­na Be Your Boyfriend.”  You can lis­ten to the com­plete 20 minute set below. Also, in the Relat­eds fur­ther down, find footage of both bands play­ing at CBGB in 1974 and 1975.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Talk­ing Heads Play CBGB, the New York Club that Shaped Their Sound (1975)

The Ramones, a New Punk Band, Play One of Their Very First Shows at CBGB (1974)

Watch the Talk­ing Heads Play a Vin­tage Con­cert in Syra­cuse (1978)

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.