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21 December 2023

David Byrne Shares Christmas Playlist Ft. The Pogues, Prince & More

David Byrne Christmas Playlist
Photo: Kristoffer Tripplaar / Alamy Stock Photo
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Talking Heads main man and solo star David Byrne, is celebrating the holiday season with a Christmas playlist he curated for NPR’s Fresh Air series. The 19-track collection truly has a little something for everyone, ranging from classics by The Pogues and Paul Simon to more
contemporary carols from the likes of Phoebe Bridgers and even 100 gecs. You can check out Byrne’s Christmas Playlist on Spotify here.

Though Talking Heads were never interested in making a holiday album of their own — “If it doesn’t click, you’ve just got this embarrassing thing,” the frontman explained to NPR — Byrne’s playlist does include Fat Man’s Comin’, a solo song he released last year in which he gives a very literal interpretation of Santa Claus. “Here’s a stranger who’s sneaking, breaking into your house, basically, leaving packages — and dressed in a rather strange outfit,” Byrne remembered of writing the track. “I thought, what if I just write that?”

Buy the deluxe edition of Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense.


Byrne felt it would be remiss not to include Fairytale of New York, the yuletide hit from The Pogues, whose frontman Shane MacGowan died just last month. “He paints a picture of this bickering couple that actually love one another very much, immigrants who have come to New York and are finding a hard time of it, getting their footing,” added Byrne, who — like MacGowan — has roots in the UK.

Other choice selections from Byrne’s Christmas playlist include Paul Simon’s Getting Ready for Christmas Day, James Brown’s Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto, LCD Soundsystem’s Christmas Will Break Your Heart, Tierra Whack’s feel good, and many more that just further prove his excellent, wide-ranging taste.

Back in September, Byrne reunited with his former Talking Heads bandmates for a once-in-a-lifetime (pun intended) event celebrating the 40th anniversary of their newly-restored concert film Stop Making Sense. The concert’s soundtrack album Stop Making Sense (Deluxe Edition) was released on 18 August as a limited edition, 2LP set and digitally along with a Dolby Atmos mix of the complete concert, mixed by Jerry Harrison and E.T. Thorngren, who also mixed the original release.

Buy the deluxe edition of Stop Making Sense.


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