Stefan Sagmeister looking straight into the camera.
Courtesy Stefan Sagmeister

Stefan Sagmeister’s Playlist of David Bryne Cover Songs

By Aileen Kwun
February 15, 2020
2 minute read

Stefan Sagmeister has designed a lot of album covers in his day—among them, David Byrne’s Feelings (1997) and Talking Heads’s 2003 box set Once in a Lifetime. Here, the notoriously cheeky graphic designer (interviewed by Spencer on Ep. 8 of our Time Sensitive podcast), shares a playlist of some of his favorite Byrne cover songs. Byrne himself wraps his Broadway tour of American Utopia tomorrow, Feb. 16, after a four-month run.

“Once in a Lifetime,” Big Daddy

Big Daddy transforms “Once in a Lifetime” into a pure party song, suggesting we end up at points in our life without any idea of how we got there—all while partying our days away.

“Heaven,” Jessica Lurie

“Heaven” has been covered by everybody from K.D. Lang to Simply Red. I prefer Jessica Lurie’s ‘Heaven,’ where the tuba and the harmonicas rule.

“Road to Nowhere,” Greensky Bluegrass

Greensky Bluegrass pick their banjos at breakneck speed all the way through the sunny fields and rolling hills of “Road to Nowhere.”

“Psycho Killer,” The Bobs

“Psycho Killer” as interpreted by The Bobs, performed without the help of any instruments, is pure silliness, successfully exorcising all hints of anxiety within it.

“(Nothing But) Flowers,” Caetano Veloso

Caetano Veloso performing a gorgeous “(Nothing But) Flowers” all by himself—he and David also re-created this memorably as a duet at Carnegie Hall.

“This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody),” Kishi Bashi

Kishi Bashi plays a lovely “This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)” using nothing but strings.

“Life During Wartime,” Sheri Rene Scott

Sherie Rene Scott has no time for party or disco and successfully moves the setting of “Life During Wartime” from the post-apocalyptic landscape of the late seventies Lower East Side to something closer to the Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel.

“Slippery People,” Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples celebrates a live “Slippery People,” injected with another double dose of funk by Win Butler and Regine Chassagne.