"Psycho Killer" is a song written by David Byrne, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth and first played by their band The Artistic in 1974, and as New Wave band Talking Heads in 1975,with a later version recorded for their 1977 album Talking Heads: 77. The band's "signature debut hit" features lyrics which seem to represent the thoughts of a serial killer. Originally written and performed as a ballad, "Psycho Killer" became what Allmusic calls a "deceptively funky New Wave/No Wave song ... [with] an insistent rhythm, and one of the most memorable, driving basslines in rock & roll."
"Psycho Killer" was the only song from the album to appear on the Billboard Pop Singles chart, peaking at number 92. It placed 32nd on the Triple J Hottest 100 in 1989, and peaked at #11 on the Dutch singles chart in 1977.
According to the preliminary lyric sheets copied onto the 2006 remaster of Talking Heads: 77, the song started off as a semi-narrative of the killer actually committing murders. Byrne has said of the song:
When I started writing this (I got help later), I imagined Alice Cooper doing a Randy Newman-type ballad. Both the Joker and Hannibal Lecter were much more fascinating than the good guys. Everybody sort of roots for the bad guys in movies.
- Ce que j'ai fait ce soir-là
- Ce qu'elle a dit ce soir-là
- Réalisant mon espoir
- Je me lance vers la gloire... OK
- What I did, that evening
- What she said, that evening
- Fulfilling my hope
- Headlong I go for glory... OK