David Byrne is a huge fan of Whitney Houston. Specifically, the late singer’s 1987 mega hit “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” And on Thursday, June 1, the Talking Heads co-founder led a rousing karaoke rendition of the song at a variety show celebrating a new edition of his 2012 book How Music Works.
The show, held at New York City’s Town Hall, was announced early last month, and is inspired by a new chapter in the latest edition of the book, all about “the four ways we discover music in the digital age: recommendation by experts, by the music itself, by social and cultural forces, and by narrative and context.”
This is the best live performance I have ever experienced so far! At the age of 14, Whitney Houston first performed at Town Hall, so David Byrne explained according to the long and winding history of this national landmark. And, David sang Whitney’s, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” along with local talents as well as future stars whom he showcased, at the end. I truly believe this is “How Music Works” for me, too? Thank you, David and everyone❤️ The real meaning of what music does to people, compelled me? これが今迄に体感したライブの中で最高だった！ホイットニー ヒューストンは１４歳の時、このタウンホールで初めて歌を披露したと、この国定建造物の長く曲がりくねった歴史に基づき、デイビッド バーンは説明した。そして、彼はホイットニーの『I Wanna Dance With Somebod』を、彼が紹介した地元のタレントでもあり未来のスター達と最後、一緒に歌った。私もこれが『音楽の効き方』だと真に信じている?デイビッドとみんな、どうもありがとう❤️音楽が人々に作用する本当の意味によって、私は強く動かされた? #davidbyrne #howmusicworks #bestliveperformance #iwannadancewithsomebody #whitneyhouston #herfirstperformance #townhall #nyc #art #lives #music #heals #love #saves #life #dances #musicbringsustogether
In video captured by audience members at the show, the legendary singer and guitarist can be seen swaying and clapping along with an entire ensemble of musicians and performers onstage while donning a suit (but no tie). Byrne enthusiastically belts out the verses while the entire stage joins in for the chorus.
This isn’t the first time that Byrne has covered Houston’s upbeat single, however. In 2007, he included it on his album Live in Austin, TX, and he has been known to perform it at his shows.
At present, the musician is at work on a new solo album that will drop early 2018, and it’s rumored to feature collaborations with Brian Eno and Oneohtrix Point Never’s Daniel Lopatin.
Last month, Talking Heads made headlines for a younger generation when Selena Gomez sampled their 1977 classic “Psycho Killer” for her new track, “Bad Liar.” Songwriter Justin Tranter, who collaborated on Gomez’s single, told Variety at the time that Byrne had given the song his blessing. “He heard it, loved it, and approved,” he said. “To have David Byrne listed next to our names is just so cool.”