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"Wild Wild Life"
Single by Talking Heads
from the album True Stories
  • 3:39 (Album Version)
  • 5:30 (Extended Version)
Songwriter(s)David Byrne
Talking Heads singles chronology
"Once in a Lifetime (Live)"
"Wild Wild Life"
"Love for Sale"

"Wild Wild Life" is a song by American rock band Talking Heads, released as the lead single from their seventh studio album True Stories. It was the band's third and last top 40 hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

Music video

The video for the song won "Best Group Video" at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1987. Taken from the film True Stories, with some additional content, it includes band member Jerry Harrison parodying Billy Idol, Kid Creole, Ralph Macchio's character Karate Kid, and Prince. "My favorite T. Heads video, the most fun to make," Harrison recalled in the liner notes of Once in a Lifetime: The Best of Talking Heads. "I always wondered what Prince thought of it." The rest of the band also appears in various costumes.

The video is set in a 1960s ambienced cabaret bar, where a frantic series of unannounced performers lip sync to the song, imitating such singers as Madonna and Meat Loaf as disjointed images play across a wall of video screens behind them. Byrne wrote about this scene:

The song itself becomes a vehicle that can say anything they want it to. Some gestures and movements are obviously derived from well-known sources: television shows ... movies ... and, most recently, rock videos. Odd to think that some lip-synchers are imitating characters in videos, who are really musicians imitating other characters.[2]

Actor John Goodman, prior to his fame in the sitcom Roseanne, appeared in both the film and MTV versions of the video. Goodman was also featured on the B-side's "People Like Us", a song that also appeared in the film.

Track listing

7-inch single

1."Wild Wild Life" 
2."People Like Us (Movie Version)"4:23

12-inch single

1."Wild Wild Life (Extended Mix)"5:30
2."Wild Wild Life"3:39
3."People Like Us (Movie Version)"4:23


Chart (1986) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[3] 13
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 [4] 25
UK Singles Chart[5] 43
New Zealand Singles Chart[6] 2
Dutch Singles Chart[7] 42
Irish Singles Chart[8] 9
Swiss Singles Chart[9] 20

Use in media

The song was covered by Wailing Souls for the 1993 movie Cool Runnings.

The song was used in the trailers for Brother Bear,[10] Over the Hedge,[11] and Zookeeper, as well as the beginning of the 2006 animated film Open Season, for which it was included on the film's soundtrack. It was also used in the infamous 2014 film United Passions as well as the aforementioned True Stories.


  1. ^ Tangari, Joe. "Talking Heads - Talking Heads Brick". Pitchfork. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  2. ^ Sytze Steenstra (2010). Song and Circumstance: The Work of David Byrne from Talking Heads to the Present. A&C Black. p. 112. ISBN 9780826441683.
  3. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  4. ^ Billboard Magazine
  5. ^ The Official Charts Company. "UK Albums Chart". Every Hit. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
  6. ^ Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (September 14, 1986). "New Zealand Singles Chart". New Zealand Charts. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
  7. ^ MegaCharts (October 4, 1986). "Dutch Singles Chart". Dutch Charts. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
  8. ^ Irish Recording Music Association (September 7, 1986). "Irish Singles Chart". Irish Charts. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
  9. ^ "Swiss Singles Chart". Swiss Charts. September 28, 1986. Retrieved 2009-07-14.
  10. ^ SaneelGB (2013-01-01), Brother Bear Theatrical Trailer (2003), retrieved 2016-07-14
  11. ^ cineAE (2006-12-08), Over the Hedge Trailer, retrieved 2016-07-14