1985 Demo Tape

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For the various promotional demo tapes released by TMBG in 1985, see 1985 Promotional Demo Tapes
1985 Demo Tape demo tape cover
1985 Demo Tape
Demo tape by They Might Be Giants
First released July 4, 1985
Release details / collectors: Show | Hide
Tracks 23 Last demo tape 1985 Promo Demo Tape
Label TMB Music Length 39:07 Next demo tape TMBG / Joshua Fried Split Single

Insert for the 1985 Demo Tape
Hello 1993 Re-issue Cover
The re-issued Hello tape

The 1985 Demo Tape is They Might Be Giants' first LP-length release. The tape, which seems to be officially self-titled, was originally distributed by the Johns at TMBG concerts in 1985-86. The material was recorded onto standard store-bought audio cassettes, with black-and-white photocopied inserts. Although it was only a demo tape, the cassette was reviewed[1] by Michael Small in People magazine, giving the band the attention they would need to score a record deal with Bar/None.

Flansburgh described the recording process[2]:

We had jobs, and had been playing out pretty much every weekend from '84 on, so we took the money we earned from shows and dedicated it to acquiring the very cheapest studio time available (often evenings or late nights). But we were also home taping enthusiasts, so we had been recording demos of songs for years, and because we were creating backing rhythm tracks for the show we were kinda half way there if we put demos together in a studio.

We went to a cassette duping place and just made them in batches, and again plowed the money back into the project.

The tape went out of print not long after The Pink Album came out, but was re-released (with two differences—see below) in 1993 as a promotion by the Hello CD Of The Month Club (limited edition of 3,000 copies). If subscribers added $5 to their subscription fee, they would receive a copy of the reissue, which had a glossy color insert and this message on the back:

Hello Recording Club, PO Box 551, Palisades, New York 10694 - 1 year subscription send $41 check or money order (NY residents add 8.25% sales tax) or call 1-800-HELLO-41 for credit cards - For an additional $5 receive this cassette - All proceeds from the sale of this cassette go to the People With Aids Coalition - All songs written by They Might Be Giants, published by They Might Be Giants Music ASCAP, administered by WB Music Corp. - ℗ & © 1985 They Might Be Giants Music. All Rights Reserved. HEL-T

Track listing[edit]

# Title Length  Lyrics Guitar Tab
1 (Put Your Hand Inside The) Puppet Head 2:10


2 When It Rains It Snows 1:18


3 Number Three 1:41


4 Don't Let's Start 1:06  N/A
5 You'll Miss Me 1:53


6 Hope That I Get Old Before I Die 1:12


7 Biggest One 1:23


8 32 Footsteps 1:36


9 Boat Of Car 1:14


10 Cowtown 2:22


11 Chess Piece Face 1:21


12 Rabid Child 1:31


13 Youth Culture Killed My Dog 2:58


14 Alienation's For The Rich 2:25


15 The Day 1:24


16 (She Was A) Hotel Detective 2:19


17 Which Describes How You're Feeling 1:24


18 Toddler Hi-Way 0:25


19 Become A Robot 1:18


20 I'm Def 1:25


21 Hell Hotel 1:54


22 They Might Be Giants 2:59


23 Nothing's Going To Change My Clothes 1:49




  • The 1993 Hello cassette replaces "(Put Your Hand Inside The) Puppet Head" and "I Hope That I Get Old Before I Die (Demo)" with their Pink Album counterparts, although the former is mixed somewhat differently. The reason for the change is uncertain, though John Flansburgh speculates that perhaps the master tape was damaged or the Hello engineers mistook the later recordings for superior mixes.
  • "Hell Hotel" was the only song from this tape that had not been reworked and/or released elsewhere until the 1983 demo version was released as part of Podcast 32A in 2008. It is the only song on the tape that has never been released on another physical format.
  • Interestingly, there are 23 tracks on this demo tape. The number 23 plays an important role for the band. The following is from the liner notes of Then: The Earlier Years, referring to the Boys' second show, the first under their present name, which was on January 23: "In spite of a heavy snow storm, 23 supportive friends came out, and the show was a big success."

Image Galleries[edit]

Original 1985 Demo Tape (Example A)[edit]

Original 1985 Demo Tape (Example B)[edit]

Original 1985 Demo Tape (Example C)[edit]

1985 Demo Tape (Hello 1993 Reissue)[edit]

Promotional & Print Material[edit]