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Talking Heads

At the start of their career, Talking Heads were all nervous energy, detached emotion, and subdued minimalism. When they released their last album about 12 years later, the band had recorded everything from art-funk to polyrhythmic worldbeat explorations and simple, melodic guitar pop. Between their first album in 1977 and their last in 1988, Talking Heads became one of the most critically acclaimed bands of the '80s, while managing to earn several pop hits. While some of their music can seem too self-consciously experimental, clever, and intellectual for its own good, at their best Talking Heads represent everything good about art-school punks.

And they were literally art-school punks. Guitarist/vocalist David Byrne, drummer Chris Frantz, and bassist Tina Weymouth met at the Rhode Island School of Design in the early '70s; they decided to move to New York in 1974 to concentrate on making music. The next year, the band won a spot opening for the Ramones at the seminal New York punk club CBGB. In 1976, keyboardist Jerry Harrison, a former member of Jonathan Richman's Modern Lovers, was added to the lineup. By 1977, the band had signed to Sire Records and released its first album, Talking Heads: 77. It received a considerable amount of acclaim for its stripped-down rock & roll, particularly Byrne's geeky, overly intellectual lyrics and uncomfortable, jerky vocals.

For their next album, 1978's More Songs About Buildings and Food, the band worked with producer Brian Eno, recording a set of carefully constructed, arty pop songs, distinguished by extensive experimenting with combined acoustic and electronic instruments, as well as touches of surprisingly credible funk. On their next album, the Eno-produced Fear of Music, Talking Heads began to rely heavily on their rhythm section, adding flourishes of African-styled polyrhythms. This approach came to a full fruition with 1980's Remain in Light, which was again produced by Eno. Talking Heads added several sidemen, including a horn section, leaving them free to explore their dense amalgam of African percussion, funk bass and keyboards, pop songs, and electronics.

After a long tour, the band concentrated on solo projects for a couple of years. By the time of 1983's Speaking in Tongues, the band had severed its ties with Eno; the result was an album that still relied on the rhythmic innovations of Remain in Light, except within a more rigid pop-song structure. After its release, Talking Heads embarked on another extensive tour, which was captured on the Jonathan Demme-directed concert film Stop Making Sense. After releasing the straightforward pop album Little Creatures in 1985, Byrne directed his first movie, True Stories, the following year; the band's next album featured songs from the film. Two years later, Talking Heads released Naked, which marked a return to their worldbeat explorations, although it sometimes suffered from Byrne's lyrical pretensions.

After its release, Talking Heads were put on "hiatus"; Byrne pursued some solo projects, as did Harrison, and Frantz and Weymouth continued with their side project, Tom Tom Club. In 1991, the band issued an announcement that they had broken up. Shortly thereafter, Harrison's production took off with successful albums by Live and Crash Test Dummies. In 1996, the original lineup minus Byrne reunited for the album No Talking Just Head; Byrne sued Frantz, Weymouth, and Harrison for attempting to record and perform as Talking Heads, so the trio went by the Heads. In 1999, all four worked together to promote a 15th-anniversary edition of Stop Making Sense, and they also performed at the 2002 induction ceremony for their entrance into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Through the 2010s, Byrne released a number of solo and collaborative projects. Tom Tom Club continued to tour, while Harrison produced albums for the likes of No Doubt, the Von Bondies, and Hockey. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Best Of Talking Heads

1. Love - Building On Fire

2. Psycho Killer

3. Uh-Oh, Love Comes To Town

4. Take Me To The River

5. Found A Job

6. Life During Wartime

7. Heaven

8. Memories Can't Wait

9. Once In A Lifetime

10. Houses In Motion

11. This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)

12. Girlfriend Is Better

13. Burning Down The House

14. Road To Nowhere

15. And She Was

16. Wild Wild Life

17. Blind

18. (Nothing But) Flowers

x

Track List: The Best Of- Once In A Lifetime

1. Psycho Killer

2. Take Me To The River

3. Once In A Lifetime

4. Burning Down The House

5. This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)

6. Slippery People (Live)

7. Life During Wartime (Live)

8. And She Was

9. Road To Nowhere

10. Wild Wild Life

11. Blind

12. (Nothing But) Flowers

13. Sax And Violins

14. Lifetime Piling Up

x

Track List: Sand In The Vaseline: Popular Favorites (1976-1983)

Disc 1

1. Sugar On My Tongue

2. I Want To Live

3. Love - Building On Fire

4. I Wish You Wouldn't Say That

5. Psycho Killer

6. Don't Worry About The Government

7. No Compassion

8. Warning Sign

9. The Big Country

10. Take Me To The River

11. Heaven

12. Memories Can't Wait

13. I Zimbra

14. Once In A Lifetime

15. Crosseyed And Painless

16. Burning Down The House

17. Swamp

18. This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)

Disc 2
x

Track List: Naked

1. Blind

2. Mr. Jones

3. Totally Nude

4. Ruby Dear

6. The Democratic Circus

7. The Facts Of Life

8. Mommy Daddy You And I

9. Big Daddy

10. Bill

11. Cool Water

x

Track List: True Stories

1. Love For Sale

2. Puzzlin' Evidence

3. Hey Now

4. Papa Legba

5. Wild Wild Life

6. Radio Head

7. Dream Operator

8. People Like Us

9. City Of Dreams

10. Wild Wild Life (Extended Mix)

x

Track List: Little Creatures

1. And She Was

2. Give Me Back My Name

3. Creatures Of Love

4. The Lady Don't Mind

5. Perfect World

6. Stay Up Late

7. Walk It Down

8. Television Man

9. Road To Nowhere

x

Track List: Stop Making Sense (Special New Edition) (Live)

1. Psycho Killer (Live 1984)

2. Heaven (Live 1984)

3. Thank You For Sending Me An Angel (Live 1984)

4. Found A Job (Live 1984)

5. Slippery People (Live 1984)

6. Burning Down The House (Live 1984)

7. Life During Wartime (Live 1984)

8. Making Flippy Floppy (Live 1984)

9. Swamp (Live 1984)

10. What A Day That Was (Live 1984)

11. This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) (Live 1984)

12. Once In A Lifetime (Live 1984)

13. Genius Of Love (Tom Tom Club) (Live 1984)

14. Girlfriend Is Better (Live 1984)

15. Take Me To The River (Live 1984)

16. Crosseyed And Painless (Live 1984)

x

Track List: Speaking In Tongues

1. Burning Down The House

2. Making Flippy Floppy

3. Girlfriend Is Better

4. Slippery People

5. I Get Wild / Wild Gravity

6. Swamp

7. Moon Rocks

8. Pull Up The Roots

9. This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)

x

Track List: Remain In Light

1. Born Under Punches

2. Crosseyed And Painless

3. The Great Curve

4. Once In A Lifetime

5. Houses In Motion

6. Seen And Not Seen

7. Listening Wind

8. The Overload

x

Track List: Fear Of Music

1. I Zimbra

2. Mind

3. Paper

4. Cities

5. Life During Wartime

6. Memories Can't Wait

7. Air

8. Heaven

9. Animals

10. Electric Guitar

11. Drugs

x

Track List: More Songs About Buildings and Food

1. Thank You For Sending Me An Angel

2. With Our Love

3. The Good Thing

4. Warning Sign

5. The Girls Want To Be With The Girls

6. Found A Job

7. Artists Only

8. I'm Not In Love

9. Stay Hungry

10. Take Me To The River

11. The Big Country

x

Track List: Talking Heads: 77

1. Uh-Oh, Love Comes To Town

2. New Feeling

3. Tentative Decisions

4. Happy Day

5. Who Is It?

6. No Compassion

7. The Book I Read

8. Don't Worry About The Government

9. First Week/Last Week...Carefree

10. Psycho Killer

11. Pulled Up

x

Track List: Talking Heads 77 (Remastered)

1. Uh-Oh, Love Comes To Town

2. New Feeling

3. Tentative Decisions

4. Happy Day

5. Who Is It?

6. No Compassion

7. The Book I Read

8. Don't Worry About The Government

9. First Week / Last Week.... Carefree

10. Psycho Killer

11. Pulled Up

12. Love - Building On Fire

13. I Wish You Wouldn't Say That

14. Psycho Killer (Acoustic)

15. I Feel It In My Heart

16. Sugar On My Tongue

Comments

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alexandraabe l l a 1 7
❤❤❤❤❤
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Fear of music, in my opinion is one of their best albums!
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And.......I was????????X X X X X O O O O
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One of my faves. Perfect for Bowie radio.
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reverenddave y
Why no mention of Bernie worrel in the bio? He was instrumental (no pun intended) in the making of their sound..
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Nice.
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I like this radio
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dick4694
late to this party, however, if you ever had the great experience of attending a Talking Heads concert, it is something you can never forget! Best one I ever went to, and in the '80s i did not miss many....live d in Saratoga Springs, NY....where many new artists were discovered
Report as inappropriate
I'm surprised there was no mention of David Byrne going on to flex his musical muscle as the music director for the hit Nickelodeon cartoon Rugrats.
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Hot tub time machine John cusack!!!!
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Do they have a voice,words, u n d e r s t a n d i n g ?
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How do I get my face profile picture here? I'am learning this.
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Mr.ToddAWell s listening,ap e a k i n g .
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A different art style of singing voice,music.
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Eat s**t and die you deformed no accounts
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nr298
once upon my life.
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nr298
l buhk9o,kj,.. , o n k l o p k g k g k g o p g , h k o n p , j k b , n o m k n ; j l k m . k k l u y m . m n p k l . n j p ; p j ; . j i m k
Report as inappropriate
amye45
David Spade, whut?
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Love you David Byrne! And the rest of The Talking Heads! <3
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RIP DAVID BOWIE
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david bowie rip you were in a class of your own..if they ever made a movie for him david spade could pull it off if he was taller
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R.I.P. - David Bowie 1947-2016
Report as inappropriate
kharmatose
Also, I resent the author of the bio. The writer has NOT walked in the shoes of the artist! Yet the air of the piece is to tell us what the band was about. Unless the author was a band member , the bio was simply insulting to all of us. Fire the pretentious nitwit!!
Report as inappropriate
kharmatose
without eno's influence, after remain in light,, simply they blow boring chunks. I have seen them live in every stage of their career, I know this to be true.
Report as inappropriate
Fear of Music, Remain in Light, and Speaking in Tongues. An incredible trio of albums
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Remain In Light. their best album and their peak of perfection, Born Under Punches, Crosseyed And Painless, Iconic Legendary
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Great
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from my town Providence, RI They were innovators and wish they had never broken up or at least get back together for a small tour
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I only know this song from the Simpsons episode where Homer kills all of the celebrities
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great 80, band
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Iggy & Belinda, sitting in some pee, grinning with glee...
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mail19204
Wow great song
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Good Song
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Love this song
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Love talkig heads ... wooooo
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audra7145
Lol
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Niceee
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Love this song, Hot tub time machine such a funny movie 80's woohoo!!!!!!
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Iggy Pop really does masturbate with a little persuasion.
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Same as it ever was! I love the Talking Heads!
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We're a bunch of TALKING HEADS
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I know I might feel the Byrne on this one, but you missed a lot. This is a disappointin g overview of an exceptional band.
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COOL STORY !!! freshmen year of trade of trade school !!! first day !! our filthy; bus fleet mechanic was standing in for a driver... chuck; whats up-chuck ??? } showed up with his own personal bus decked out with stereo gear from radio hack !!! my first morning in he showed up this song was playing !!! FOND MEMORIES OF BLUE HILLS REGIONAL VOCATIONAL TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL !! CLASS OF 87 !!! FONDLY DUBBED; THE BLUE ZOO !!! AND THAT IT WAS; A, FRIGGIN, ZOO !!!
Report as inappropriate
By the way, Kib, I don't think of Talking Heads as a punk band - but they certainly had enough energy for that. What about Dead Kennedys, or X?
Report as inappropriate
It's true, Philip - I don't see anything minimal about their tunes, and yes, they're certainly cynical, too!
Oh, and yes, they ARE irresistible , definitely.
Report as inappropriate
philippepelu s o
subdued minimalism? Irresistible cynicism, rather!
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markhall87
what, no songs about trunks and seagulls
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BURNING DOWN DE HOUSE!!!!!!!
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Awesome band.Me and my mom love their songs!
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I knew back in 78 that they would be something special after seeing them open for the Good Rats!
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