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Talking Heads

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

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

And they were literally art-school punks. Guitarist/vocalist David Byrne, drummer Chris Frantz, and bassist Tina Weymouthmet at the Rhode Island School of Design in the early '70s; they decided to move to New York in 1974 to concentrate onmaking music. The next year, the band won a spot opening for the Ramones at the seminal New York punk club CBGB. In1976, 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 ofacclaim 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 setof carefully constructed, arty pop songs, distinguished by extensive experimenting with combined acoustic and electronicinstruments, as well as touches of surprisingly credible funk. On their next album, the Eno-produced Fear of Music, TalkingHeads began to rely heavily on their rhythm section, adding flourishes of African-styled polyrhythms. This approach came to afull fruition with 1980's Remain in Light, which was again produced by Eno. Talking Heads added several sidemen, including ahorn 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 inLight, 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 straightforwardpop album Little Creatures in 1985, Byrne directed his first movie, True Stories, the following year; the band's next albumfeatured songs from the film. Two years later, Talking Heads released Naked, which marked a return to their worldbeatexplorations, 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 andWeymouth continued with their side project, Tom Tom Club. In 1991, the band issued an announcement that they had brokenup. Shortly thereafter, Harrison's production took off with successful albums by Live and Crash Test Dummies. In 1996, theoriginal lineup minus Byrne reunited for the album No Talking Just Head; Byrne sued Frantz, Weymouth, and Harrison forattempting to record and perform as Talking Heads, so the trio went by the Heads. In 1999, all four worked together topromote a 15th-anniversary edition of Stop Making Sense, and they also performed at the 2002 induction ceremony for theirentrance 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. « hide

Similar Bands: King Crimson, Tom Tom Club, David Byrne, Gang of Four, Television

LPs
Naked
1988

2.9
122 Votes
True Stories
1986

2.7
121 Votes
Little Creatures
1985

3.3
180 Votes
Speaking in Tongues
1983

3.9
299 Votes
Remain in Light
1980

4.5
1,005 Votes
Fear of Music
1979

4.2
453 Votes
More Songs About Buildings and Food
1978

4.1
363 Votes
Talking Heads: 77
1977

4.1
471 Votes
Live Albums
Stop Making Sense
1984

4.3
166 Votes
The Name of this Band is Talking Heads
1982

4.4
97 Votes
Compilations
The Collection
2007

Bonus Rarities and Outtakes
2006

4
1 Votes
Talking Heads (Brick) [Box Set]
2005

4
1 Votes
The Best of Talking Heads
2004

3.6
36 Votes
Once in a Lifetime [Box Set]
2003

3.5
2 Votes
12 X 12 Original Remixes
1999

Once in a Lifetime - The Best Of...
1992

3.7
10 Votes
Sand in the Vaseline: Popular Favorites
1992

4.2
18 Votes

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