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Talking Heads

At the start of their career, Talking Heads were all nervous energy, detached emotion, and subdued minimalism. Whentheyreleased their lastalbum about 12 years later, the band had recorded everything from art-funk to polyrhythmicworldbeatexplorations and simple, melodic guitarpop. Between their first album in 1977 and their last in 1988, Talking Headsbecameone of the most critically acclaimed bands of the '80s,while managing to earn several pop hits. While some of theirmusic canseem too self-consciously experimental, clever, and intellectual for itsown good, at their best Talking Headsrepr ...read more

At the start of their career, Talking Heads were all nervous energy, detached emotion, and subdued minimalism. Whentheyreleased their lastalbum about 12 years later, the band had recorded everything from art-funk to polyrhythmicworldbeatexplorations and simple, melodic guitarpop. Between their first album in 1977 and their last in 1988, Talking Headsbecameone of the most critically acclaimed bands of the '80s,while managing to earn several pop hits. While some of theirmusic canseem too self-consciously experimental, clever, and intellectual for itsown good, at their best Talking Headsrepresenteverything good about art-school punks.

And they were literally art-school punks. Guitarist/vocalist David Byrne, drummer Chris Frantz, and bassist Tina Weymouthmetat the RhodeIsland School of Design in the early '70s; they decided to move to New York in 1974 to concentrate onmakingmusic. The next year, the bandwon a spot opening for the Ramones at the seminal New York punk club CBGB. In1976,keyboardist Jerry Harrison, a former member ofJonathan Richman's Modern Lovers, was added to the lineup. By 1977,theband had signed to Sire Records and released its first album, TalkingHeads: 77. It received a considerable amount ofacclaimfor its stripped-down rock & roll, particularly Byrne's geeky, overly intellectual lyricsand uncomfortable, jerky vocals.

For their next album, 1978's More Songs About Buildings and Food, the band worked with producer Brian Eno, recording asetof carefullyconstructed, arty pop songs, distinguished by extensive experimenting with combined acoustic andelectronicinstruments, as well as touches ofsurprisingly 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 approachcame to afull fruition with 1980's Remain in Light, which was again produced byEno. 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 inTongues,the band hadsevered its ties with Eno; the result was an album that still relied on the rhythmic innovations ofRemain inLight, except within a more rigidpop-song structure. After its release, Talking Heads embarked on another extensivetour,which was captured on the Jonathan Demme-directedconcert film Stop Making Sense. After releasing thestraightforwardpop album Little Creatures in 1985, Byrne directed his first movie, TrueStories, the following year; the band'snext albumfeatured songs from the film. Two years later, Talking Heads released Naked, which markeda return to theirworldbeatexplorations, 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 FrantzandWeymouth continuedwith their side project, Tom Tom Club. In 1991, the band issued an announcement that they hadbrokenup. Shortly thereafter, Harrison'sproduction took off with successful albums by Live and Crash Test Dummies. In 1996,theoriginal lineup minus Byrne reunited for the albumNo Talking Just Head; Byrne sued Frantz, Weymouth, and Harrisonforattempting to record and perform as Talking Heads, so the trio went bythe Heads. In 1999, all four worked togethertopromote a 15th-anniversary edition of Stop Making Sense, and they also performed at the 2002induction ceremony fortheirentrance into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Through the 2010s, Byrne released a number of solo andcollaborativeprojects.Tom Tom Club continued to tour, while Harrison produced albums for the likes of No Doubt, the Von Bondies,andHockey. « hide

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

LPs
Naked
1988

2.9
163 Votes
True Stories
1986

2.7
165 Votes
Little Creatures
1985

3.3
235 Votes
Speaking in Tongues
1983

4
418 Votes
Remain in Light
1980

4.5
1,330 Votes
Fear of Music
1979

4.2
609 Votes
More Songs About Buildings and Food
1978

4
497 Votes
Talking Heads: 77
1977

4.1
619 Votes
Live Albums
Stop Making Sense
1984

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

4.4
119 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
43 Votes
Once in a Lifetime [Box Set]
2003

3.5
3 Votes
12 X 12 Original Remixes
1999

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

3.7
12 Votes
Sand in the Vaseline: Popular Favorites
1992

4.3
23 Votes

Contributors: discovolante, brochenski, TwigTW, turtleflu, rockandmetaljunkie, ThrashingWhiplash, Days of Future Passed, Skyler, Willie, JesusV4, Egglord, The Jungler, Zebra, Med57, adr, Frippertronics, Skyler, taylormemer,

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