Talking HeadsOne of the biggest new wave bands to come out of the late 70's and 80's, Talking Heads got their start as an all-American punk band before switching their focus to more funk oriented music with a splash of world music thrown in.
The Heads consisted of four main members:
David Byrne - Lead vocalist, guitars
Jerry Harrison - Guitars, keyboards
Tina Weymouth - Bass
Chris Frantz - Percussion
Other members would join the group on tours and later albums. The band got their start when Byrne, Frantz, and Weymouth met at the Rhode Island School of Design. Byrne and Frantz formed a band called The Artistics in 1974. The trio moved to New York a year later, and Frantz convinced Weymouth, who was his girlfriend at the time, to join the band as a bassist. This was when they changed their name to Talking Heads. In 1977, Jerry Harrison was added to the band and they began work on their first album.
Talking Heads: 77 (1977)
The band's debut album featured a healthy dose of punk music. The album contained the group's first hit, "Psycho Killer."
Highlights from Talking Heads: 77:
Uh Oh, Love Comes to Town
Don't Worry About the Government
More Songs About Buildings and Food (1978)
This was the first of 3 albums that would be produced by the legendary Brian Eno. This album focused much more on funk elements than their last album.
Highlights from More Songs About Buildings and Food:
Thank You For Sending Me an Angel
Found a Job
Take Me to the River
Fear of Music (1979)
Fear of Music was again produced by Brian Eno. On this album, the band's love of African rhythms started to show, especially on the opening track, "I Zimbra." This album also spawned a successful club hit for the band, "Life During Wartime."
Highlights from Fear of Music:
Life During Wartime
Remain in Light (1980)
Remain in Light was the final album to be produced by Brian Eno. The album contains even more elements from funk and world music than the last two albums, and is often considered to be the best album by the band. It also includes one of their most well known songs, "Once in a Lifetime," though at the time it was not a hit. A year after this album was released, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth formed the dance group Tom Tom Club.
Highlights from Remain in Light:
Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)
Once in a Lifetime
The Name of This Band is Talking Heads (1982)
This was the band's first live album. It was later re-released on CD with nearly twice the amount of tracks.
Speaking in Tongues (1983)
Speaking in Tongues was strictly a new wave album. The album is heavily focused on funk and dance music, with the CD and cassette releases featuring extended versions of nearly every song. This album also contained the band's biggest hit in America, "Burning Down the House."
Highlights from Speaking in Tongues:
Burning Down the House
Making Flippy Floppy
This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)
Stop Making Sense (1984)
This was the band's second live album, and was also the soundtrack to their concert film of the same name, directed by Jonathan Demme.
Little Creatures (1985)
After earning themselves a massive hit with "Burning Down the House," the group decided to try and get some more hits on this album. It spawned a couple hits, one of which, "Road to Nowhere," became their biggest hit in the UK.
Highlights from Little Creatures:
And She Was
Road to Nowhere
True Stories (1986)
Yes, that's the actual album cover. Often considered to be the low point of the band's career, True Stories was meant to be a soundtrack album to Byrne's directorial debut of the same name. The difference here is that instead of the characters from the movie singing the songs, Byrne just got the Heads together and re-recorded all of the songs (which he later regretted.) Still, the album did spawn the band a big hit with "Wild, Wild Life."
Highlights from True Stories:
Love for Sale
Wild, Wild Life
The band's final album was sort of a return to the old sound that got the band popular in the first place: well, almost. Instead of experimenting with African elements, this album focuses much more on Latin rhythms.
Highlights from Naked:
(Nothing But) Flowers
Break-Up, "No Talking Just Head," and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The band officially broke up in 1991, after recording a few more songs for an upcoming compilation album. From there, Byrne went on to continue his extensive solo career, while Weymouth and Frantz continued working on Tom Tom Club albums. In 1995, Weymouth, Frantz, and Harrison joined together to attempt to revive the band. They planned to release several albums under the name "The Heads," and they recorded their first album "No Talking, Just Head" without Byrne. This album instead included several guest singers, including Debbie Harry. Byrne was not pleased however, and sued the members. The case was settled out of court, but this was the only album released by The Heads. In 2002, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There, they performed a couple songs together, including "Psycho Killer" and "Burning Down the House." Since then, the band has not reformed and they have no plans to, due to the other members' feelings towards David Byrne. Talking Heads are fondly remembered as some of the most innovative and interesting musicians from the 1980's. Take some time to check out some of these incredible albums by this incredible band.