Talking Heads

Probably the most self-consciously arty of the 1976 school of bands to rise from New York's Punk scene, Talking Heads managed to achieve considerable commercial success with music that grew more ambitious and challenging through the band's dozen-year recording career, ranging from tightly wound minimalism to expansive Funk to polyrhythmic Worldbeat to catchy Pop-Rock. 

Much of Talking Heads' distinctive sensibility was forged at the Rhode Island School of Design in the early 70s, where singer/guitarist David Byrne, drummer Chris Frantz and bassist Tina Weymouth met as students. The trio subsequently landed in New York in time to become a part of the scene that coalesced around the Bowery club CBGB. With the addition of ex-Modern Lovers keyboardist Jerry Harrison, the band won a deal with Sire Records, establishing itself at the forefront of Rock's cutting edge with the early albums Talking Heads 77 and More Songs About Buildings and Food. The band expanded both its rhythmic palette and instrumental lineup on Fear of Music and Remain In Light, which yielded the hit “Once in a Lifetime.”  

Talking Heads maintained its big-band approach with 1983's Speaking In Tongues and 1984's Jonathan Demme-directed concert film Stop Making Sense, which showcased the expanded group's showmanship and frontman Byrne's unconventional charisma. The subsequent Little Creatures and True Stories (the latter doubled as the soundtrack album to the Byrne-directed feature film of the same name) returned the band to simpler melodic material, while the band's final studio effort, Naked, plunged into widescreen Worldbeat with prominent African influences.

Although Talking Heads officially broke up in 1991, all of its members remained active music-makers. Byrne has maintained a prolific, multi-faceted career as solo artist, musical collaborator, multimedia experimentalist and founder of the eclectic Luaka Bop label. Frantz and Weymouth have continued to record and tour with their band the Tom Tom Club. And Harrison has maintained a long and successful career as a producer. In 1996, Frantz, Weymouth and Harrison reformed briefly as the Heads, and all four members briefly reunited to play three songs at their 2002 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.