Talking Heads Biography

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Talking HeadsThe Talking Heads was an American rock band that formed in the early 70’s in New York City. Its original line-up was composed of singer and guitarist David Byrne, Jerry Harrison on keyboards and couple Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz on bass and drums, respectively. David Byrne was actually born in Scotland but immigrated with his family to the US when he was young.

The band was formed in 1974 when David Byrne, along with Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, got together as a group that was initially called the Artistics. They changed their name to Talking Heads after a friend suggested it after finding in on the pages of TV Guide. Keyboardist Jerry Harrison joined with the group later on to make it a four-piece band.

The Talking Heads went on to join the bourgeoning punk scene in New York and played mostly 60’s punk cover versions along with some of Byrne’s originals. Their first live debut was opening for the Ramones at the famed CBGB. The band eventually signed with Sire Records in 1977 and came out with their debut album, Talking Heads: 77 soon afterward.

Although the album was met with poor sales overall, it showed the band’s preference for the more experimental elements of the flourishing New York punk rock scene. Their type of experimentation in their music eventually made Talking Heads as one of the first bands ever to be labeled as "New Wave".

After their first album, the Talking Heads began their long term collaboration with another art rock pioneer, Brian Eno, as their producer. Eno virtually became the band’s fifth member as Eno’s unusual musical style mixed well with the band’s experimental sensibilities when it comes to music and together produced songs that helped sparked creative experimentation with the band.

The result was 1978’s More Songs About Buildings and Food, Talking Heads’ second album. The band’s cover for the song "Take Me to the River", first sang by Al Green brought the band into wider public recognition.

Their experimentation with music went on with their succeeding albums such as 1979’s Fear of Music and the 1980’s Remain in Light. The band eventually went into making albums that veered towards world music incorporating African poly rhythms in their songs. Other albums were released until 1991 where the band took an extended hiatus after years of producing albums and going on live tours.

By 1992 talks of break-up had already reached the fans although no official word was ever sent out. By that time, the Talking Heads have shared with the music world their own brand of songs that became highly influential in shaping the musical styles of other bands that came later on. Notable acts such as Radiohead, Phish and the Red Hot Chili Peppers cited the Talking Heads as one of their influences.

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