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Left to right: Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, Jerry Harrison, David Byrne.
"This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no foolin' around"
—Talking Heads, Life During Wartime.
"Singing is a trick to get people to listen to music for longer than they would ordinarily."
Talking Heads was an American rock band formed in 1974 in New York City and active until 1991. The band comprised vocalist/guitarist David Byrne, drummer Chris Frantz, bassist Tina Weymouth (married to Frantz), and guitarist/keyboardist Jerry Harrison. Auxiliary musicians also frequently made appearances in concert and on the group's albums.The new wave musical style of Talking Heads combined elements of punk rock, avant-garde, pop, funk, afrobeat and art rock. Frontman and songwriter David Byrne contributed whimsical, esoteric lyrics to the band's songs, and emphasized their showmanship through various multimedia projects and performances. The band worked with famous Record ProducerBrian Eno on all their albums between 1978-1980, whose influence steered them towards their Signature Style dominated by incredibly dense, hypnotic funk grooves over which Byrne would improvise his vocals. They parted ways with Eno after their masterpiece Remain in Light and continued with a Lighter and Softer sound for the rest of their career, to increasing dissatisfaction from fans and critics. In 1986, they made a movie called True Stories, starring Face of the Band David Byrne as the narrator.In 2002, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Four of the band's albums appeared on Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and the Channel 4 100 Greatest Albums poll listed one album (Fear of Music) at number 76. Their concert film Stop Making Sense is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of the genre.Discography:
Epic Rocking: The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads features the live version of "Born Under Punches" clocking in at 8:25 with the band performing the song and milking every minute for what it's worth. "The Great Curve" and "Houses In Motion" on the same album are both over six minutes and show the best parts of the "Remain In Light" album and the best parts of the band in their prime.
Everyone Went to School Together: Weymouth, Frantz, and Byrne were all students at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and had started another band together (The Artistics) there before moving to New York and (after a little while) becoming Talking Heads.
Fake Guest Star: Bernie Worrell, a funk musician known for his work with Parliament-Funkadelic, was never an official member of the band, but performed with them for virtually their entire existence, and is usually regarded as the de facto fifth member.
Funk: An important influence on their style. To underscore this, the backing musicians who accompany them on their Stop Making Sense album/concert movie are all funk musicians affilliated with Parliament-Funkadelic (except for Alex Weir, who was part of The Brothers Johnson).
In the Style of...: "The Overload" is in the style of Joy Division, but because Talking Heads had never listened to the band, it was based on what the music press wrote about them. Impressively, it's not far-off from how Joy Division actually sounded, although when the Heads finally heard Joy Division they were disappointed — they thought the Manchester band was a lot more conventional than they'd been led to imagine.
Jerk Ass: The other members, notably Tina Weymouth as described below, think David Byrne is one. Byrne thinks the other members have been this to him as well.
Large Ham: Byrne, resulting in such gems as "Don't you miss it! Don't you miss it! Some of you people just about missed it!" and "And you may say to yourself, 'My God, WHAT HAVE I DONE?!?'".
Occidental Otaku: David Byrne's staging for Talking Heads' 1983 tour, as captured in Stop Making Sense, was inspired by Kabuki and Noh theater, including the famous big suit and the stagehands dressed in black visible to the audience.
Self-Deprecation: The name of More Songs About Buildings and Food was the result of writer's block when it came to choosing the title of the album.
Tina Weymouth: When we were making this album [Fear of Music] I remembered this stupid discussion we had about titles for the last album. At that time I said, 'What are we gonna call an album that's just about buildings and food?' And Chris said, 'You call it more songs about buildings and food.'
Shout-Out: A spectacularly obscure one in the video for "Once In A Lifetime" — During his time at the Rhode Island School of Design, David Byrne worked at a "New York System" hot dog stand in Providence. The up-the-arm chopping motion from his weird, twitchy dancing exactly matches the procedure for putting toppings on a row of short, chili-soaked hot dogs.
The fighter planes depicted on Remain in Light's back cover are a reference to Tina Weymouth's Military Brat family background. (The planes in question are Grumman Avengers used by the Navy.)
Spell My NameWithoutA The: There is no "the" in "Talking Heads". Referred to in the title of their live album The Name of This Band is Talking Heads.
Title Only Chorus: "Blind" whose chorus uses the single word title fourteen times each verse.
Tsundere: Tina Weymouth was reportedly obsessed with Byrne in the band's early days (some people have even claimed she was in love with him), and now takes the opportunity to publicly badmouth him every chance she gets.
While all members have their grudges against Byrne, she was the most outspoken about it (being asked why they wouldn't reform, she described Byrne as a man "incapable of returning friendship").
According to Byrne, Tina Weymouth would write scathing letters to him in the 1990's, but then by the end of each letter would ask why he didn't want to work with her or the other members of the band anymore.
Utopia: Deconstructed with "Nothing But Flowers", where the singer is utterly bored by the paradisical garden world he's stuck in.