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Talking Heads

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At the start of their career, Talking Heads were all nervous energy, detached emotion, and subdued minimalism. When they released their last album about 12 years later, the band had recorded everything from art-funk to polyrhythmic worldbeat explorations and simple, melodic guitar pop. Between their first album in 1977 and their last in 1988, Talking Heads became one of the most critically acclaimed bands of the '80s, while managing to earn several pop hits. While some of their music can seem too self-consciously experimental, clever, and intellectual for its own good, at their best Talking Heads represent everything good about art-school punks. And they were literally art-school punks. Guitarist/vocalist David Byrne, drummer Chris Frantz, and bassist Tina Weymouth met at the Rhode Island School of Design in the early '70s; they decided to move to New York in 1974 to concentrate on making music. The next year, the band won a spot opening for the Ramones at the seminal New York punk club CBGB. In 1976, keyboardist Jerry Harrison, a former member of Jonathan Richman's Modern Lovers, was added to the lineup. By 1977, the band had signed to Sire Records and released its first album, Talking Heads: 77. It received a considerable amount of acclaim for its stripped-down rock & roll, particularly Byrne's geeky, overly intellectual lyrics and uncomfortable, jerky vocals. For their next album, 1978's More Songs About Buildings and Food, the band worked with producer Brian Eno, recording a set of carefully constructed, arty pop songs, distinguished by extensive experimenting with combined acoustic and electronic instruments, as well as touches of surprisingly credible funk. On their next album, the Eno-produced Fear of Music, Talking Heads began to rely heavily on their rhythm section, adding flourishes of African-styled polyrhythms. This approach came to a full fruition with 1980's Remain in Light, which was again produced by Eno. Talking Heads added several sidemen, including a horn 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 in Tongues, the band had severed its ties with Eno; the result was an album that still relied on the rhythmic innovations of Remain in Light, except within a more rigid pop-song structure. After its release, Talking Heads embarked on another extensive tour, which was captured on the Jonathan Demme-directed concert film Stop Making Sense. After releasing the straightforward pop album Little Creatures in 1985, Byrne directed his first movie, True Stories, the following year; the band's next album featured songs from the film. Two years later, Talking Heads released Naked, which marked a return to their worldbeat explorations, 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 Frantz and Weymouth continued with their side project, Tom Tom Club. In 1991, the band issued an announcement that they had broken up. Shortly thereafter, Harrison's production took off with successful albums by Live and Crash Test Dummies. In 1996, the original lineup minus Byrne reunited for the album No Talking Just Head; Byrne sued Frantz, Weymouth, and Harrison for attempting to record and perform as Talking Heads, so the trio went by the Heads. In 1999, all four worked together to promote a 15th-anniversary edition of Stop Making Sense, and they also performed at the 2002 induction ceremony for their entrance into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Through the 2010s, Byrne released a number of solo and collaborative projects. Tom Tom Club continued to tour, while Harrison produced albums for the likes of No Doubt, the Von Bondies, and Hockey. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Albums by
Talking Heads

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    28 songs

    On Air

    More Songs About Buildings and Food [DualDisc]

    11 songs

    On Air

    Talking Heads 77

    30 songs

    On Air

    Talking Heads: 77 [DualDisc]

    12 songs

    On Air

    Remain in Light [Bonus Tracks & Interactive Booklet]

    11 songs

    On Air

    More Songs About Buildings and Food

    11 songs

    On Air

    Fear of Music

    68 songs

    On Air

    Once in a Lifetime

    8 songs

    On Air

    Remain in Light

    9 songs

    On Air

    Little Creatures

    9 songs

    On Air

    Speaking in Tongues

    18 songs

    On Air

    Bonus Rarities & Outtakes

    15 songs

    On Air

    Fear of Music [Bonus Tracks & Interactive Booklet]

    12 songs

    On Air

    Little Creatures

    11 songs

    On Air

    Speaking in Tongues [Bonus Tracks]

    12 songs

    On Air

    True Stories

    12 songs

    On Air

    Naked

    2 songs

    On Air

    And She Was

    2 songs

    On Air

    Once in a Lifetime

    2 songs

    On Air

    Burning Down the House

    2 songs

    On Air

    Take Me to the River

    18 songs

    On Air

    The Best of Talking Heads

    33 songs

    On Air

    Popular Favorites 1976-1992: Sand in the Vaseline

    33 songs

    On Air

    The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads [Expanded]

    16 songs

    On Air

    Stop Making Sense [Special Edition]

See All Albums

Top Songs by
Talking Heads

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Once in a Lifetime
  3.   This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)
  4.   Burning Down the House
  5.   Psycho Killer
  6.   And She Was
  7.   Take Me to the River
  8.   Life During Wartime
  9.   Wild Wild Life
  10.   Road to Nowhere
  11.   Crosseyed and Painless
  12.   (Nothing But) Flowers
  13.   Stay Up Late
  14.   Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)
  15.   Girlfriend Is Better
  16.   Heaven
  17.   Cities
  18.   Pulled Up
  19.   Making Flippy Floppy
  20.   City of Dreams
  21.   The Great Curve
  22.   Radio Head
  23.   The Lady Don't Mind
  24.   Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town
  25.   Don't Worry About the Government
  26. See All Songs

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Talking Heads

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See All Stations & Shows

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