Talking Heads were an American rock band, who formed in 1975 in New York. They are comprised of lead vocalist and guitarist David Byrne, bassist Tina Weymouth, drummer Chris Frantz, and keyboardist and guitarist Jerry Harrison. The group is one of the most critically acclaimed live bands of the 1980s. They are known for being pioneers of new wave music, often blending different genres that altered traditional punk rock. This can be heard through their incorporation of a blend of punk, funk, world, and art-rock music. They are also well known for their minimalism, detached emotion, and anxious energy.
Talking Heads released their first album in 1977, titled, “Talking heads: 77”, including popular hits such as “Psycho Killer”. Following their debut album, the group went on to work with producer Brian Eno, on albums such as “More Songs About Buildings and Food”, which had a notably more danceable style. The group then released “Fear of Music” which illustrated an evolution in their sound, with tracks like “I Zimbra” bestowing their experimentation with Afro-beats having been inspired by Fela Kuti.
1980 saw the release of their album, “Remain in Light”, and included hits like “Once in a Lifetime”, which is regarded as one of the best songs of the 1980s. David Byrne said of the song to Time Out: "Most of the words in 'Once in a Lifetime' come from evangelists I recorded off the radio while taking notes and picking up phrases I thought were interesting directions. Maybe I'm fascinated with the middle class because it seems so different from my life, so distant from what I do. I can't imagine living like that."
The band returned from a short hiatus in 1983, releasing the album “Speaking in Tongues”. The album includes timeless tracks such as “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” and “Burning Down the House”, the latter proving to be a huge commercial success and becoming a Top 10 hit in the U.S. The band’s unique visual delivery can be seen in their 1984 film “Stop Making Sense”, which is widely cited as of the greatest concert films of all time and includes iconic aspects of the group’s visual identity, such as Byrne’s famous big suit. The band’s best-selling album was released in 1985, titled “Little Creatures”. Their final album, “Naked”, was released in 1988 before the group eventually disbanded in 1991.
Talking Heads largely remain in the public’s consciousness and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
David Byrne photographed in an Edinburgh hotel whilst Talking Heads were on tour in Scotland in November 1979.
David Byrne and Adrian Belew, Talking Heads photographed by Michael Grecco in Boston, USA in 1981
David Byrne of Talking Heads relaxing at the Da Clelia Restaurant in Rome on the bank of the Tiber river in 1983