Talking Heads: 77 (1977)
- More Songs About Buildings
And Food (1978)
- Fear Of Music (1979)
- The Name Of The Band Is
Talking Heads (1982)
- Speaking In Tongues (1983)
- Stop Making Sense (1984)
- Little Creatures (1985)
- True Stories (1986)
- Naked (1988)
- Sand in the Vaseline
- Once in a Lifetime
- Bridges To Babylon (1997)
of Onda Rock
by Onda Rock
Heads are one the white bands most influenced by the rhythms and
the sounds of the black music. They were born in 1975, when the
drummer Chris Frantz (1951, Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, USA) and the
singer, guitarist and keyboardist David Byrne (1952, Dumbarton,
Scotland) - both former members of The Artistics or The Autistics
- engaged Frantz's girlfriend, Tina Weymouth (1950, Colorado, California,
USA) as bass guitar player. This trio formed the nucleus of the
future Talking Heads debuting the same year in the famous CBGB's
of New York as the
Ramones' supporter band. It was the beginning of the new wave
explosion and the CBGB's became the temple of this genre thanks
to the perfomances of artists such as Patti
and Blondie. Unlike
their companions, Talking Heads showed very soon a peculiar interest
for searching on rhythms and for the ethnic music.
The single "Love Goes To Building
Fire" (1977) was recorded with a new guitarist and keyboardist,
Jerry Harrison (1949, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA) former member of
the Modern Lovers (until 1974) and the Elliott Murphy's band. This
line up supported the
Ramones on their first English tour. Coming back to USA they
released Talking Heads: '77 (September 1977), a bizarre debut
that pointed out two of the main features of the band: the nervous
singing of Byrne and simple songs based on a few, strong chords:
"Uh Oh", "Love Comes To Town", "New Feeling",
"Don't Worry About The Government" but mainly the dark
"Psycho Killer" are the best examples of a new genre,
both irreverent and neurotic.
During the English tour Talking Heads
met Brian Eno who proposed
them to produce their second album, More Songs About Buildings
And Food (July 1978). The work was an interesting synthesis
between the Eno's sounds
experiments and the Byrne's music formula, always involved in Arab
and African rhythms. The brilliant cover of Al Green's "Take
Me To The River" won them the first single on the USA Top 30
and a growing interest by the audience.
Their following album Fear Of Music
(August 1979) is another search on experimental rhythms ("I
Zimbra", "Life During Wartime", "Air",
"Drugs" e "Memories Can't Wait"). The songs
are disarticulated and nervous, many years ahead of their contemporaries.
A style that was destined to become one of the most influent of
During a group's crisis, Byrne
cut a new record (later published on February 1981): the extraordinary
and futuristic My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts (with Brian
Eno), an experiment on rhythms, new electronic music, samplings
and ethnic sounds that anticipated the following Talking Heads's
(October 1980), one of the best works of the American band.
Before cutting it, Byrne and his band recorded some stuff on tape,
than they over-cut the tracks, producing brand new sounds with peculiar
African accents on rhythms.
During the following tour, Talking
Heads hosted some important musicians on stage such as Adrian Belew
(Frank Zappa, David
Crimson), Nona Hendryx (former-Labelle), Bernie Worrell of the
Parliament/Funkadelic and Busta Cherry Jones. The hit single "Once
In A Lifetime" dragged the album to a great success.
the meantime, their label (Sire) published the double live The
Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads (March 1982). In the same
time, the collaboration with Brian
Eno stopped and the band's members started their own parallel
solo careers. Byrne got deep into electronic music, world-music,
visual arts and soundtracks (composing the music for the pièce of
Twyla Tharp "The Catherine Wheel"); Harrison published
the album "The Red And The Black"; Frantz and Weymouth
founded Tom Tom Club, that released two great disco hits such as
"Wordy Rappinghood" and "Genius Of Music".
Heads came back with Speaking In Tongues (June 1983), not
as brilliant as the previous ones but very successful in the States
thanks to the funky-oriented singles "Swamp" and "Burning
Down The House". Their sound got more banal, using extravagances
as a way of communication more than a way of experimenting. And
the band recorded the shocking film-concert Stop Making Sense,
directed by Jonathan Demme. A film that strengthened the international
fame of David Byrne. Stop Making Sense (1984) was partly
reproduced on the homonymous soundtrack that anticipated the success
of the following album, Little Creatures (June 1985). Also
this time they reduced many of their original ambitions but multiply
their earns, thanks to the great single "Road To Nowhere"
and the dragging "And She Was".
On the second half of the Eighties Talking
Heads were one of the most important avant-garde of the new electronic
pop. A role confirmed with the visionary film "True Stories",
directed by David Byrne who also composed the movie's soundtrack.
Two years later the album Naked (March 1988) was published
in Paris and produced by Steve Lillywhite. But it was a new delusion:
nothing more than a continuation of the previous work with no surprises
at all. Rock sounds rule, as the hit singles "Mr. Jones"
and "Blind" confirm.
David Byrne was even more focused
on his solo career, while Jerry Harrison became a successful producer.
So Talking Heads decided to disband after recording their last,
beautiful song: "Sax And Violins" (1991) for the soundtrack
of the movie "Until The End Of The World" directed by
Wim Wenders (also featuring U2
and Peter Gabriel).
The Talking Heads recordings of that session were included (together
with their classic hits) in the double anthology Popular Favorites
1976-1992: Sand In The Vaseline (1992), that ended up their
In 1996 Weymouth, Frantz and Harrison
(without Byrne) tried to unite again and recorded Just Talking
No Heads but it was a flop, while David Byrne went on with his
solo not always brilliant career.