Talking Heads

Talking Heads were an extremely influential band that was founded in 1974 in New York City. It’s three founding members David Byrne, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth originally met while attending the Rhode Island School of Design but it wasn’t until they graduated and moved to NYC that the band to be known as Talking Heads took form. They were together hardly a year when they invited a forth person into the mix, guitarist Jerry Harrison. With the inclusion of Jerry they had attained a lineup that would last until the band’s breakup sixteen years later.

When I think of Talking Heads I remember the first time I consciously listened to them. A childhood friend of mine’s parents had recently become divorced. In the breakup his dad moved away and his mom bought a condo with the money from the settlement. It was kind of sad going there because his parents had a really nice thing going, in terms of their house and all that. The condo seemed like a big step down for his mom but she seemed chipper about it, never a frown on her face. She had her own career and her own activities to focus on so her life was moving on. Often times when I’d arrive at his house his mom would let me in and while I was waiting for my buddy to greet me I’d hang out with his mom for a short while. Quite a few times this slightly awkward moment was scored by the Talking Heads being played on her home audio system. It seemed to fit the mood perfectly, in a good way.

Talking Heads left their mark on many facets of the rock world. They were one of the first “alternative” rock groups to truly establish a niche for themselves. Their song writing was completely original, their instruments, vocals and the way they picked and chose from other genres create a situation where on first the listen to a Talking Heads album you can never be quite sure what the next song is going to sound like. I absolutely love David Byrne’s vocals they are my favorite part of the band. It’s crazy too just how strong of an impact they’ve had on future generations of music. A couple of examples, the popular present day band known as Radiohead actually lifted their band name from a Talking Heads song; the hippy band Phish has covered entire Talking Heads albums live, truly a testament to their respect for the band both of these bands are major major bands with huge followings, both considered present day trailblazers at what they do, yet they don’t hesitate to shine the spotlight back on their forefather, Talking Heads.

Talking Heads released eight full length albums while they were together. I gotta say they are pretty consistent although if I were picking up a first one I’d probably go with one if the first five. Or you could also get a greatest hits type deal, those are great starting points to get a feel for a band.

1) Talking Heads: 77 [1977]
2) More Songs About Buildings and Food [1978]
3) Fear of Music [1979]
4) Remain in Light [1980]
5) Speaking in Tongues [1983]
6) Little Creatures [1985]
7) True Stories [1986]
8) Naked [1988]

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