Profile of The Talking Heads

The Talking Heads were an American rock group that got its start in New York City. Their music is familiar with any child of the eighties, with hints of avant-garde pop and world funk. Their lyrics are considered whimsical, and their performances are known for the band’s superior showmanship.

David Byrne graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with fellow alumni Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth. They formed a band in 1974 called “The Artistics.” Tina was the band’s driver, and she was Frantz’ girlfriend. The band didn’t last long and the group took itself to New York City, where Tina picked up the bass.

Their first gig in New York was opening for the Ramones, but they didn’t take the stage as “The Artistics.” They had come up with the name “Talking Heads” after a friend heard the phrase in a TV Guide issue, in reference to camera shots of all content and no action.

Their first album was released in 1977 to moderate success, sparking controversy over the song Psycho Killer, which some took as a reference to Son of Sam.

Talking Heads isn’t a mainstream band in the usual sense, but they are credited as being one of the most influential bands from the punk period. REM and Radiohead have both listed Talking Heads as a significant influence on their respective styles.

The band briefly disbanded in 1991, when David Byrne left to pursue a solo career. They reunited for a time in 1996, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, but Byrne states that bad blood and musical differences keep the band from releasing a new album.