1974 in New York City
- David Byrne (born May 14, 1952 in Dumbarton, Scotland) - Lead vocals, primary songwriter, guitar
- Jerry Harrison (born Jeremiah Griffin Harrison on February 21, 1949 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) - Keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
- Tina Weymouth (born Martina Michèle Weymouth on November 22, 1950 in Coronado, California) - Bass guitar
- Chris Frantz (born Charlton Christopher Frantz on May 8, 1951 in Fort Campbell, Kentucky) - Drums
While students at the Rhode Island School of Design, Byrne, Weymouth and Frantz teamed up to form a band initially called the Artistics, which later evolved into Talking Heads when the trio considered the relevance and versatility of the term as applied to television programming. The group forged an eclectic proto-punk sound that proved to be well-timed and well-received in the fledgling New York punk rock scene. With the addition in 1976 of Harrison, an original member of Jonathan Richman's Modern Lovers, Talking Heads quickly secured a deal with Sire Records on the strength of an enthusiastic following.
From Art Punk to New Wave:
The term punk rock eventually became far more stringent and limiting, but in the beginning in New York a wide variety of musical groups with general leanings toward high art, performance art and poetry found a common home at CBGBs, a nondescript club in the Bowery that would one day become the stuff of legend. Here the Talking Heads embarked upon a journey that would soon find them crossing paths with producer Brian Eno, whose quirks and independent contributions to Roxy Music matched the former group's sensibilities. Experimentation followed as the decade ended and the term new wave began to pick up currency.
Talking Heads, Prototypical Critical Darlings of the '80s:
In spite of its resistance to classification and exploratory forays into world music, the band quickly became an MTV favorite and enjoyed hit singles in the new pop/new wave landscape. Under the increasingly focused and precise leadership of Byrne, the band would stop touring following the popular 1983 release Speaking in Tongues, although several well-received albums would follow throughout the rest of the decade. Although in a much slower fashion, the situation eventually developed into one much like the one that would spell the end for the Police: a growing artistic gap between frontman and bandmates.
Hiatus & Split, Lasting Reunion Unlikely:
After the final Talking Heads album, 1988's Naked, the band embarked upon a largely Byrne-imposed hiatus that did not result in a semi-official breakup until 1991. Harrison, Weymouth and Frantz, while busy with their own endeavors in production and the Tom Tom Club, respectively, seemed to believe the quartet would record together again, even as Byrne's interest in his musical past grew fainter. Out of impatience and frustration to continue, the trio reunited in 1996 as the Heads to write and record No Talking, Just Head with several vocalists revered at the time in alternative rock.
Talking Heads - Hall of Famers Miles Apart:
Although the quartet did successfully reunite for a performance at their 2002 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, a rift has deepened between Byrne and his former bandmates in the subsequent years that makes a full-tilt reunion increasingly unlikely. The four have not found much need or occasion to spend time together since, as Byrne has continued with a singular, often world music-based solo career on a separate plane from the others. Even so, the legacy and influence of Talking Heads continue to loom large in the music world.