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David Byrne

Although best known for his groundbreaking tenure fronting the new wave group Talking Heads, David Byrne also received acclaim for his adventurous solo career, encroaching upon such diverse media as world music, filmmaking, and performance art in the process. Born in Dumbarton, Scotland, on May 14, 1952, Byrne was raised in Baltimore, MD. The son of an electronics engineer, he played guitar in a series of teenage bands before attending the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, where, feeling alienated from the largely upper-class student population, he dropped out after one year. However, he remained in the Providence area, performing solo on a ukulele before forming the Artistics (also known as the Autistics) with fellow students Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth.

After changing the name of the band to Talking Heads and enlisting onetime Modern Lover Jerry Harrison, the group signed to Sire Records. A series of LPs, including the debut Talking Heads '77, 1978's More Songs About Buildings and Food, and 1980's Remain in Light followed, establishing the quartet as one of contemporary music's most visionary talents. During a band sabbatical in 1981, Byrne teamed up with Brian Eno, the producer of much of the Heads' work, for the collaborative effort My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, a complex, evocative album that fused electronic music with Third World percussion and hypnotic vocal effects. That same year, Byrne also began exploring theater with the composition of The Complete Score From the Broadway Production of "The Catherine Wheel," a dance piece choreographed by Twyla Tharp.

Byrne's next solo work appeared in 1985 with The Knee Plays, a New Orleans brass band-influenced project composed for a portion of Robert Wilson's theatrical epic CIVIL warS. In 1986, Byrne wrote, starred in, and directed the feature film True Stories, a series of comic vignettes based on press clippings culled from tabloid publications like the Weekly World News. He also wrote and produced the majority of music for the film's score in addition to performing his usual duties for that year's Talking Heads LP, also named True Stories. In 1988, he wrote the score to the Jonathan Demme comedy Married to the Mob and, in tandem with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Cong Su, won an Academy Award for his musical work on Bernardo Bertolucci's historical epic The Last Emperor.

Also in 1988, Byrne's fascination with world music -- a longtime influence on his herky-jerky performance style as well as Talking Heads' complex polyrhythms -- inspired him to form his own record label, Luaka Bop, to give widespread American release to global music. That same year, the Heads released Naked, their final proper LP, leaving Byrne to give his full attention to solo endeavors. He resurfaced in 1989 with Rei Momo, a song collection inspired by Latin rhythms, and also directed the documentary Ile Aiye (The House of Life), which focused on the rituals of Yoruban dance music. In 1991, he again collaborated with Robert Wilson on The Forest, writing music for a full orchestra.

1992's Uh-Oh marked Byrne's return to more conventional rock performance, a direction he continued with a self-titled album issued in 1994. Feelings, recorded with members of Morcheeba and Devo, followed in 1997. Four years later, Look into the Eyeball was issued on Virgin Records/Luaka Bop and captured Byrne's signature wry humor and musical diversity. In 2003, Byrne's music for the film Young Adam (featuring members of Belle & Sebastian and Mogwai) was released as Lead Us Not into Temptation by Thrill Jockey. Grown Backwards, his first disc for the Nonesuch label, appeared a year later. In 2007, the ever-busy Byrne released a CD/DVD version of The Knee Plays that featured the 12 original tracks along with eight demos and outtakes. Big Love: Hymnal, containing material composed for the HBO series Big Love, appeared in 2008; Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, a collaboration with Brian Eno that took in folk and gospel influences, followed later that year.

David Byrne's next project proved to be another collaborative album, this one created with the assistance of British DJ Fatboy Slim. Released in early 2010, Here Lies Love was a concept album about former First Lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos and her controversial love life. Over 20 guest vocalists appeared on the eclectic record, including Cyndi Lauper, Martha Wainwright, Sharon Jones, and Santigold. Byrne's next big project was another collaboration, this time with St. Vincent's Annie Clark, the Dap-Kings, Antibalas and producer John Congleton. Love This Giant arrived in September 2012. ~ Heather Phares~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Ovum
This Must Be The Place. I LOVE THIS SONG. This is one of my very favorites by David Byrne and The Talking Heads
Sorry,

Rei Momo changed the way I looked at world music. Byrne was no fad. I used to go see the heads at little dumps before anyone was talking about them. They were pushing the limits as youngsters.. . . So fun to watch and hear!!!!
Rei Momo change the way I looked a two
How did I miss Rei Momo when it was new?
Why is it every way bobbonit describes something negatively it describes most of what he listens to.
alexrocks21
@bobonnit has no idea what he's talking about. David Byrne is one of the most talented and diverse musician ever. Talking Heads weren't even an 80's fad because their music never at any point sounded 80's. The music was ahead of its time and seems to have influenced the New York rock scene of the early 2000's heavily and Pixies. David Byrne by himself has done everything from composing scores for movies to rap collaboratio n s to latin dance club music. Truly a talented genius.
Byrne is highly over rated and annoying. He was an 80's fad.
elaine1938
Before I knew who was singing, I thought it was Roy Orbison. Sweet!
Anything by David Byrne is better that all other music
lbjdirect4
GREAT version, more free, love this song, fits my life
NEEDS MORE COWBELL
alexrocks21
David Byrne is fantastic. And yes, the Zappa vibe is cus he was one of Byrne's biggest influences
windows xp
amye45
I love this very happy sad song.
zorkoff
IS IT JUST ME,OR DO YOU FEEL A LITTLE ZAPPA GENUIS GOING ON THERE TOO.
zorkoff
I LOVE THIS VERSION!!!
jeff.andrus7 7
David Byrne is my hero!
Listening to DB after a long break..like hearing again for the first time..genius
keith.cox123
Great live version of a classic song. The original 99% song. They use this as an anthem!
@Scott - this is a bio for David Byrne only, though, not the Talking Heads.
Crazy that this bio leaves out "Fear of Music","Spea k i n g In Tongues" and fails to mention the ground-break i n g "Stop Making Sense" tour which revolutioniz e d rock concert performances - elevating them to an art form! Obviously Mr. Ankeny is not truly a fan... I attended a concert on the SMS tour in 1984 when I was 14 yrs. old and have been disappointed with every rock show since- apart from David Bowie's "Sound and Vision" tour.
rupslauskas
bueno
I'm hooked on Talking Heads. After years and years, they are still my go to music. I buy every one of Davids CDs. But only really like 1 to 3 of the tracks (a lot). Yet it's worth it. I wish the Talking Heads hadn't self destructed. A couple of more albums would have been great. I was waiting for a Brian Eno reunion, but it fell short of my expectations . Still a big David Byrne fan and many of his songs are high on my play list.
What a huge influence on so many artist this guy has had.
atolbert15
loved him in early 80s and still do!
tnt1_0_04
doesn't get any better than this
awesome!
LOVE IT!!!!!
maladicto1
the guy's got some talent
Beautiful!
yes david.... uneeeque :)
this song sucks
stellarviole t
in addition to his musical talents - Catherine Wheel is underappreci a t e d as are many of his post-Heads works - he's also a remarkable graphic artist who made an appearance at the George Eastman House to talk about using MSPowerPoint for his own nefarious purposes...
jen.paint
I love David's music, it impresses me every time I hear it. I have been listening for about 12 years or so!!! I have seem him 3 x's in concert and I will continue to do so! He is truly original.
OMG! so funny! hahaha i love the song like humans do! weird but cool! and u no what is even funnier? he shares my birthday! weird right?
ITS OBVIOUS !!! We all love David Byrne and yes, he is a god. Nothing like getting Byrned !!! Rei Momo is one of his best, Catherine Wheel is pretty damn good too. ENJOY
elvis.alive
I agree with f4faerie and JONZ, I'm like, 14 and I listen to David/Talkin g Heads sometimes more than my other stations.
todacs
Does "canal life" sound like a ff7 song to anyone else? It reminds me of the song that is played every time cloud would start to loose his mind.
I'm young and I love him, too. I listen to my Talking Heads stations as much as anything else.
Hey! Don't stereotype us! I'm young and I love this guy.

Shame Mr. Byrne doesn't want a reunion. I would die to see them live.
And for the more mature pandora users amoung us; if you are interested in a younger artist that stands out from the crowd, as David has always done........ . . t r y the Mountain Goats.
f that, david byrne is awesome...it s just that most of the pandora users are young kids who like britany spears and crap corporate mtv pop music

I am a musician, audio producer, etc, and from an artist, as well as a listeners standpoint, David Byrne is one of the most progressive, revolutionar y artists to have come out of the 70's and 80's electronic rock scene...

hes a god...jsut make a station and listen..you will be blown away
nobody likes him, i guess
1st to leave a comment? Wow. If you for some reason haven't heard of David Byrne, you're in for a rare treat.

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