What is a Talking Head when it’s not a Talking Head? It’s fairly common for the lead singer of a band to have a successful solo career (take The Police’s Sting, Commodores’ Lionel Richie and No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani, for example), but you don’t often see all former members of a band scoring success with notable work of their own. As is often the case, however, Talking Heads are an exception to the rule. A run of compelling, inventive Talking Heads solo projects have seen frontman David Byrne, drummer Chris Frantz, bassist Tina Weymouth and keyboardist Jerry Harrison create their own legacies as individuals, on top of a career so great that, as a band, they collectively ended up in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
From wild collaborations to hip-hop landmarks, here’s a look at the essential Talking Heads solo projects.
Though Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth and Jerry Harrison have all had solo stints, lead singer and guitarist David Byrne followed the trend of going from frontman to most successful solo artist outside of the band that made him famous.
Brian Eno collaborations
Even while still a member of Talking Heads, Byrne independently collaborated with Brian Eno – former Roxy Music art-saboteur, a pioneer of ambient music and sampling techniques, as well as producer of Talking Heads’ More Songs About Buildings And Food, Fear Of Music and Remain In Light albums. Byrne and Eno’s 1981 collaboration, My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, was ranked by Pitchfork as the 21st best album of the 80s, though the pair took 27 years to follow it up. Everything That Happens Will Happen Today was released in 2008, after Eno gave Byrne some unfinished songs and asked him to write lyrics for them. Both albums display a desire for experimentation, the first fusing psychedelic rock with African rhythms and early sampling, the second combining electronic and gospel music.