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Cornershot: A quick history of Talking Heads

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20210723 Turkuaz-0096.jpg (copy)

Talking Heads’ Jerry Harrison onstage in July at FloydFest, performing with onetime Heads’ guitarist Adrian Belew and Turkuaz.

More from my wide musical universe: Talking Heads is one of the coolest bands ever.

First forming as a trio after meeting at Rhode Island School of Design in 1974, David Byrne (guitar, vocals), Chris Frantz (drums) and Tina Weymouth (bass) relocated to the Bowery section of NYC and began gigging at the now legendary punk club CBGB'S in early 1975. Their first show at the club was opening for the Ramones, who along with Television, Patty Smith Group and Blondie played regular gigs there.

Guitarist and keyboardist Jerry Harrison joined Talking Heads the following year, making them a very musical and quirky quartet. The first record released by the Heads was in 1977, entitled "Talking Heads: 1977." This was a very unique album for its time, featuring the legendary single "Psycho Killer," filled with a sparse riffs and rhythm, and manic lyrics delivered in a weird but passionate manner — a style that Byrne personified so brilliantly.

During the next few years, Talking Heads developed a style that mixed punk, early new wave, funk/disco and African music to eclectic new heights. "More Songs About Buildings & Food," "Fear Of Music," "Remain In Light," "Speaking In Tongues," "Stop Making Sense" and "Naked" are all classics!

"Stop Making Sense" is of course the soundtrack of the infamous concert film of the same name, and arguably their most famous work, but the "Remain In Light" album is the one most huge fans of the band cherish the most. Its blend of Afro-funk and adventurous lyricism creates a very addictive sonic atmosphere. Phish covered the entire album at a mid-1990s Halloween show, and most recently Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew (who played guitar with Talking Heads on the 1980 "Remain In Light" tour) joined forces with NYC funk band Turkuaz, playing tracks from that amazing album and other Heads classics at our very own FloydFest and other fests.

I saw the FloydFest performance and was completely blown away! Please buy the 2020 book by Chris Frantz called "Remain In Love." It's an incredible story of the band and the romance of Frantz and bassist Tina Weymouth. And of course, please crank up some Talking Heads!

— George Penn, a reader in the New River Valley


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