Known mostly for fronting groundbreaking New York City art-rockers Talking Heads, David Byrne—born in Dumbarton, Scotland—has enjoyed an influential, varied career that extends well beyond music. Byrne's road to artistic relevance began with music, s… Read more
Known mostly for fronting groundbreaking New York City art-rockers Talking Heads, David Byrne—born in Dumbarton, Scotland—has enjoyed an influential, varied career that extends well beyond music. Byrne's road to artistic relevance began with music, so we shall begin there. Though he was born in Scotland, he grew up in Abutus, Maryland, a mainly residential area close to Baltimore. Byrne became involved with music at a young age and began learning the violin, the guitar, and the accordion before his 15th birthday. After high school, he attended Rhode Island School of Design, where he formed a group called the Artistics with classmate Chris Frantz. The duo decided to move to New York the next year and quickly started a new project. The group was rounded out by Frantz's girlfriend Tina Weymouth on bass and Jerry Harrison on keyboards. Talking Heads was born.
The group released their first LP, Talking Heads: 77, in 1977 to rave reviews. While it only sold modestly, it set the standard for the group's following work. Over their 17-year career, the group crafted seven more studio LP's, all of which sold over 500,000 copies stateside. Two of those albums, Speaking In Tongues (1983) and Little Creatures (1985), sold over 1 million copies, the latter reaching double-platinum status.
Byrne stayed busy outside of Talking Heads by releasing nine other albums. His first such album, 1981's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, was a successful collaboration with legendary producer and long-time musical partner Brian Eno. As a solo artist, Eno was able to venture into world music and ambient soundscapes in ways he was unable to in Talking Heads. Byrne also formed Luaka Bop Records in the late '80s, a label that is still active today. Luaka Bop specializes in world music, especially the sound of South America. Byrne's label has released albums by artists like Os Mutantes, Los Amigos Invisibles, and Yonlu. He has also been involved in film, photography, and campaigning for Americans to increase their cycling. He toured with Brian Eno in 2008 and continues to play the occasional tour. There are no plans for Talking Heads to regroup.