THE EARLY YEARS 1974-1977
The original members (Byrne, Frantz, and Weymouth) were all alumni of the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island. Then Byrne and Frantz started a band called "The Artistics" (sometimes pronounced as Autistics) in 1974. At the time At the time Frantz was dating Weymouth and she often provided transportation for the band. The Artistics died down in less than a year and they all moved to New York City and shared a communal loft. Since they were unable to find a bass player in New York City, Frantz encouraged Weymouth to learn how to play bass by listening to Suzi Quatro albums. They played their very first gigs, as "The Talking Heads", opening for the Ramones at CBGB on June 20, 1975.
In an interview later Weymouth was asked why they picked the name "The Talking Heads" and Weymouths' response was "A friend had found the name in the TV Guide, which explained the term used by TV studios to describe a head-and-shoulder shot of a person talking as 'all content, no action.' It fit."
Later in 1975 the band recorded a few singles for CBS records but the band was never signed to the label. They quickly drew a following and were signed to Sire Records in 1977. Their first single "Love → Building on Fire", also known as "Love Goes to Building on Fire", was released in Feburary that year. Later that year in March they added member Jerry Harrison formerly of John Richmans' band The Modern Lovers. Their debut album, The Talking Heads '77 , which did not contain Building on Fire, was released soon after.
It was with their second album release, More Songs about Buildings and Food (1978), that The Talking Heads began their long term collabortaion with producer Brian Eno, who had previously worked with David Bowie. The title of Eno's 1977 song "Kings Lead Hat" is an anagram of the bands name. Eno's unusual style mixed well with the Heads artistic abilities, they where able to expirience through different types of music, from Post-Punk to New Wave to Psychadelic Funk. This album also made the long-term relationship between them and Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas. "Psycho Killer" from their first album was a minor hit but it was the cover of Al Green's "Take me To the River" that broke the Heads into the public, and it landed them their first hit on Billboards Top 30.
The Eno/Talking Heads expirmentation continued in 1979 with their release of Fear of Music, which flirted with darker styles of post-punk rock, mixed with white funkadelia and subliminal references to the geopolitical instability of the late 1970s. The single "Life During Wartime" produced the catchphrase "This ain't no party, this ain't no disco" which referred to Mudd Club and CBGB, two very popular nightclubs at the time.