3. Talking Heads

Earth shattering skills

For many people this band were their first conscious point of contact with Brian.

From the late 70’s he’d produced Talking Heads albums, including the seminal Fear of Music which includes Life During Wartime a WHQ anthem.

Fear of Music album cover

Also on there were the first rumblings of this collaboration’s soon to come intricate funk fascinations, the outrageous groove – I Zimbra.

The production on Fear of Music was a major step up for the Talking Heads & it is no coincidence, that this took place because they had hooked up with Brian.

The critics loved it & went ballistic, but it was with Remain in Light in 1980, that with Brian’s production guidance, Talking Heads hit the point of superstardom.

As a record it was just so different to anything that had ever gone before…

Remain In Light album cover

Brian was producing like a fiend at this point & took the band into a multilayered world of African beats & stunningly mind blowing intricate funk.

The crazy thing was, he did it all by layering beats & rhythmic patterns in quite simplistic ways, creating grooves that were earth shatteringly complex.

Everyone has heard the album’s biggest smash, Once in a Lifetime & as you listen to it again now, with fresh ears, it’s hard to imagine any way it could be improved upon even now, with all the technology that exists, thirty five whole years since it’s release.

David Byrne from Talking Heads & Brian in the studio

Other tracks like Born under Punches & The Great Curve add to & take this record & Brian’s production of it into hyperspace.

As with so many of the projects Brian has been involved in, he collaborates with the band on the production duties, acting as judge & catalyst, to make the magic happen.

Have a listen to Remain In Light today & you’ll be stunned. When you do, make sure you keep your ears open for Listening Wind, which was apparently, originally a comment on Native American resistance. However, given how appropriate it is to the current state of affairs in Iraq & Afghanistan today, the lyrics are so prophetic, as to be bonafide spooky…


Other collaborations

Brian has also produced many other artists as diverse as Robert Fripp,Grace Jones & Devo…

He produced all of U2’s best albums & more recently the Coldplay bedwetters had their musical credibility restored, by the magical hand of Saint Brian.

So even though you might never have realised it, you probably already dig at least some of Brian’s varied & more widely known work.