8. Talking Heads
Years active: 1975 - 1991 (reunited in 2002) Influenced: Orchestral influences in indie rock, world music elements, comoposition style Hometown: New York, New York Jam: "Once In a Lifetime." A slog through David Byrne's underwater world full of unrecognizable memories and places.
As with many former alternative bands that have retrospectively gained an immense level of fame, it is hard to classify the Talking Heads as indie, but it is even harder to imagine the current landscape of music without them. David Byrne's oddball, intelligent songwriting, paired with the art-funk, melodic guitars and twisted pop sound of the band quickly had ears pricking up all over the world. If Byrne was the heart of the strangely intellectual pop-funk the group created though, producer Brian Eno was the brain. He took the many instincts of Byrne—the African and world music elements, the uncomfortable, innovative vocal rhythms—and concisely threaded them into experimental albums that felt dynamic, but organized. The group did release several albums without Eno's oversight, including Speaking in Tongues, Little Creatures and Naked, which proved that though his insight led to a honing of the Talking Head's sound, it wasn't essential. In 1991 the group broke up and David Byrne has since gone on to collaborate with the likes of St. Vincent, the Dirty Projectors, and other younger musicians whose music he has clearly influenced. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential songwriters and musicians of the last few decades.