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David Byrne

David Byrne

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: May 14, 1952 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: United Kingdom Profession: songwriter, arranger, musician, composer, photographer, director, actor, illustrator, producer, author

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of the most eclectic artists to emerge from the American punk scene of the 1970s, David Byrne was the vocalist and chief songwriter for the band Talking Heads, which blended artistic, abstract sensibilities with a dizzying array of musical influences to become one of the most popular bands of the 1980s before Byrne left the group for a solo career in 1991. He captured critical and listener attention with the nervous energy and displaced emotion in songs like "Life During Wartime, "Burning Down the House," "Psycho Killer" and "Girlfriend is Better," which he underscored with his powerhouse vocals and kinetic stage presence. Talking Heads broke onto the Billboard charts with 1980's "Once in a Lifetime," which preceded a handful of Top 40 singles before the band's acrimonious split at the dawn of the new decade. In the years that followed, Byrne pursued a sonically adventurous solo career that veered from records that explored international rhythms to soundtrack work, including the Oscar-winning score for "The Last Emperor" (1987) and his own record label, Luaka Bop, which brought many Third World artists to Western audiences. Throughout it all, Byrne remained one of popular music's most...

One of the most eclectic artists to emerge from the American punk scene of the 1970s, David Byrne was the vocalist and chief songwriter for the band Talking Heads, which blended artistic, abstract sensibilities with a dizzying array of musical influences to become one of the most popular bands of the 1980s before Byrne left the group for a solo career in 1991. He captured critical and listener attention with the nervous energy and displaced emotion in songs like "Life During Wartime, "Burning Down the House," "Psycho Killer" and "Girlfriend is Better," which he underscored with his powerhouse vocals and kinetic stage presence. Talking Heads broke onto the Billboard charts with 1980's "Once in a Lifetime," which preceded a handful of Top 40 singles before the band's acrimonious split at the dawn of the new decade. In the years that followed, Byrne pursued a sonically adventurous solo career that veered from records that explored international rhythms to soundtrack work, including the Oscar-winning score for "The Last Emperor" (1987) and his own record label, Luaka Bop, which brought many Third World artists to Western audiences. Throughout it all, Byrne remained one of popular music's most independent-minded figures, parlaying his own individual fascinations into a career that drew considerable respect from both the critical and listener communities.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Between The Teeth (1994) Director
2.
  April 16th 1989 (1988) Director
3.
  True Stories (1986) 2nd Unit Director (2nd Unit) ("Wild Wild Life" " Love For Sale"); Director
4.
  Red, Hot & Blue (1990) Segment Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Ride, Rise, Roar (2010)
3.
 Beyond Ipanema (2010)
4.
5.
 Celia the Queen (2008)
6.
 Absolute Wilson (2006)
7.
 In the Bathtub of the World (2001) Himself
8.
 Art of Amalia, The (2000) Himself--Introduction
9.
 Between The Teeth (1994) Performer
10.
 Checking Out (1989) Bartender
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1954:
Moved to Canada at age two (date approximate)
1960:
Moved to suburbs of Baltimore (date approximate)
1970:
Met Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth at Rhode Island School of Design
:
Moved to NYC's Lower East Side
1975:
Co-founded rock group Talking Heads with Frantz and Weymouth; made debut at CBGB's supporting The Ramones
1977:
Released first LP, "Talking Heads: 77"
1980:
First Byrne song used in a feature film, "Life During Wartime" in "Times Square"
1981:
Commissioned by Twyla Tharp to compose (with Johnny Pacheco) and perform a score for her 80-minute dance "The Catherine Wheel", presented on Broadway
1981:
Released "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" album with Brian Eno
1984:
With Talking Heads, subject of feature-length concert film "Stop Making Sense", directed by Jonathan Demme; Byrne also designed the stage lighting
1986:
Feature directing and writing (with Beth Henley and Stephen Tobolowsky) debut, "True Stories"; also acted
1987:
TV acting debut in "A Family Tree" (on PBS' "Trying Times"), directed by Demme and written by Henley
1988:
Contributed to Oscar-winning score for Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Last Emperor"
1988:
Last album to date with Talking Heads, "Naked"
1988:
Co-directed (with David Wild) "April 16th 1989", a two minute short
1988:
Founded the record label Luaka Bop (date approximate)
1989:
Directed "Ila Aiye/The House of Life", a documentary about the Candomble Nago religion of Brazil; debuted as the opening program of the PBS TV series "Alive From Off Center"; explored Yoruban dance-music rituals of Brazilians whose ancestors came to South America as slaves
1990:
Sang (and directed segment) Cole Porter's "Don't Fence Me In" for ABC's "Red, Hot & Blue"
1993:
Contributed the song "Heaven" to Demme's "Philadelphia"
1994:
Had three solo shows for his photography in Belgium, The Netherlands and NYC
1994:
Co-directed (with Wild) "Between the Teeth", a concert film of his 10 Car Pile-Up band at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ on Halloween 1992
1995:
Served as executive music producer and song performer for Wayne Wang's "Blue in the Face"
1996:
Dropped lawsuit against Frantz, Weymouth and Jerry Harrison (a later addition to the band), enabling the three (without Byrne) to put out an album as The Heads, backing Deborah Harry, among others
1998:
Recorded new songs with Talking Heads for an anticipated 1999 release
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Education

Rhode Island School of Design: Providence , Rhode Island - 1970 - 1971
Rhode Island School of Design: Providence , Rhode Island - 1970 - 1971
Maryland Institute College of Art: Baltimore , Maryland - 1971 - 1972

Notes

The National Society of Film Critics honored "Stop Making Sense" as the Best Documentary of 1984.

There is a homepage devoted to Byrne at www.talking-heads.net/davidbyrne.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Adelle Lutz. Costume designer, actor. Married on July 18, 1987; sister of the late fashion model Tina Chow.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Thomas Byrne. Electrical engineer.
mother:
Emily Anderson Byrne. Teacher of special education.
daughter:
Malu Valentine Byrne. Born in 1990.

Bibliography close complete biography

"What the Songs Look Like: The Illustrated Talking Heads" (lyrics) Harper & Row
"Occupied Territory" Aperture Foundation
"Strange Ritual: Words and Pictures"
"Your Action World: Winners Are Losers With New Attitudes"
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