Over Talking Heads
Art school and punk rock truly came head to head when the Talking Heads formed in 1974. Although they sported neither spiked hair nor pinned shirts, they perfectly embodied outsider outlandishness, and their stuttering vocals, choppy rhythms and detached lyrics fit right in at CBGB's. This phase wouldn't last long, however, as David Byrne's smartly subversive songwriting was bound to find an audience bigger than New York's punk rock elite. With Fear Of Music (1979), the band began to radiate a kind of somber power, as they beefed up their previously lean sound with African rhythms. Remain In Light followed in 1980, and remains one of the more striking albums of that decade or any other. The rhythms were meticulous and yet completely driving, while the production was highly experimental with enough conventional flourishes to make "Once In A Lifetime" a radio success. Their blueprint now set, the group became hugely successful over the course of the 1980s, and their 1984 concert film is widely considered one of the best ever made. Their music was so immediate that their world beat-inspired songs still sound unique in whatever context they're heard. The group gave official notice that it was disbanding in 1991, bringing an inevitable close to one of the most creative and experimental commercially successful acts in rock 'n' roll.