10 Great Moments From David Byrne's Career

10 Great Moments From David Byrne's Career

david byrne 1989
David Byrne, Brixton Academy, London, 1989 . (Photo by Ian Dickson/Redferns/Getty Images)

If mere mortals were as capable and accomplished as David Byrne then we would most definitely be having this conversation in this galaxy far, far away! 

Byrne first introduced himself to the world in 1975 as the frontman of American new wave pioneers, Talking Heads. Since their disbandment in 1991, he has released a prolific collection of solo albums and works across a range of media including film, photography, opera, fiction, non-fiction and theatre. 

Let’s check out 10 great moments in the career of an artist boasting limitless creativity, and an overwhelming passion to transform the world around him. 


David Byrne made his debut on the big screen in 1986 when he wrote, directed and starred in True Stories. He described the film as ‘… an ode to the extraordinariness of ordinary American life …’, reviewers described it as ‘60 minutes on acid’ – proving that with David Byrne at the helm, even an exploration of the mundane is a potentially mind-bending experience!

To celebrate the anniversary of the film’s release, True Stories, A Film by David Byrne: The Complete Soundtrack on vinyl LP, CD, and digital formats is available here.


Released earlier this year, American Utopia is a celebration of euphoria designed to remind us of all that’s good in the world. The first single, “Everybody’s Coming to My House” was co-written with longtime collaborator and all-round musical superhero, Brian Eno. 

"These songs attempt to describe the world we live in now…and that world, when we look at it, as we live in it, as it impacts on us - immediately commands us to ask ourselves - is there another way? A better way? A different way? …” 

Get Amercian Utopia on CD, vinyl, digital or streaming formats here. 

Listen to the Deluxe version of American Utopia on Spotify, featuring live recordings from the American Utopia tour (one of the best gigs of 2018).


Since the 1990’s, David Byrne’s visual art has been shown in contemporary art galleries and museums around the world. 

In 2006, his sketchbook of tree drawings titled, Arboretum was published, featuring a decade’s worth of “mental maps of imaginary territory” earning him the title of ‘visual philosopher’ in the art community. 


Arboretum david byrne


David Byrne has released an extensive range of experimental collaborations with cutting-edge female artists. One shining example is the brazen album, Love This Giant (2012), written and recorded with St. Vincent. The formidable pair of alt-art-rockers combine dissonant textures and eclectic, juxtaposing, melodic hooks to create an immersive but challenging work unlike anything else in either musician’s prior solo efforts.


In 1974 Byrne moved to New York City with a dream of starting a band. He was joined by friend, Chris Frantz and his girlfriend Tina Weymouth who would become the Talking Heads by 1975. 

The group found themselves at the forefront of the new wave movement that was bubbling up in New York’s underground music scene, setting themselves apart and defining an era with their refined, minimalist sound, slick suits and intellectual overtones.


During his time in Talking Heads, Byrne also took on a number of outside projects. In 1979 he collaborated with Brian Eno on an album titled, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts which attracted considerable critical acclaim due to its early use of analogue sampling and found sounds that would form the basis of modern-day electronica.  

7.    CYCLING 

Motivated by the freedom and exhilaration, David Byrne is an avid cycling enthusiast. In 2008 he designed a series of bicycle parking racks that were later sold as artworks, featuring images corresponding with their locations. He has also written widely on the subject in his 2009 non-fiction book, Bicycle Diaries


david byrne bike racks


In 2003, Byrne set a benchmark for cameos when he guest starred as himself on The Simpsons in an episode titled, ‘Dude, Where’s My Ranch?’ for which he penned and performed the classic number, ‘Everybody Hates Ned Flanders’.


In late 2005, Byrne teamed up with electronic artist, Fatboy Slim to produce, Here Lies Love, a disco opera about the life of Imelda Marcos, the controversial former First Lady of the Philippines. Some music from this piece was debuted at Adelaide Festival of Arts in Australia in February 2006.


Obama was on his way out, Trump was on his way up, and Byrne wanted to alleviate the gloom by collating stories of positive change from around the world. Playing the part of a dapper academic with his sharp grey suit and shock of white hair, David Byrne presenting a slide show of uplifting human stories designed to remind audiences of all the Reasons to be Cheerful. 

With a dedication to making the world a better place at the heart of all of his projects, David Byrne is a rare and true example of the highly evolved. The artist has dedicated his life’s work to looking on the bright side and asking if things can be done differently - for the better of all.

david byrne talking heads
David Byrne, Austin, Texas, 2018 (Photo by Erika Goldring/WireImage/Getty Images)


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