Five Must Hear David Byrne Collaborations

Photo: Andreas Laszlo Konrath

Hive Five: Our daily listicle of musical musings

Now that everybody’s gotten an earful of Love This Giant, the David Byrne and St. Vincent collaborative album, Love This Giant, one might begin to wonder – who else has this Byrne guy worked with? Well, besides being the big wheel who steered some band called Talking Heads to alt-rock icon status back in the ‘80s, the ever-eclectic, always-gregarious David Byrne has sidled up to plenty of other artists from all corners of the music world for an intriguing array of collaborations over the years. Some of these pairings are of a relatively recent vintage, while others occurred so long ago Byrne’s hair hadn’t even turned white yet. Here’s the pick of the litter.

1. David Byrne/Brian Eno, “Regiment”

Whether it’s an unspoken artistic kinship or simply their shared status as the most cerebral characters ever to fall even loosely under the “rock star” umbrella, Byrne and Eno have worked closely for decades. Eno started producing the Heads in the ‘70s, and was practically a band member by the time of 1980’s Remain in Light. Byrne and Eno cut an album together as recently as 2008, but their 1981 release, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, is a mind-blowing milestone whose found-sound collages, art-funk grooves, and global gestalt presaged an enormous amount of the innovations to come in electronic/dance music.
2. David Byrne/Richard Thompson, “Psycho Killer”

In 1992, Byrne’s search to find a white guy more uptight than Brian Eno hit paydirt in the personage of British folk-rock guitar hero Richard Thompson. The pair played a one-off acoustic gig together at the Church of St. Ann in Brooklyn, plowing through tunes from their respective songbags alongside cool covers of ‘60s garage rockers like the Sir Douglas Quintet and ? & the Mysterians. But this take on an early Talking Heads gem finds Thompson – whose most recent album at the time coincidentally included a track called “Psycho Street” – contributing the lion’s share of the psychosis via his fiery fretwork.

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