PRINT March 2003


1980: Talking Heads’ Remain in Light

IN THE WINTER OF 1980 Brian Eno went on radio station KPFA in Berkeley, California, and prophesied. He foresaw the advent of “fourth-world music,” he said, music not exactly here (Anglo-American rock) or there (tribal, folkloric, traditional). What he envisioned was an “almost collage music, like grafting a piece of one culture onto a piece of another . . . and trying to make them work as a coherent musical idea, and also trying to make something you can dance to.” Eno had left London two years before. He was living in Lower Manhattan and spending many of his working hours with David Byrne, the leader of Talking Heads, an art-rock band that thought it was a funk band, or vice versa. Eno had produced the Heads’ second album, More Songs About Buildings and Food (1978), and their third, Fear of Music (1979), and was in the midst of recording an album with Byrne alone, an album of experimental

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