Talking Heads had a glittering career which saw them become a household name all over the globe, re-writing the rule book on what a band can do and conquering just about everything there is to conquer before calling it a day under a cloud of bitterness in 1991. However, for one night in 1999, they would reunite during a show by a Tom Tom Club in a major surprise performance.
Tensions began rising uncontrollably over the final few years of their tenure together, David Byrne allegedly becoming somewhat controlling and a lack of compromise over the creative direction on their 1988 album Naked would end up being the final straw for the band.
However, it wouldn’t be until December of 1991 when the news of their split was finally confirmed. “We were shocked to find out about [Byrne’s departure] via the Los Angeles Times,” Chris Frantz said at the time of the break-up. “As far as we’re concerned, the band never really broke up. David just decided to leave.”
Frantz and Tina Weymouth would carry on making music under their excellent Tom Tom Club project that had formed in 1981. There would then be a Talking Heads reunion, of sorts, that would occur in 1996 but without David Byrne. The other three members released the album No Talking, Just Head under the name of The Heads.
Three years later in 1999, there would finally be a proper Talking Heads reunion with all four original members which would occur when the Tom Tom Club rolled into New York City for a show at the Ritz on July 17th, 1989, to promote their album Boom Boom Chi Boom Boom. The East Coast crowd were blown away with the best kind of shock when David Byrne and Talking Heads guitarist Jerry Harrison joined the band onstage for a few numbers.
Tina Weymouth introduced ‘Psycho Killer’ by revealing: “We wrote this together before we ever had a band when we were art students,” before erupting into the legendary opening bass lines.
This would be the last ever time that Talking Heads would ever perform together in public, with their only other appearance coming at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, which saw them perform ‘Life During Wartime’, ‘Psycho Killer’ and ‘Burning Down the House’.
This 1999 show would end up being a touching moment which saw them put all their bad blood behind them for just one night and provided everyone in that room with a memory that they will no doubt cherish for the rest of their lives.