For me, the great thing about David Byrne is that he keeps growing and changing. This comes across in this 2022 online interview in Parents magazine. It’s entitled David Byrne is Gloriously Odd: How Family Formed Talking Heads’ Lead Man.
He tells the story of Everybody’s Coming to My House, a song on his 2018 album American Utopia. Byrne wrote as though those folks in his place were a bit of a bother. Yet when he got some Detroit teens to perform it, they had a very different read, the joy of everyone hanging out.
I’ve long stated that one of my two favorite concerts ever was Talking Heads performing at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on August 5, 1983. Later shows in that tour, three nights at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater in December 1983, were turned into Stop Making Sense, the highly regarded 1984 American concert film directed by Jonathan Demme.
I had been a fan of Talking Heads before that. And when the band broke up, I enjoyed many of Byrne’s solo albums as well. But seeing American Utopia, the filmed version of the Broadway production, was a revelation. As he noted in the Parents piece, the plan was to make the difficult look easy.
Also, in 2018, David Byrne teamed up with Choir! Choir! Choir! to cover David Bowie’s Heroes.
This list is vaguely in order towards my favorite, but only the top song is secure.
You and Eye – solo
Marching Through The Wilderness – solo. In a review of Rei Momo by William Ruhlmann: “On his first full-fledged solo album, Byrne indulges his fascination with Latin and South American musical styles, employing a variety of native musicians but mixing up the sounds to suit his own distinctly non-purist vision.”
And She Was – Talking Heads
Take Me To The River – Talking Heads; if I were to do karaoke, it would sound more like David Byrne than Al Green
Slippery People – Talking People; on the Stop Making Sense tour, one of the background singers is Lynn Mabry, who I’ve met. She, among other things, sings backup for Sheila E., as does the niece Rebecca Jade
I Zimbra – Talking Heads, the first song of theirs I loved
Burning Down The House – Talking Heads. Did anyone watching the video believe “I AM AN OR-DIN-AR-Y GUY?”
Life During Wartime – Talking Heads. “This ain’t no party…”
Independence Day – solo
Road To Nowhere – Talking Heads
Lilies Of The Valley – solo
Help Me, Somebody – Bryne and Eno
This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) – this song is tied to a specific time (the 1990s), and place (on the way to Cooperstown), and people
Once in a Lifetime – an obvious choice, I know; how it was made (you can ignore the two-minute ad at the end)