Over the weekend the New York Times did a good piece on David Byrne, pointing out the many ways he's still the godfather of indie (Link to story at the end). He may not have the same history or swagger of Lou Reed or Iggy Pop, but, then again, neither did THE Godfather, and there's something to be learned of that. Remember, Vito dies in the garden; Sonny, for all his bada-bing, gets blown to hell at the tollbooth.
The Talking Heads are one of those bands with a deep catalog but only a handful of songs that get played. They're also a band that truly turned their songs into completely different creatures live.
For those looking to get past the greatest hits, "Stop Making Sense" is a good primer But a better album is the two-disc "The Name of This Band is Talking Heads." One disc is from a show in the 70s, the other is from the early 80s. Think about how "Once in a Lifetime" would sound if Phil Spector and Steve Albini got ahold of it and you get an idea of the album. Two clips from it are below.
David Byrne article in the New York Times
The Talking Heads — Crosseyed and Painless (live) (MP3)
The Talking Heads — Cities (live) (MP3)