The Talking Head's fourth album, Remain in Light, was released on October 8, 1980, making it exactly 30 years old today. I was 11, and I have to confess I was not quite a hip enough eleven-year-old to have picked up the album on the day of release. I became a fan of the band in 1983 after hearing "Burning Down the House" and quickly started exploring their band's back catalog (probably by taking advantage of my Columbia House membership).
Remain In Light, along with the Eno-Byrne collaboration My Life In the Bush of Ghosts and the first Tom Tom Club album, all had a major impact on my evolving taste in music at that time. The sense of adventure, and the combination of playfulness and high-art seriousness of these projects all went a long way toward convincing me that music could be more than whatever happened to be on the radio in the background, but something to be listened to seriously and followed passionately. In that respect, the Talking Heads were probably the first band that I actually became a fan of as opposed to merely making music I happened to like.
Totally by coincidence, I listened to the first Tom Tom Club album on my way to work this morning after having needledropped my LP last night (I had already ripped Remain in Light and My Life In the Bush of Ghosts to my iPod). I have to say, 30 years on, while this music does sound a bit like a time capsule from the early eighties, I believe it holds up as music, art and entertainment remarkably well. In many ways it still sounds more forward-looking, open and even futuristic, than any of the new music I am hearing these days (mainstream or otherwise).