MUSIC: Forward into The Past

David Byrne creates a new sound out of all his old ones

David Byrne is rock's most protean misfit. During the 1980s, when he was the lead singer for Talking Heads, his jittery, paranoid persona was the ideal conduit for songs about psycho killers, information overload and the itchy $ neuroses of ordinary life. Then, on albums such as Remain in Light and Speaking in Tongues, Byrne added African polyrhythms to the Talking Heads' new-wave mix, creating a pancultural groove.

Byrne has directed a film (True Stories), written music for dance (Twyla Tharp's The Catherine Wheel), won an Oscar for a movie sound track (Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor) and appeared on the...

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