May 14 ~  Shake Your Rump Look into the Eyeball

"To shake your rump is to be environmentally aware." ~ David Byrne

David Byrne

Big suits, big voice, and a lotta rump shaking, singer/songwriter David Byrne (1952-) was born on this day in Dumbarton, Scotland and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. The versatile artist majored in photography, performance, and video at Rhode Island School of Design.

"Singing is a trick to get people to listen to music for longer than they would ordinarily," he once said.

Once called "The Renaissance Man of Rock" by Time magazine, the eccentric Byrne was best known as the lead singer of the outstandingly creative group Talking Heads (Byrne, bassist Tina Weymouth, her husband Chris Frantz on drums, and Jerry Harrison on keyboards, 1977-1991).

With complex polyrhythms, funk, and joyous music abandon, Talking Heads rose to international fame with such cutting edge hits as Psycho Killer, Burning Down the House, and Road to Nowhere. Many consider their concert film with director Jonathan Demme, Stop Making Sense (1984), a masterpiece.

"You are your Superself," he wrote in Your Action World. "And nothing can stop you now."

In the years since his New Wave band disbanded in 1991, the solo Byrne has formed his own record label, Luaka Bop and explored new world music, film directing, and photography. He won an Oscar in 1991 for the musical score of The Last Emperor.

"It's great to get your head into something else and not eat the same dish every meal of the day," Byrne said. "I could let whatever I was hearing and what I was feeling gestate."

More ROCK & Roll Quotations | Video: Psycho Killer

Robert A. HeinleinGo ahead: shake.