Tina Weymouth

Tina Weymouth

Induction Category:
Arts & Humanities

Born: 1950

Inducted: 2018

Tina Weymouth is a composer, producer and musician, is a founding member of two pioneering music groups: the rock group Talking Heads (active January 1975 - December 1991) and the funk hip-hop group Tom Tom Club (active March 1981 – March 2014). Weymouth, the third child or eight, was born at Naval Air Station, Coronado, California, November 22, 1950, to a naturalized French mother and a US Navy fighter pilot.

An early aptitude for the arts led her, at twelve, to study drawing at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC. At thirteen she toured with a Maryland group of English handbell ringers. She met future husband, Kentucky-born Chris Frantz, at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she graduated with a BFA in painting in 1974.

After moving to New York City, Weymouth, a self-taught folk guitarist, was persuaded to join Frantz and fellow musician David Byrne, of Baltimore, as bassist of a rock group they would call Talking Heads. In the summer 1975 the band came to the attention of rock critics among audiences at CBGB on the Bowery. With Weymouth on bass, Frantz on drums, and lead singer Byrne of guitar, the trio found itself adopted by the new “punk” avant-guard revolution that gave us Patti Smith, Ramones, Blondie, and Television. Signed in 1976 to Sire Records, they were later joined by Jerry Harrison on guitar and keyboards.

Weymouth and Frantz were wed in Kentucky in 1977. Rolling Stone declared their 1977 debut album, Talking Heads: 1977, “and absolute triumph” and “one of the definitive records of the decade.”  Together they made three more pioneering rock albums before Byrne and Harrison left in 1981 to pursue solo projects, impelling Weymouth to ask Frantz to join her in a project of their own, an eponymously titled album, Tom Tom Club, that earned them their first gold album following two chart singles, “Wordy Rappinghood” and “Genius of Love.”

The effect of Tom Tom Club’s success was to bring Taking Heads an unexpected boost that brought the quartet together for five more years of concert tours and four more studio albums that earned them gold and platinum sales. Stop Making Sense, a film produced by Talking Heads and directed by Jonathan Demme, documented the final three performances of their last US tour in 1983.

As Tom Tom Club, Weymouth and Frantz have recorded six studio albums and one live. Additionally, the team of Weymouth and Frantz produced two albums for Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers, the first of which won the 1988 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album, as it included the chart-topping R&B hit “Tumblin Down,” a single which heavily sampled Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love.” That song, sample over a hundred times, also fostered hits for Mariah Carey on her 1995 platinum sales album, Fantasy, as well as for Grand Master Flash and The Furious Five’s 1982 cover version, “It’s Nasty (Genius of Love).”

Other productions outside of their own groups include the 1994 album Rei Azucar by the platinum best-selling Argentinean group, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs.  Talking Heads were inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Weymouth is currently in the studio crafting music for the couple’s latest project, an electronic duo dubbed “Chris and Tina,” as Frantz writes a memoir, titled Remain in Love, scheduled for a 2020 release on St. Martin’s Press.

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