- Was born in Dumbarton, Scotland, but was raised in Baltimore, MD.
- Formed a band called the Artistics with Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth in the early 1970s, and this group eventually evolved into the Talking Heads.
- Made his full-length debut with the band on Talking Heads: 77 (1977), which featured the group's first hit, "Psycho Killer."
- Ventured into composing in the early '80s, creating the scores for Twyla Tharp's dance project The Catherine Wheel and Jonathan Demme's big-screen comedy Married to the Mob (1988).
- Made his directing debut in 1986 with the episodic comedy feature True Stories, which he also starred in and wrote.
- Released his first traditional solo album, Rei Momo, in a joint venture with Sire Records and his own world-music label, Luaka Bop, in 1989.
- Following the Talking Heads' dissolution in 1991, he refused to participate in a reunion five years later. The remaining members rechristened themselves the Heads and recruited guest vocalists for their poorly received 1995 album No Talking Just Head.
- 1987, Oscar — Best Achievement in Music (Original Score): Winner
- 1988, Golden Globe — Best Original Score - Motion Picture: Winner
- 1988, Grammy — Best Album of Original Instrumental Background Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television: Winner
- 2012, David di Donatello Awards — Best Music: Winner
- 2015, Olivier Awards — Outstanding Achievement in Music: Nominee
- 1987, Independent Spirit Awards — Best First Feature: Nominee
- 1989, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Score for a Film: Nominee
- Malu Abeni Valentine Byrne — Daughter
- Cindy Sherman — Significant Other
- Adelle Lutz — Ex-wife
- Attended Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland, United States; attended Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island, United States
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