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October 26, 2016

by Record Facts

Talking Heads were an American rock band formed in 1975 in New York City and active until 1991. The band comprised David Byrne (lead vocals, guitar), Chris Frantz (drums), Tina Weymouth (bass), and Jerry Harrison (keyboards, guitar). Former art school students who became involved in the 1970s New York punk scene, Talking Heads helped to pioneer new wave music by integrating elements of punk, art rock, funk, dance, pop and world music with avant-garde sensibilities and the anxious stage persona of singer Byrne. The group produced several commercial hits and a number of multimedia projects throughout its career, and often collaborated with other artists, such as musician Brian Eno and director Jonathan Demme.













Artist:  Talking Heads
Title:  Stop Making Sense
Year:  1984
Format:  LP
Label:  EMI Records
Catalog# 1C 064-240243-1

Stop Making Sense is a live 1984 album by Talking Heads, the soundtrack to the film of the same name. The original release of the album features only nine of the songs from the movie, many of them heavily edited. The album spent more than two years (118 weeks) on the Billboard 200 chart.

While there’s no debating the importance of Jonathan Demme‘s classic film record of Talking Heads‘ 1983 tour, the soundtrack released in support of it is a thornier matter. Since its release, purists have found Stop Making Sense slickly mixed and, worse yet, incomprehensive. The nine tracks included jumble and truncate the natural progression of frontman David Byrne‘s meticulously arranged stage show. Cries for a double-album treatment — à la 1982’s live opus The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads — were sounded almost immediately; more enterprising fans merely dubbed the VHS release of the film onto cassette tape. So, until a 1999 “special edition” cured the 1984 release’s ills, fans had to make do with the Stop Making Sense they were given — which is, by any account, an exemplary snapshot of a band at the height of its powers. Even with some of his more memorable tics edited out, Byrne is in fine voice here: Never before had he sounded warmer or more approachable, as evidenced by his soaring rendition of “Once in a Lifetime.” Though almost half the album focuses on Speaking in Tongues material, the band makes room for one of Byrne‘s Catherine Wheel tunes (the hard-driving, elliptical “What a Day That Was”) as well as up-tempo versions of “Pyscho Killer” and “Take Me to the River.” If anything, Stop Making Sense‘s emphasis on keyboards and rhythm is its greatest asset as well as its biggest failing: Knob-tweakers Chris Frantz and Jerry Harrison play up their parts at the expense of the treblier aspects of the performance, and fans would have to wait almost 15 years for reparations. Still, for a generation that may have missed the band’s seminal ’70s work, Stop Making Sense proves to be an excellent primer.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 345 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.


Side one
1.  Psycho Killer  (4:28)
2.  Swamp  (3:50)
3.  Slippery People  (3:35)
4.  Burning Down the House  (4:14)
5.  Girlfriend Is Better  (3:32)

Side two
1.  Once in a Lifetime  (4:34)
2.  What a Day That Was  (5:08)
3.  Life During Wartime  (4:52)
4.  Take Me to the River  (5:59)

Read more from Talking Heads

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