Talking Heads “Stop Making Sense”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#400 in the Series and #36 in the Live, Saturday Night Series) is Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense

Yes, you read it correctly. Today marks the 400th entry to “Cool Album of the Day.” Wow, already.  I’d get schmaltzy but I’ll save that for #500.

I try to find something a little special for all the milestone numbers. I think I’ve done a pretty decent job finding one for #400.  I remember Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense being a huge, huge deal when it was released in 1984. The concert form which this was taken was from December 1983.

The main reason that this was hugely talked about was that it accompanied a fantastic film that was directed by Jonathan Demme.  When I do these write-ups I normally feature the original release. I’m making an exception here. I’ve listen the original LP track list, but I’m also tossing in listing from the “Special Edition Soundtrack.” Why, because that listing ties in better with the original concert and the film. These songs need to be listened to in a specific order.  You can’t just slap them on vinyl to make them ‘fit the side.’ David Byrne had a vision here on what he was trying to accomplish. That’s the order in which they should be played.

If you’ve never seen it or don’t remember…. David Byrne begins the show with just his acoustic guitar and his boom box.  This gets him through “Psycho Killer.” Next up, Tina Weymouth joins in with her bass as the two of them deliver us a little piece of “Heaven.” Well, the whole song actually.  Drummer Chris Frantz then sits behind the kit as the three of them play “Thank You For Sending Me An Angle.” Finally, guitarist Jerry Harrison joins in for “Found a Job.”

Besides the opener, those aren’t even three of the most well-known Heads numbers, which probably were why they weren’t on the live single disc album, but in this setting, they are all great tunes.

Now that the band is in place, we start hearing some of what made the Talking Heads a top selling act, “Burning Down the House”, “Life During Wartime”, “Once in a Lifetime.” We even are treated to a nice treat by the Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love.”

Why did David Byrne leave the stage for a song? Well, that’s easy. He had to go put on his big suit!!!!

When he returns we’re treated to goodies like “Girl Friend is Better” and Al Green’s “Take Me to the River.”

Here’s a real treat, I’ve found every sing live video from the original Stop Making Sense motion picture. I’ve include all of them below, in their entirety. You can watch them all.

This was some a great piece of work. A band that truly does to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They’ve been in for ten years now. This album catches them at their peak. They picked a great time to do this project. I hope you listen to some of these great songs.  I listened to all of them again when I put this together, I can tell you that they sound as good as ever. They clearly pass the test of time.


Larry Carta

Track listing

All songs written by David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth except as noted.

Side one

  1. “Psycho Killer” (Byrne, Frantz, Weymouth) – 4:28
  2. “Swamp” – 3:50 (LP) 4:28 (cassette, CD)
  3. “Slippery People” – 3:35 (LP) 4:13 (different mix; cassette, CD)
  4. “Burning Down the House” – 4:14
  5. “Girlfriend Is Better” (Byrne) – 3:32 (LP) 5:07 (cassette, CD)

Side two

  1. “Once in a Lifetime” (Byrne, Brian Eno, Frantz, Harrison, Weymouth) – 4:34 (LP) 5:34 (cassette, CD)
  2. “What a Day That Was” (Byrne) – 5:08 (LP) 6:30 (cassette, CD)
  3. “Life During Wartime” – 4:52 (LP) 5:52 (cassette, CD)
  4. “Take Me to the River” (Al Green, Teenie Hodges) – 5:59

Film/Special New Edition Soundtrack

  1. “Psycho Killer” (Byrne, Frantz, Weymouth) – 4:24
  2. “Heaven” (Byrne, Harrison) – 3:41
  3. “Thank You for Sending Me an Angel” (Byrne) – 2:09
  4. “Found a Job” (Byrne) – 3:15
  5. “Slippery People” – 4:00
  6. “Burning Down the House” – 4:06
  7. “Life During Wartime” – 5:51
  8. “Making Flippy Floppy” – 4:40
  9. “Swamp” – 4:30
  10. “What a Day That Was” (Byrne) – 6:00
  11. “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” – 4:57
  12. “Once in a Lifetime” (Byrne, Eno, Frantz, Harrison, Weymouth) – 5:25
  13. “Genius of Love” (Weymouth, Frantz, Adrian Belew, Steven Stanley) (performed by Tom Tom Club) – 4:30
  14. “Girlfriend Is Better” – 5:06
  15. “Take Me to the River” (Green, Hodges) – 5:32
  16. “Crosseyed and Painless” (Byrne, Eno, Frantz, Harrison, Weymouth) – 6:11


  • David Byrne – guitar, vocals
  • Chris Frantz – drums, vocals
  • Jerry Harrison – guitar, keyboards, vocals
  • Tina Weymouth – bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals

Additional personnel

  • Bernie Worrell – keyboards
  • Alex Weir – guitar, vocals
  • Steve Scales – percussion
  • Ednah Holt – backing vocals
  • Lynn Mabry – backing voc


Posted by Larry Carta


  1. coachmaddog (11 Jun 2011, 8:59)

    I have never understood this band and God, I’ve tried. Saw them at the U of I in about 1980, bought their albums because people said that I should, etc. The lp should be called “Start Making Sense.”

  2. Mark (18 Oct 2011, 19:04)

    This is the album that finally got me into the Heads. Prior to this I heard songs and such, but never really got into them. This one opened the door for me. Great album coupled with a great film,

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