Living To Music – Talking Heads ‘Stop Making Sense’





This Sunday (June 3rd) at 9pm, you’re invited to share a listening session with some likeminded souls, wherever you might be. This can be experienced either alone or communally, and you don’t need to leave the comfort of your own home to participate. Full lowdown here:

Only the 2nd live recording selected for Living To Music (the first being James Brown ‘Live At The Apollo’ last Sept: https://blog.gregwilson.co.uk/2011/08/living-to-music-james-brown-live-at-the-apollo/), ‘Stop Making Sense’ is the soundtrack to a brilliantly original stage performance, which is available on DVD and highly recommended. However, I don’t want to muddy the waters, so let’s keep to audio for now (but give yourselves a treat and check out the video footage at a later time). Certainly one of my favourite live performances – this was a band absolutely at the top of their game, with a frontman who many would say was the coolest dude on the planet back then. David Byrne (vocals / guitar), Jerry Harrison (keyboard / guitar), Tina Weymouth (bass) and Chris Franz (drums), once leading lights of the New Wave, were appealing to an ever growing audience, with their biggest hits still ahead of them.

As if this wasn’t already a powerful enough line-up in its own right, bringing the Funk to the table, the band is gradually supplemented by a trio of serious kick ass black musicians who’d appeared on their previous album ‘Speaking In Tongues’ (1983), namely Alex Weir (guitar), Steve Scales (percussion) and, of course, Parliament / Funkadelic mainman Bernie Worrell (keyboards), as well as one of the sassiest b vox combinations you’re likely to come across, Lynn Mabry and Ednah Holt. The chemistry between the 9 performers is a joy to behold.

The original album release in 1984 only featured 9 tracks, but in 1999, to mark the 15th anniversary, a 16 track version was issued. Feel free to choose between the 2 – I’ll be going for the ‘Special New Edition’.

As many of you will already know, my edit of the opening track, a whole new take on their earliest hit, 1977’s ‘Psycho Killer’, has been a massive tune for me during recent times, plus a number of other DJs, including Andrew Weatherall and Optimo. Hear it here on YouTube:

A second big edit from the album came courtesy of Cosmic Boogie, who squeezed even more juice out of ‘Slippery People’:

Your own thoughts are always welcomed, and, should you join us for Sunday’s session, it’d be great if you could leave a comment here after you’ve listened to the album sharing your impressions – how the music affected you, who you listened to it with, where you were, plus anything else relevant to your own individual / collective experience.

Stop Making Sense Wikipedia:

Living To Music Events Page:

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12 Responses to Living To Music – Talking Heads ‘Stop Making Sense’

  1. cez June 8, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    David Byrne … who is he? he isn’t just a musician, actor, poet, narrator, performer he’s one on his own. entirely unique. fantastic. I’ve never sat and listened to this album always heard it as a whole sound if that makes sense? but to hear it in this detail was something completely different. during once in a lifetime i was literally held suspended by the keyboard high vibrations. almost like a medative stare .. that was a first! as tracey said talking heads are just very very naturally cool with not an mm of trying . i love this band… loved hearing the whole album as i only dip into my favourite these days. when the album finished i felt like id been on a proper night out!

  2. greg wilson June 10, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

    It’s a long time since I listened to the album, as opposed to watching the DVD of ‘Stop Making Sense’, which is one of my favourite live concert films. The audio / visual experience is definitely the full hit, but the audio on its own is still pretty stunning. Talking Heads would enjoy their most commercially successful period after this, but I personally think that ‘Stop Making Sense’ is the high water mark, showing the band at the peak of their powers. A hugely confident and mature performance, whilst retaining the edge that was always their trademark, since their earlier punkier days.

  3. Dan Soulsmith June 13, 2012 at 9:17 am #

    Listened to this album on the bank holiday Sunday in the small hours with Wrighty Paul after we went to Manchester’s Eurocultured street festival.
    I’d only recently listened to the original album for the first time on my mates Dansette. But the 16 track anniversary CD that you sent us was a real trip! I need to see the DVD next!
    I was familiar with most of the tracks, but one tune that I’d not listened to properly before was ‘Heaven’ which just simply blew me away! Stunning! When David sings the words “Heaven” and “Nothing” I get goosebumps!
    The other track I’d not heard before was the last track ‘Crosseyed and Painless’ which hit home personally because for me it is a blend of several I things that I like – a smooth groove intro, progressing into a track with more energy and attitude; a rockier, punkier vibe. However it’s the tempo, more the beat that I could really relate to… essentially a standard Drum & Bass kick and snare pattern with ride and crash cymbals… Live D&B from ’84? But I do like this track as a whole, not just the beat… love the vocals and guitar work throughout!
    We really enjoyed chilling out to this album, it rounded off a mad night out 🙂
    Cheers G!

  4. TC June 23, 2012 at 5:29 am #

    Was feeling really tired for this L2M but decided to go for it anyway and found myself invigorated by it. Some amazingly funky tunes on this album. David Byrne was the “thinking girls totty” back in the day. Ultra cool and out there. I loved him. Great vocals and lyrics. Just an amazing band. Tina Weymouth on bass for me as a budding musician was a true role model. Never needing to be anything other than a top musician. L2M allowed me the space to fully appreciate all the musicianship. The synth work on this album is awesome. Playful and full of emotion. Who says machines don’t have soul. They do with a master at the controls. As for the percussion, holy moly! The live feel totally oozes out of the recording. Its vibrant and right in the pocket. “Same as it ever was”……..

  5. Lou Lou June 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    I didn;t manage to listen to this album at the time and have so far only listened whilst in a car so feel like I haven’t fully emerged myself in it.

    What I can say is that I was surprised that it was a live album. Having heard a number of the tracks previously I was surprised I didn’t know this.

    What an excellant performance. Could really feel the energy and turned it up loud whilst driving along in the sun jiggling my shoulders, I felt the spirit of David running through me!

    I’ll be taking time to listen again without distractions for sure.

    Cheers for keeping the LTMs going G and opening my ears to new listening experiences.

  6. TimmyJC June 23, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    I was about 25 when i first heard “Once in a liftime”
    I can’t remember having heard much else by Talking Heads before then, but was taken by the strange, even slightly alien David Byrne, especialy in that grey suit, which became quite an iconic image of the time
    His energy and the funk in the music kicked it then and for me, still does today
    Side One, with its “Psycho Killer” “Swamp “Slippery People “Burning Down the House”, and one of my fav’s “Girlfriend Is Better is one of the best A sides on any album

    Had not listened to it in a long time, hearing it again was a real treat, and would probably have not happened without living to music

    Thank G

  7. Lec June 25, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    It has taken me nearly a month to respond to this album.
    I was away for last months LTM and listened to the album beforehand, then in the car every day and in the kitchen whilst cooking and whilst chilling.
    I had completely forgotten about a number of tracks on this album.
    I remember watching the video of the concert and loved the huge suit and David Byrne’s manic dancing, (based around expelling devils or evil spirits in various cultures, if I remember rightly?) and LOVED IT!!!!

    There’s only on track i’m not keen on, but the others all make up for it.

    The mad instruments on Home, the drums on burning down the house, the lyrics, his voice, the backing vocals, even the mad version of wordy rocking hood (probably not the title)..

    Loved this blast into my late teenage past…made me wanna drink and dance and open the car and kitchen windows and let everyone join me, so I did.

    Cheers, another brilliant album xxx

  8. phil hongkins June 26, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    Apologies for my late post , bin chokka @ wk n strange shift times to boot . down to business – my intro to TALKIN HEADS came at the PIER wed indie nights , DAVE BOOTH was a real fan and whilst thoughts of mixing in tunes was still not the norm , Dave always managed to drop his tunes in well . once in a life time n psycho killa were the HUGE tunes and as with most of the indie goth anthems they had their own dance moves !! strange to see indies adopt quite funky moves on the dancefloor… subsequent djs DAVE HASLAM , SIMON BARKER, HUGHIE , etc all lavished much love on mr Byrne and his collective, i heard various remixes of these particular tunes in venues such as VENUS n RENAISSANCE, and i recall Roger Sanchez playing a high tempo n very bouncy version of killa @ PROGRESS or HOT TO TROT . so it wasnt only the new wave/indie scene that was drawn to the Heads they went down big style at the most celebrated and prestigious progresive house/dance nights of the 90s n some of the biggest djs on the scene dropped their tunes . nuff sed … PS i cant wait for PARLIAMENT……

  9. Paul Wright July 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    Video footage ere http://vimeo.com/29335996, quite a performance! 😀

  10. dubtrousers July 16, 2012 at 4:54 am #

    Right on!!!! I’ve been a huge fan of the album for years, and as crazy as it sounds, I never saw the film until a few years ago…and i was soooo blown away! A band at the top of their form, and grooving seriously tight. And they really look like they are having a blast which is so refreshing!!

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  1. Talking Heads ‘Psycho Killer’ (greg wilson edit) [Download] | Testspiel.de - July 4, 2012

    […] There’s more info about ‘Stop Making Sense’ on the blog, as this was last month’s featured album: http://www.gregwilson.co.uk/2012/05/living-to-music-talking-heads-stop-making-sense/ […]

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