Stop Making Sense (album)

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Stop Making Sense
Stop Making Sense - Talking Heads.jpg
Live album by
ReleasedSeptember 1984 (1984-09)
RecordedDecember 1983 (1983-12)
VenueThe Pantages Theatre, Hollywood
GenreNew wave, post-punk
Length39:37 (LP)
46:29 (CD/Cassette)
74:16 ('Special New Edition' CD)
LabelSire/Warner Bros.
ProducerTalking Heads, Gary Goetzman
Talking Heads chronology
Speaking in Tongues
Stop Making Sense
Little Creatures
Singles from Stop Making Sense
  1. "Once in a Lifetime"
    Released: February 1984
  2. "Slippery People"
    Released: October 1984
  3. "Girlfriend Is Better"
    Released: December 1984

Stop Making Sense is a live 1984 album by Talking Heads, the soundtrack to the film of the same name. The original release features nine of the tracks from the movie, albeit with treatment and editing. The album spent over two years on the Billboard 200 chart.

Limited pressings of the original LP version featured a full-color picture book wrapped around the album jacket; regular versions had many of the pictures (printed in black and white) and captions on the album's inner sleeve. The CD release of the album includes the full-color book, though rearranges the layout to conform to the dimensions of a square CD booklet (compared to the vertically-oriented rectangular shape of the LP book). In 1999, a 16-track re-release—with content and sound closely matching those of the movie—coincided with the 15th anniversary of the concert filming.

The album was ranked number 345 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[1] In 2012 Slant Magazine listed the album at #61 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".[2]

Background and recording[edit]

Frantz stated in the liner notes of Once in a Lifetime: The Best of Talking Heads, "When ["Slippery People"] was originally recorded on Speaking in Tongues, it had a funky and compact sound. This Stop Making Sense version is funky and big as a house. (Or should I say church?)"


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[3]
The Austin Chronicle4.5/5 stars[4]
Chicago Tribune3.5/4 stars[5]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[6]
Q5/5 stars[7]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[8]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide2.5/5 stars[9]
Spin Alternative Record Guide7/10[10]
The Village VoiceB+[11]

"A bona fide classic," opined Neil Jeffries in a five-star review of the reissue for Empire, "a perfectly measured snapshot of a widely loved and respected band playing at the height of their powers ... No other band could do this. No other music movie soundtrack sounds this good."[12] "A timely reminder of the achievements of perhaps the most underrated band of the post-punk age," concurred Q. "From its stripped-down intro ... to the nine-piece finale, Stop Making Sense remains heady, stirring stuff."[13]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth except as noted.[14]

Side one[edit]

  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[edit]

  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) – 6:00

Film/Special New Edition Soundtrack[edit]

Bonus live tracks "Heaven" and "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" were available as B-sides on various US 7" and UK 12" singles during the album's original release. These versions were released on the Special 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


Additional personnel[edit]




Year Chart Position
1984–1985 Billboard 200 41/53
UK Albums Chart 37/24
Australian Albums Chart[15] 9/77

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1985) Position
Australian Album Chart (Kent Music Report)[15] 10

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[16] 3× Platinum 250,000^
Germany (BVMI)[17] Gold 250,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[18] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[19] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[20] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Hastings, Michael. "Stop Making Sense – Talking Heads". AllMusic. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  4. ^ Moser, Margaret (December 31, 1999). "Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense (Sire/Warner Bros.)". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  5. ^ Kot, Greg (May 6, 1990). "Talking Heads On The Record". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  7. ^ "Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense". Q (157): 144. October 1999.
  8. ^ Connelly, Christopher (November 8, 1984). "Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on July 24, 2001. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  9. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Talking Heads". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 802–03. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  10. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. p. 394. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert (October 30, 1984). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  12. ^ Empire October 1999
  13. ^ Q January 2000
  14. ^ Talking Heads. Stop Making Sense (Sire Records, 1984).
  15. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  16. ^ Barker, Glenn A. (15 November 1986). "Majors (Australia Spotlight)". Billboard. p. A-10. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  17. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Talking Heads; 'Stop making sense')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  18. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Talking Heads – Stop making sense". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  19. ^ "British album certifications – Talking Heads – Stop making sense". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Stop making sense in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  20. ^ "American album certifications – Talking Heads – Stop making sense". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.