True Stories (Talking Heads album)

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True Stories
Talking Heads - True Stories.svg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 15, 1986 (1986-09-15)
StudioSigma Sound, New York City; O'Henry Sound, Toluca Lake CA; Studio Southwest, Sunnyvale TX; the Arcadia Theater, Dallas TX [with Omega Audio remote]; mixed at Conway, Hollywood CA
GenreNew wave, pop rock
ProducerTalking Heads
Talking Heads chronology
Little Creatures
True Stories

True Stories is the seventh studio album by American rock band Talking Heads. It was released on September 15, 1986, by Sire Records, around the same time as lead singer David Byrne's film of the same name.

The album does not contain the actors' performances from the film. Instead, this is a Talking Heads studio album featuring recordings of songs from the film. While an intended original cast recording from the film was not released at the time, several of the film performances did appear on single releases of several songs from the album. Later that year, Byrne released the album Sounds from True Stories containing incidental music from the soundtrack. In 2018, a complete film soundtrack album was finally released, combining tracks from the two released albums (though only the three performances by Talking Heads from the first True Stories album that were actually heard in the film were included) and the cast performances heard in the film.[1]

The single "Wild Wild Life" became the big hit from the album, accompanied by its video airplay on MTV. The "Wild Wild Life" video won two MTV Video Music Awards in 1987: "Best Group Video", beating U2 and Crowded House, and "Best Video from a Film". (The video is in fact an extended sequence lifted directly from the film itself). A video for "Love for Sale" was created for use in the film (during a sequence when a woman, played by Swoosie Kurtz, watches the video on TV), and an extended version was later released as a video in its own right.

In 2006, the album was re-released and remastered by Warner Music Group on their Warner Bros./Sire Records/Rhino Records labels in DualDisc format, with three bonus tracks on the CD side (an extended mix of "Wild Wild Life", "Papa Legba" with vocal by Pops Staples, and "Radio Head" with vocals by Tito Larriva). The DVD-Audio side includes both stereo and 5.1 surround high resolution (96 kHz/24bit) mixes, as well as a Dolby Digital version and the videos of "Wild Wild Life" and "Love for Sale". In Europe, it was released as a CD+DVDA two disc set rather than a single DualDisc. The reissue was produced by Andy Zax with Talking Heads.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[2]
Chicago Tribune2/4 stars[3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[4]
The Philadelphia Inquirer3/4 stars[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide2/5 stars[6]
Spin Alternative Record Guide6/10[7]
The Village VoiceB[8]

From contemporary reviews, Ken Tucker of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the album a three out of four stars rating, stating the album was "gently melodic pop, with little of the polyrhythmic aggressiveness that has characterized recent Talking Heads albums."[5] Tucker found that "some of the songs verge on triteness or banality" but "Love for Sale" and "People Like Us" were "beautiful rock music."[5]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by David Byrne.

  1. "Love for Sale" – 4:30
  2. "Puzzlin' Evidence" – 5:23
  3. "Hey Now" – 3:42
  4. "Papa Legba" – 5:54
  5. "Wild Wild Life" – 3:39
  6. "Radio Head" – 3:14
  7. "Dream Operator" – 4:39
  8. "People Like Us" – 4:26
  9. "City of Dreams" – 5:06
  10. "Wild Wild Life" (Extended mix) (CD bonus track) – 5:30
  11. "Papa Legba" (Pops Staples vocal version) (Re-release bonus track) – 5:59
  12. "Radio Head" (Tito Larriva vocal version) (Re-release bonus track) – 3:50

Tracks 11 and 12 appear on the 2006 CD issue only. Of the 9 tracks on the original LP release, "Love for Sale", "Wild Wild Life" and "City of Dreams" are the only recordings that actually appear in the film. On screen, the other songs are performed by the film actors; two of those are included among the bonus tracks of the 2006 reissue. The performance of "Papa Legba" by Pops Staples that was included in 2006 reissue runs a full minute longer than the track included in the "complete soundtrack" version of 2018.

The band Radiohead named themselves after track six, "Radio Head".[9]


Talking Heads[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]


  • Charles Brocco – assistant mixing
  • Paul Christiensen – overdubbing engineer on "Puzzlin' Evidence"
  • Nick del Ray – assistant engineers
  • Mick Guzauski – mixing on "Wild Wild Life"
  • Lee Herschburg – mixing on "People Like Us"
  • Robin Laine – assistant mixing
  • Michael McClain – overdubbing engineer on "Hey Now", "Radio Head", "People Like Us", and "City of Dreams"
  • Tom Nist – assistant mixing
  • Jack Skinner – mastering
  • Eric Thorngren – engineer, mixing, overdubbing
  • Melanie West – assistant engineers
  • Brian Kehew - expanded CD bonus track mixing


Chart (1986/87) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[10] 2
Austria[11] 10
Norway VG-lista Album Chart[12] 13
New Zealand Albums Chart[13] 1
Switzerland Album Chart[14] 11
Sweden Sverigetopplistan[15] 5
UK Albums Chart[16] 7
US Billboard 200[17] 17


Region Certification Certified units/sales
New Zealand (RMNZ)[18] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[19] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[20] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ ""True Stories, A Film by David Byrne: The Complete Soundtrack" Out Now on Todomundo / Nonesuch Records". Nonesuch Records. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  2. ^ Hastings, Michael. "True Stories – Talking Heads". AllMusic. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  3. ^ Kot, Greg (May 6, 1990). "Talking Heads On The Record". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  5. ^ a b c Tucker, Ken (September 26, 1986). "Albums". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. J28. Retrieved May 25, 2020 – via
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). "Talking Heads". Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. p. 394. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert (December 30, 1986). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  9. ^ Staff, Wired. "David Byrne and Thom Yorke on the Real Value of Music".
  10. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 304. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  11. ^ "Discographie Talking Heads". (in Austrian-German). Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  12. ^ "Discography Talking Heads". Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  13. ^ "Discography Talking Heads". Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  14. ^ "Discography Talking Heads". Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  15. ^ "Discography Talking Heads". Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  16. ^ "The Official Charts Company - Talking Heads". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  17. ^ "Talking Heads Chart History: Billboard 200". 2019. Archived from the original on April 4, 2019.
  18. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Talking Heads – True stories". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  19. ^ "British album certifications – Talking heads – True stories". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type True stories in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  20. ^ "American album certifications – Talking Heads – True stories". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.