30 best live albums countdown: 17 – Stop Making Sense by Talking Heads


#17: Stop Making Sense – Talking Heads (1984)

Stop Making Sense is a live 1984 album by Talking Heads, the soundtrack to the film of the same name. Stop Making Sense spanned three live shows at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles (Dec 1983).

“Stop Making Sense the album” cannot be separated from “Stop Making Sense the movie”, this is a two for one deal. When I write Stop Making Sense I mean them both. I’ve seen Stop Making Sense 4 times in the cinema and countless times on video/dvd/blu-ray. I have the album on vinyl, cd and digital files. When I hear the music I see the movie in my head.

And it’s a great movie!

The beginning is iconic. David Byrne comes shuffling out on an empty stage, starts a cassette-player with a rhythm track and play along with an acoustic guitar as he sings Psycho Killer.

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. In 1999, a 16-track re-release coincided with the concert’s 15th anniversary.

Life During Wartime:

Byrne’s intention was not to make a traditional soundtrack album, but to have it be a separate experience. 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 and captions on the album’s inner sleeve. In 1999 – to correspond with the theatrical re-release of the movie – the album was extended and remastered, restoring all the songs from the movie with only very minor edits. The newly included tracks feature Frantz’s original drumming from the concert recordings.

Stop Making Sense_still

The 1999 version is the one to get, but the fact is that Stop Making Sense, even in its truncated original form, is a testament to one of the most compelling, artful, forward-thinking bands of the post-punk/new wave era in top form.

It is a celebration of music and a great band, and you can dance to it!
Crosseyed and painless:



Stop Making Sense on Spotify:

– Hallgeir

Posts in this series:

18. At Fillmore East by The Allman Brothers Band
19. Live at Carnegie Hall by Bill Withers

20. Live at the Star Club, Hamburg by Jerry Lee Lewis

21. MTV Unplugged Live in New York by Nirvana 

22. Kick Out The Jams by MC5 
23. One night stand! Live at the Harlem Square Clum 1963 by Sam Cooke
24. Live At The Apollo by James Brown
25. The Band of Gypsys – Jimi Hendrix
26. The Köln Concert by Keith Jarret
27. On Stage by Elvis Presley
28. One for the road by The Kinks
29. Waiting for Columbus by Little Feat
30. Wings over America by Wings