Talking Heads’ breakthrough album, ‘Speaking In Tongues,’ turns 40


June 1 marks the 40th anniversary of Talking Heads‘ fifth studio album, Speaking in Tongues, which went on to become a commercial breakthrough for band members David ByrneChris FrantzTina Weymouth and Jerry Harrison. 

The record featured the band’s one and only U.S. top 10 hit, “Burning Down The House” (it peaked at #9), along with future classics “Girlfriend Is Better,” “Swamp,” “Slippery People” and “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody).” 

The album peaked at 15 on the Billboard 200 Album chart, which made it their highest charting record. It was certified Platinum by the RIAA.

Talking Heads’ tour in support of the album was turned into the critically acclaimed concert documentary Stop Making Sense, directed by Jonathan Demme. Released in 1984, it was filmed over three nights at Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre in December 1983.

Considered one of the best concert documentaries, in 2021 Stop Making Sense was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. 

The upcoming 40th anniversary of the documentary is being marked by a new theatrical release, with the studio A24 releasing a newly restored 4K version of the concert film to theaters later this year. In addition, on August 18 a deluxe edition of the soundtrack will be released, containing the complete Stop Making Sense concert, including previously unreleased songs “Cities” and “Big Business/I Zimbra.”

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