Speaking in Tongues is the fifth studio album by the band Talking Heads, released in 1983.

The album was a commercial breakthrough that produced the band's first (and only) American Top 10 hit, "Burning Down the House", which was accompanied by a promotional video. The following tour was documented in Jonathan Demme'sStop Making Sense, which generated a live album of the same name. (The concert film and live album's title comes from the repeated phrase "Stop making sense!" during the song "Girlfriend Is Better".) In addition, the album crossed over to the dance charts, peaking at number two for six weeks.[4]

David Byrne designed the cover for the general release of the album. Artist Robert Rauschenberg won a Grammy Awardfor his work on the limited-edition LP version. This album featured a clear vinyl disc in clear plastic packaging along with three clear plastic discs printed with similar collages in three different colors. Original cassette copies of the album have special extended versions of "Making Flippy Floppy", "Girlfriend Is Better", "Slippery People", "I Get Wild/Wild Gravity" and "Moon Rocks".

The album was re-released in February 2006 as a remastered DualDisc. It contains the extended versions of the songs found on the original cassette, and includes two additional tracks ("Two Note Swivel" and an alternate mix of "Burning Down the House"). The DVD-A side includes both stereo and 5.1 surround high resolution (96 kHz/24bit) mixes, as well as a Dolby Digital 5.1 version of the album, a new alternate version of "Burning Down the House" with the emphasis on experimenting the possibilities of surround sound, and videos for "Burning Down the House" and "This Must Be the Place" (videos are two channel Dolby Digital only). 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.

Byrne has said, as a partial explanation of the album's title, "I originally sang nonsense, and uh, made words to fit that. That worked out all right." [5]

In 1989, the album was ranked #54 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 greatest albums of the 1980s".[6] In 2012,Slant Magazine listed the album at #89 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s". [7]


 [hide*1 Track listing

Track listing[edit]Edit

All lyrics written by David Byrne, all music composed by Byrne, Chris FrantzJerry Harrison, and Tina Weymouth.

Side one[edit]Edit

  1. "Burning Down the House" – 4:00
  2. "Making Flippy Floppy" – 4:36
  3. "Girlfriend Is Better" – 4:25
  4. "Slippery People" – 3:30
  5. "I Get Wild/Wild Gravity" – 4:06

Side two[edit]Edit

  1. "Swamp" – 5:09
  2. "Moon Rocks" – 5:04
  3. "Pull Up the Roots" – 5:08
  4. "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" – 4:56

2006 DualDisc reissue[edit]Edit

  1. "Burning Down the House" – 4:01
  2. "Making Flippy Floppy (Extended Version)" – 5:53
  3. "Girlfriend Is Better (Extended Version)" – 5:42
  4. "Slippery People (Extended Version)" – 5:05
  5. "I Get Wild/Wild Gravity (Extended Version)" – 5:16
  6. "Swamp" – 5:12
  7. "Moon Rocks (Extended Version)" – 5:45
  8. "Pull Up the Roots" – 5:09
  9. "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" – 5:03
  10. "Two Note Swivel (Unfinished Outtake)" – 5:51
  11. "Burning Down the House (Alternate Version)" – 5:09


[1]Speaking in Tongues limited edition cover designed by Robert Rauschenberg===Talking Heads[edit]===

Additional musicians[edit]Edit

Recording personnel[edit]Edit

  • John Convertino – assistant engineer
  • Franklin Gibson – assistant overdubbing engineers, mixing
  • Ted Jensen – mastering
  • Butch Jones – engineer
  • Jay Mark – assistant overdubbing engineers, mixing
  • Alex Sadkin – overdubbing engineer, mixing
  • Brian Kehew – 2006 Dual Disc bonus mixes

Chart performance[edit]Edit

Year Chart Position
1983 Billboard 200 15
Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 58

Club Play Singles (All LP Cuts)

UK Albums 21
Year Song Peak
1983 "Burning Down the House" 9
"This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" 62 51

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