Stream Talking Heads’ Previously Unreleased ‘Stop Making Sense’ Performance Of ‘Cities’

The concert film Stop Making Sense returns to theaters and will be reissued as a deluxe edition live album.

By Andy Kahn Jul 7, 2023 7:04 am PDT

Talking Heads‘ acclaimed concert film directed by Jonathan Demme, Stop Making Sense, will make its previously announced return to theaters later this year in recognition of the 40th anniversary of its release. Rhino will also issue a deluxe edition of the Stop Making Sense live album featuring the complete concert for the first time, including a performance of “Cities.”

The newly restored 4K version of Stop Making Sense will screen in theaters globally later this year. The Stop Making Sense deluxe edition soundtrack album will arrive on August 18 and also includes the previously unreleased “Big Business / I Zimbra,” along with “Cities,” which previously only appeared on the original 1999 VHS/DVD release.


The live album and concert film was recorded by Demme over three shows held in December 1983 at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. Talking Heads members David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz and Jerry Harrison contributed essays for the album’s liner notes.

“We had done a live album before this, but coupled with the film, and with the improved mixes and sound quality, this record reached a whole new audience,” Byrne recalled. “As often happens, the songs got an added energy when we performed them live and were inspired by having an audience. In many ways, these versions are more exciting than the studio recordings, so maybe that’s why a lot of folks discovered us via this record.”

“…Jonathan was a very enthusiastic, highly adaptive, and imaginative guy who was just as good a listener as he was a talker and collaborator,” Weymouth wrote. “From the get-go you just got the impression he was as flexible as he was disciplined. Being team players, that boded well for a great relationship and a great film!”

“To me, Stop Making Sense has remained relevant because the staging and lighting techniques could have been created in a much earlier time period,” Harrison stated. “For example, Vari-Lights, lights with motors to re-aim them, had just come into vogue. Had we used them, there would have been a timestamp on the film, and it eventually would have felt dated … The absence of interviews, combined with the elegant and timeless lighting, created a film that can be watched over and over.”

“I’m talking about real, conscious, transcendent joy,” Frantz wrote. “I’m talking about what the Southern gospel people call ‘getting happy,’ which means ‘to be filled with the Spirit.’ That is what happened to us onstage every night, and from my seat behind the drums, I recognized that this was happening to the audience too. Joy was visible in front of me and all around me every night.”

Along with Byrne (guitar), Weymouth (bass), Frantz (drums) and Harrison (keyboards), the band was rounded out by keyboardist Bernie Worrell, percussionist Steve Scales, guitarist Alex Weir, and backing vocalists Lynn Mabry and Ednah Holt.

Stop Making Sense returns to theaters later this year. Stream the previously unreleased “Cities,” and watch the new Stop Making Sense trailer, below:



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