Happy Anniversary: Talking Heads, The Name of This Band is Talking Heads
In an era where any artist can upload a full-length concert to the internet within mere minutes of shouting, “Goodnight, Cleveland, we love you,” the live album has lost a certain amount of its coolness cache, but 32 years ago today, Talking Heads released a document of various performances recorded between 1977 and 1981 which is still judged by many as one of the greatest live albums of all time. (Plus, it confirmed definitively that there is absolutely not a “the” in front of “Talking.”)
When it was originally released in 1982, The Name of This Band is Talking Heads was a 17-track collection spread over the course of two LPs which featured songs performed in locations ranging from New York City’s Central Park to the Sun Plaza Concert Hall in Tokyo, Japan, including such signature songs as “Psycho Killer,” “Life During Wartime,” and their immortal cover of Al Green’s “Take Me to the River.” When the album received a CD reissue in 2004, it was expanded to a staggering 33 tracks, with a few songs turning up twice as a result of including performances from different venues.
Some still swear by Stop Making Sense as the best Talking Heads live album, and that would certainly be their right, since – as Jane’s Addiction once sang – everybody has their own opinion. There was a time, however, when The Name of This Band is Talking Heads had no competition in its field, and if you give it a listen, you’ll hear why many fans have never felt the need to change their original opinion.