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15 Ways Talking Heads’ “Stop Making Sense” Changed Music Forever

An Academy Award-winning director, a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and of course, the big suit. Still not convinced Stop Making Sense is the best live performance captured on film? Here are 15 more reasons this film will continue to stand the test of time.

1. It had the art of momentum.

Starting with simplicity and slowing building momentum, Byrne and co. don’t punch you in the face with a flashy introduction. You’re finessed into one of the greatest concert experiences ever. Kids-take note.

2. It shows a band that was always moving ahead.

We see bands today like Vampire Weekend and Grizzly Bear attempting to push the envelope of modernism in the studio and on stage, but no film shows what it means to truly do this better than Stop Making Sense. A little post-modern and a lot of ingenuity defines what is taking place.

3. But what about the technology?

Groundbreaking. The integration of technology was groundbreaking. Listeners far and wide are still boggled at how exactly so much aural chaos was used to create songs so beautifully. Generations after mimicked how Talking Heads went tech with its music and generations to come will continue to do the same.

4. And what would the ‘90s be without it?

Sure, we probably would still of had Nirvana and Green Day without Stop Making Sense. But what about Third Eye Blind, Sugar Ray, or Fastball? Dare I say the pop rock hooks from these artists infected our ears easier because of the work Talking Heads put in to pave the way? Probably so.

5. And even the ‘00s.

The same could go for bands like Modest Mouse and Death Cab For Cutie in the last decade. We all floated on a little bit easier because the ‘80s were spent burning down the house.

6. And today…

Yes. The influence still reaches today. Have you even heard an Imagine Dragons song?

7. Then there’s the theatrics.

The long, sweeping shots, the border-line outtakes, the pure naturalness of the entire thing — where did this come from?! Not even Prince, or the artist formerly known as, could put together something so fluid.

8. I mean, David Byrne and Jonathan Demme together.

It’s like this potent mixture of live music video meets behind-the-scenes footage meets high-end theatrical performance. It’s a John Cusack and Molly Ringwald cameo away from being the best damn film of the ’80s.

9. Plus, what they did with the crowd.

Did you notice that? There’s virtually no crowd. You’re lifted from your sofa and put front and center. It’s like that tricky Byrne and Demme wanted to have a real-life concert experience from home or something.

10. It made waves for women in rock.

Tina Weymouth is a rock goddess. This master of the four string showed women everywhere what it’s like to play with the boys. Her insatiable playing style made room and infectious harmonies made it a little easier for women like Amanda Palmer and Kim Deal.

11. It made big bands one of the coolest things in live music. Again.

The big band might’ve been dead for few generations but Talking Heads didn’t care. Whether there were 4 or 14 people on stage, there was a jam going on. It made jamming cool again. It made things like Phish, Widespread Panic, and even The Black Crowes way cool.

12. It infused intercultural music.

It showed us that all types of cultures can be thrown into rock and pop music. Bands far and wide, from Cake to The Flaming Lips, took what Talking Heads did with funk, jazz, electronic, and percussion-led rhythms and have been attempting to re-create since.

13. Let’s not forget about rock n’ roll.

We’ve talked jam, indie, experimental, and even a little Sugar Ray, but we can’t forget good ol’ rock ‘n roll music. The sheer ingenuity of the production was not only eye-opening, but it made waves for many in the 30 years to follow.

14. And we can’t, nor will we ever, forget the “big suit.”

Maybe a fashion statement, maybe a work of art, maybe both? However you look at the big suit, just don’t forget how damn cool it was.

15. It was a “Once In a Lifetime” performance.

Now that we know how Stop Making Sense helped shape music for generations to come, go out and celebrate the 30th anniversary of this piece of music history.

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