|1983 - Speaking in Tongues|
'Speaking In Tongues' was released in 1983, after a period in which all band members released solo material. Musically, the band was staying closer to the pop straight-and-narrow then ever before. But on even the most conventional tunes the fills were frequent; instead of short solo lines, there were odd studio sounds - electronic washes, booms, aural whirlpools. This approach was not alien to funk and hip-hop, but the Heads were unusually subtle in its's use.
In fact, all the innovations on SIT were subtle. The meat of the album was real rock & roll, with no apologies or condescension. With all the lights on, Byrne's melodies were sometimes exposed as weak ('Moon Rocks', for example, and the versus of 'Pull Up The Roots'), but most of the material was terrific. Vocally, Byrne had grown remarkably versatile for one of such humble warbling origins. He sang smooth and high on 'Moon Rocks', deep and craggy on 'Swamp'.
Byrne's radio-preacher character from 'Once In A Lifetime' (on Remain In Light) made his come-back in 'Slippery People', were Byrne used this persona to launch a gospel-style call-and-response with a sheepish chorus. On 'Swamp', Byrne's character metamorphosed into a frightening, half-cracked voodoo man. On the tour that followed the album's release, Byrne performed 'Swamp' with madness in his eyes, oozing up and down the stage with one leg dragging behind him.
'Speaking In Tongues' became the first Heads album to sell a million copies in America. The album also includes the first-ever Talking heads lovesong, 'This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)' . The 'Speaking In Tongues-tour' was turned into the film Stop Making Sense by Jonathan Demme.
For the artwork of the sleeve, the band invited artist Robert Rauschenberg to create a record cover. He designed a plastic envelope package with clear discs that could spin around. After the record company Warner Bros. deceided that the special sleeve would raise the price of the album too much, it was released as a limited (but large) edition. The record itself was pressed on clear vinyl. Byrne himself painted a cover for the standard edition.
* Extended versions on the cassette-version of the album. The extended version of 'Making Flippy- Floppy' has an extra verse. In the 90s, a Canadian version of the CD was released with the extended version. The extended versions are also featured on the 2006 Dualdisk re-issues (see "Brick").