Talking HeadsSpeaking In Tongues

Label:Sire – 1-23883, Sire – 9 23883-1
Vinyl, LP, Album, Winchester
Genre:Rock, Funk / Soul
Style:New Wave, Pop Rock, Funk


A1Burning Down The House
PercussionSteve Scales
SynthesizerWally Badarou
A2Making Flippy Floppy
GuitarAlex Weir
A3Girlfriend Is Better
SynthesizerBernie Worrell
A4Slippery People
Backing VocalsDolette McDonald, Nona Hendryx
PercussionRaphael Dejesus
SaxophoneRichard Landry
A5I Get Wild / Wild Gravity4:06
GuitarAlex Weir
SynthesizerWally Badarou
B2Moon Rocks
GuitarAlex Weir
PercussionSteve Scales
B3Pull Up The Roots
GuitarAlex Weir
PercussionRaphael Dejesus
B4This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)
PercussionDavid Van Tieghem
SynthesizerWally Badarou

Companies, etc.



Capitol, Winchester pressing variant

Catalog number on inner labels: 1-23883
Catalog number on spine: 9 23883-1

Basic tracks recorded at Blank Tapes, NY.
Final overdubbing and mixing at Compass Point Studios and Sigma Sound, NY.
Mastered at Sterling Sound, NY.
Made in U.S.A.

Includes a custom lyrics inner sleeve.

Some copies are gold foil stamped "Lent for Promotional Use Only..." on the cover.

Runouts are etched except STERLING which is stamped.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode (Text): 0 7599-23883-1
  • Barcode (Scanned): 075992388313
  • Matrix / Runout (Side A runout, variant 1): 1 23883 A WW5 #3 —◁ STERLING
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B runout, variant 1): 1 23883 B WW7 #5 —◁ STERLING
  • Matrix / Runout (Side A runout, variant 2): 1 23883 A WW5 #2 —◁ STERLING
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B runout, variant 2): 1 23883 B WW5 #2· —◁ STERLING
  • Matrix / Runout (Side A runout, variant 3): 1 2 3883 A WW5 · —◁ STERLING
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B runout, variant 3): 12 3883 B WW5 #3 · —◁ STERLING
  • Matrix / Runout (Side A runout, variant 4): 1 2 3883 A WW5 #5 · —◁ STERLING
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B runout, variant 4): 3 23883-WW2 1̶-̶2̶ ̶3̶7̶7̶1̶ ̶B̶ ̶W̶W̶ ̶2̶ · —◁ STERLING
  • Matrix / Runout (Side A runout, variant 5): 1 2 3883 A WW5 · —◁ STERLING
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B runout, variant 5): 12 3883 B WW5 #2 · —◁ STERLING
  • Matrix / Runout (Side A runout, variant 6): 1 2 3883 A WW5 # 5 · —◁ STERLING
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B runout, variant 6): 1̶-̶2̶3̶8̶8̶3̶-̶B-SH2 1̶-̶2̶ 3̶3̶7̶1̶-̶B̶-̶S̶H̶2̶ B- 1̶7̶8̶6̶4̶ -SH2 · —◁ SLM ▲3951-X 1-23883-B- 1-2 1̶-̶2̶3̶7̶7̶1̶ -B-SH2 STERLING

Other Versions (5 of 162)

View All
Title (Format)LabelCat#CountryYear
Speaking In Tongues (LP, Album, Test Pressing, Allied Pressing)Sire, Sire1-23883, 9 23883-1US1982
Recently Edited
Speaking In Tongues (LP, Album)Sire92-3883-1UK & Europe1983
Recently Edited
Speaking In Tongues (LP, Album, Limited Edition, Clear)Sire92-3771-1Europe1983
Recently Edited
Speaking In Tongues (Cassette, Album, Dolby B-type, XDR)Sire, Sire9 23883-4, 4-23883US1983
Recently Edited
Speaking In Tongues (LP, Album, Stereo)SireSRK 23883Italy1983



  • thereadingdisc's avatar
    Does anybody it skips in the first track? I bought the 2013 lp version (us or europe, i don't remember), but three times skips in Burning Down the House. The rest of the songs are perfect. Thanks! (i have an audiotechnica atlp60x)
      A vinyl reissue of the cassette version on 3 sides is long overdue. The cassette versions (and later 2006 cd / dvd) have longer versions of many songs, some with an extra verse; most running at least a minute to two minutes longer. This has become my preferred way to listen to the album. I suspect the songs were originally shortened to fit on a single vinyl, as it wouldn't fill a double.
      • souphenr's avatar
        Absolutely love this album :3! Earlier I had the 2013 reissue of speaking in tongues and it sounded absolutely awful. A few months ago I got this pressing and it sounds perfect!
        • WurIitzer's avatar
          Are there any vinyl pressings that use the full length versions found on CD/cass?
          • J.M.MMUSIC55's avatar
            BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE. One of the best talking Head songs
            • mhrobbins25's avatar
              Grabbed a clean copy in great condition (OG inner, clean jacket, etc.) for about $26 which I felt was a steal, and my god this is the only way you should be listening to this album. This pressing is on FIRE. How they got something so punchy, and spacious on only two sides of one disc is absolute wizardry. My mind was blown listening to this properly after only hearing this album through FLAC and MP3 previously. I’ve listened to this three times today and I feel that I still want more. I haven’t heard the rhino reissue of this but considering you can snag a very good looking copy for only ~$5 more don’t even bother with the reissue.
              • J-Keller's avatar
                Picked up a clean used copy, gave it a wet clean, and I’m completely impressed with how freaking good it sounds! With vintage copies currently in the $25-$30 range, grab one while you can! This press sounds incredible.
                • Pierre-Estienne's avatar
                  Why isn't Bernie Worrell credited here? I'm sure he was playing keyboards on this album.
                  • granorob1's avatar
                    A two-LP set with the full "extended" versions of the songs would be a nice addition to the catalog.
                    • streetmouse's avatar
                      Edited 4 years ago
                      There’s much to say about Speaking In Tongues, an album that evolved and had been refined from the Talking Heads’ beginnings, a step away from the burned out new wave synth machine, and more toward the avant garde aspects David Byrne was so inspired by. David went on to say, “We felt it was possible to work within a kind of pop song format and kind of do what you wanted as long as you stayed within that format. And having a love of pop music, we felt that occasionally something we did kind of by accident would connect to a larger public and other things would not.”

                      Of course all that was true for the moment, as in the near future, Byrne would go on to break up the band, shrug his avant garde sensibilities and step through the door of world music, which was a mistake of the highest magnitude, ‘less of course you’re a fan of that early Sunday morning style of public radio music that’s played in the background, requiring no thought, no inspiration and no exploration of the conceptual nature.

                      With a heavy R&B vibe that was laced with soul overtones, the album opens with the hit single “Burning Down The House,” a visual as well as a musical manifestation, all due to the expanded lineup of session players who would eventually work their way into live shows in a very bouncy Funkadelic (ah-la Parliament) manner, which would increase the sonic nature of the entire album, filling it with unexpected grooves and a presentation that at the time was impossible to ignore.

                      That being said, it’s easy to hear the control Byrne was taking, secreting himself away with producer Brian Eno, to the point where the other band members felt marginalized and leading to the attributes that would become the Tom Tom Club. All and all the album is very frank in its nature, filled with an air of cool detachment, yet in the same breath, it was experimental and joyous with deeply consider lyrics, especially if one hovers over the number “This Must Be The Place,” which turns out to be perhaps one of the most pointed, if not pained visions of relationships in the modern age.

                      There was something about Speaking In Tongues that made it absolutely undefinable, especially when one considers the iconic translucent album and cover artist Robert Rauschenberg was charged with creating, one that came with a hefty price tag for listeners (though I never manage to get one of the 1000 deluxe editions signed by both Rauschenberg and Byrne), serious frustration with opening the package without breaking it, supporting the nature of the record with the attitude that the music existed beyond space, that it merely needed to be held to be appreciated.

                      At the same time, the album is deep, evolving, charming, goofy, new age, and heavily reliant on aspects of American blues and R&B singles from the mid 60’s. Speaking In Tongues was a deeply crafted affair, and while the songs were great at the time, very few of them have been able to hold up of the years for me. The record is a sort of encrypted message in a bottle that I continually return to, attempting to sort it all out, make sense of it, compartmentalize it, yet all and all, it eludes me, relegating me to hearing it as a cohesive unit, where the lyrics and the music meld together as one, nearly indistinguishable from each other. Though … that relationship I talked about earlier on the song “This Must Be The Place”? Perhaps that relationship regarded not an actual interpersonal relationship between two individuals, or even that of David Byrne and the other band members, but rather the relationship the Talking Heads had with their fans.

                      Regardless, it’s a not to be missed lively affair.

                      *** The Fun Facts: Regarding the album title, a person who has what is known as “the gift of tongues” or the ability to speak in tongues, often unbeknownst to them and unrecognizable to others, usually occurs in the midst of religious ecstasy, trance, or delirium. Experts call this phenomenon glossolalia, a Greek compound of the words glossa, meaning “tongue” or “language,” and lalein, meaning “to talk.”

                      As to the song "This Must Be The Place," the song's title was taken from the 1965 print by Roy Lichtenstein by the same name, currently housed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

                      Review by Jenell Kesler


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