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Talking Heads Box "Lifetime"

Three-CD, one-DVD set due this fall

September 8, 2003 12:00 AM ET

The Talking Heads will release Once in a Lifetime, a fifty-four-track career-spanning box set, on November 11th. The three discs feature album tracks and previously unreleased material, as well as an expanded DVD version of the band's 1988 video anthology Storytelling Giant.

Among the rarities is an early take of "Sugar on My Tongue," recorded in sessions before the band was completely formed. "It was before Jerry [keyboardist Harrison] joined," says drummer Chris Frantz. "A young A&R guy by the name of Mark Spector took us into the CBS studios. We had two hours of studio time and we banged out every song we knew at that time, which I think was fifteen. We set up in the middle of the room, he miked us up quickly and we let it rip."

Singer David Byrne, Frantz and bassist Tina Weymouth formed the Talking Heads after meeting at the Rhode Island School of Design. After adding Harrison, the band's quirky amalgam of styles first flowed into the mainstream with a cover of Al Green's "Take Me to the River" on 1978's More Songs About Buildings and Food.

"As punky as we were, we were always into R&B, soul and funk," Weymouth says. "'Take Me to the River,' had never been a big hit for Al and we thought, 'Why don't we do this.' And as we were doing it we decided to slow it down. It helped us get over because it wasn't one of our weird songs, it was one of Al Green's weird songs, and it was hilarious to us to have David singing it and us playing it."

Buildings and Food marked the beginning of the Talking Heads' partnership with producer Brian Eno (David Bowie, U2), a pairing that would spawn three albums in three years. "We thought the studio was a place where you could delve deeper and experiment," Weymouth says, "and we knew Brian Eno was about that. He was a wonderful collaborator. He wasn't really a genius smarty-man like everybody thought, and neither were we. Together we created something that may have been smarty-pants . . . but you can dance to it."

Once in a Lifetime track listing:

Disc One:

Sugar on My Tongue
Love -- Building On Fire
I Wish You Wouldn't Say That
Don't Worry About the Government
Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town (Alternate Version)
New Feeling (Alternate Version)
Pulled Up
Psycho Killer
Warning Sign
Artists Only
Tentative Decisions
No Compassion
Stay Hungry
I'm Not In Love
The Book I Read
Thank You for Sending Me An Angel
Found a Job
A Clean Break (Live)
Take Me to the River
The Big Country
Heaven

Disc Two:

I Zimbra
Cities (Alternate Version)
Life During Wartime
Air
Memories Can't Wait
Drugs (Alternate Version)
Once in a Lifetime
Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)
Listening Wind
Houses in Motion
Crosseyed and Painless
Burning Down the House
Making Flippy Floppy
Girlfriend Is Better
Slippery People
Swamp
This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)

Disc Three:

And She Was
Stay Up Late
Creatures of Love
The Lady Don't Mind
Road to Nowhere
Wild Wild Life
Love for Sale
People Like Us
Puzzlin' Evidence
City of Dreams
Blind
Mr. Jones
The Democratic Circus
(Nothing but) Flowers
In Asking Land (Alternate Take)
Sax and Violins
Lifetime Piling Up

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