My Favorite Music Videos, Part Fifteen: Talking Heads’ ‘Once in a Lifetime’

There are few bands that have embraced the visual side of music as much as Talking Heads have done throughout their existence.

In “Once in a Lifetime,” one of their early videos, the main character (lead singer David Byrne) appears to be stricken with a strange palsy that affects both his equilibrium and balance, causing random arm and hand movements. Gravity also seems to further confuse and disorient him. Wikipedia aptly describes his movements as marionette-like; adding that this video is on a permanent exhibit in the New York Museum of Modern Art.


In the concert film Stop Making Sense, the song “Once in a Lifetime” is well-known for its almost four-minute long unbroken shot of Byrne’s performance in chiaroscuro.

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