Technology That Was Too Clever

When David Byrne was with the Talking Heads, he was determined that the band always be ahead of the times.  But one time, the band was too far ahead.

When their 1988 album
Naked was released, it was touted as being “graphics-ready.”  This meant that if you were to buy a special CD player with a special decoder, you could watch the lyrics of the songs pass by in real-time on your television.

You could also watch for a list of which instruments were playing when.  Unfortunately, these CD players were not available in 1988 so almost no one used this feature.

I’m not even sure there’s a piece of consumer electronics available today that decode this data.  

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

3 thoughts on “Technology That Was Too Clever

  • December 2, 2011 at 2:50 am

    I don't do karaoke, but is this possibly one of the earliest versions of the CD+G format?

  • December 2, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I'd need to do a little research, but didnt Todd Rundgren do something similar to this. If my memory serves, he released an album where you could 'remix' it on your home computer.


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