Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads was released on February 2, 1981, with Seen and Not Seen as the B side. It was the first single from the band’s fourth studio album Remain in Light.
The song reached No. 14 on the UK Singles Chart. In the United States, it failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1986, a live version of Once in a Lifetime, from the Talking Heads’ 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense, was released as a single. The live version reached No. 91 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 2000, NPR named Once in a Lifetime as one of the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century. The song is also included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.