Talk Talk formed in England in 1981. It consisted of Mark Hollis (vocals), Simon Brenner (keyboards), Lee Harris (drums) and Paul Webb (bass guitar). They started out with a self-titled EP released in 1982 which was eventually expanded to an LP called The Party’s Over. Identified as belonging to the “New Romantic” genre, two singles from the album, “Talk Talk” and “Today” charted in the UK Top 40.
Talk Talk gained wider exposure after being asked to support a Genesis reunion concert in late 1982. The following year, Brenner left and was replaced by Tim Friese-Greene (keyboards, producer, co-writer). He proved to be more of a studio than a live show presence, however.
The 1984 LP It’s My Life was the international breakthrough for Talk Talk. I remember purchasing this album with great excitement and not being the least bit disappointed. “It’s My Life” was in heavy MTV rotation, and accompanied by another single release,“Such A Shame,” the LP gained credibility outside of the UK. The band also took on a decidedly New Wave sound, bolstered by Friese-Greene’s prolific keyboard style.
With the release of the album The Colour Of Spring in 1986, Talk Talk abandoned the New Wave style for an edgier sound. It paid off with the wildly successful single”Life’s What You Make It” and a UK Top Ten position for the LP. Hollis’s crooning was accompanied by an outstanding bluesy, laconic melody. All of the songs were written by Hollis and Friese-Greene, and guest musicians included Steve Winwood.
Talk Talk’s fourth album was titled Spirit of Eden. An experimental, digitized collection, the LP struggled into the Top 20, and the band refused to tour to support it. Webb left the group, and in 1991, the group followed up with an album called Laughing Stock using session studio musicians. Talk Talk finally called it quits after a successful eleven years in 1992.
This band was an important contributor to the greatest musical decade. If you’re not familiar with their music beyond “It’s My Life,” be sure to check them out. Hollis’s penchant for unabashed experimentation is what makes Talk Talk a unique and fulfilling musical adventure.
Purchase Talk Talk music here.
“It’s My Life” via YouTube user emiamericarecords:
“Such A Shame” via YouTube user emimusic:
“Life’s What You Make It” via YouTube user emimusic:
“Living In Another World” via YouTube user emimusic:
The Party’s Over (1982)
It’s My Life (1984)
The Colour of Spring (1986)
Spirit of Eden (1988)
Laughing Stock (1991)