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Talk Talk

With the exception of a handful of common threads -- chief among them the plaintive vocals and haunting lyrics of frontman Mark Hollis -- there is little to suggest that the five studio LPs that make up the Talk Talk oeuvre are indeed the work of the same band throughout. After beginning their career with records virtually epitomizing the new wave era that spawned them, the British group never looked back, making significant strides with each successive album on its way to discovering a wholly unique and uncategorizable sound informed by elements of jazz, classical, and ambient music; their masterful final recordings, while neglected commercially, possess a timelessness rare among music of any genre, and in retrospect they seem the clear starting point for the post-rock movement of the 1990s.

The story of Talk Talk begins with singer/songwriter Hollis, the younger brother of Ed Hollis, a disc jockey and producer who went on to manage such punk-era bands as Eddie & the Hot Rods. Mark originally planned to become a child psychologist, but in 1975, he left university to relocate to London, eventually forming a band called the Reaction; Ed Hollis called in a few favors, and in 1977, the Reaction recorded a demo tape for Island Records. Among the tracks was a Hollis original titled "Talk Talk," which later surfaced on the Beggars Banquet punk compilation Streets. After just one single, 1978's "I Can't Resist," the Reaction disbanded, and through his brother, Hollis was first introduced to bassist Paul Webb, drummer Lee Harris, and keyboardist Simon Brenner, with whom he formed Talk Talk in 1981.

After recording a number of demos with producer Jimmy Miller, Talk Talk signed to EMI, who assigned Duran Duran producer Colin Thurston to helm their first two singles, "Mirror Man" and "Talk Talk." Clearly, EMI's intent was to mold the band in the spirit of the new romantic movement, and toward that end, they also tapped Talk Talk as the opener on Duran Duran's 1982 U.K. tour. Their debut LP, The Party's Over, was indeed a product of its times, defined by contemporary synth pop sensibilities but with an honesty and lyrical depth absent from most other records of the moment. In 1983, Talk Talk resurfaced with the single "My Foolish Friend," which in itself marked a major leap from the first record with its denser and more mature sound; the subsequent dismissal of Brenner made it plain that the band's days of relying on synthesizers were over for good.

The remainder of 1983 was spent writing and recording It's My Life, Talk Talk's breakthrough recording. The turning point was the arrival of producer and multi-instrumentalist Tim Friese-Greene, who was to remain an unofficial fourth member of the band for the remainder of its existence. In Friese-Greene, Hollis found the ideal partner to realize his ambitions; It's My Life made major strides away from The Party's Over, rejecting the debut's new wave trappings in favor of richer, more natural textures. The gambit worked, with the title track becoming a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Released in 1986, The Colour of Spring continued the trend, and on the strength of the smashes "Life's What You Make It" and "Give It Up," it became Talk Talk's best-selling album to date. A major world tour followed, with EMI allotting an enormous budget for the group's next effort.

In 1987, Talk Talk settled into an abandoned Suffolk church to begin working on their fourth LP. EMI executives eagerly awaited the finished product, and they were to continue waiting, as the group worked far past its deadline, seemingly with no end in sight. Already well over budget, Hollis refused to allow label heads any advance tapes, and informed EMI that not only would there be no singles from the record, but that the group would be unable to re-create the complex arrangements on-stage and, as a consequence, would perform no live dates in support of the disc's release. Finally, after some 14 months in the studio, Spirit of Eden was issued to thunderous critical acclaim, albeit little commercial interest; an intricate, meditative work, it bore little resemblance to standard pop music, with its lengthy songs and spacious, organic arrangements perhaps closest in theme and texture to jazz.

With relations between EMI and Talk Talk at a breaking point, the label issued an edited single version of the Spirit of Eden track "I Believe in You" without the band's consent. Talk Talk eventually split from EMI, but not without resistance from the label, which subsequently sued the band for making an anti-commercial album (the case was thrown out) and released a pair of compilations, Natural History and History Revisited, without the band's involvement.

Talk Talk then signed to Polydor; Paul Webb subsequently left, and the masterful Laughing Stock was recorded primarily with guest musicians. Issued in 1991, the LP marked a complete break from convention, adopting an almost free-form aesthetic; however, it was also Talk Talk's final work -- in 1992, Webb and Harris reunited in 'O'Rang, while Hollis disappeared from view, finally issuing his self-titled solo debut in early 1998. A live Talk Talk release, London 1986, appeared in 1999. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Laughing Stock

1. Myrrhman

2. Ascension Day

3. After The Flood

4. Taphead

5. New Grass

6. Runeii

x

Track List: Spirit Of Eden

1. The Rainbow

2. Eden

3. Desire

4. Inheritance

5. I Believe In You

6. Wealth

x

Track List: The Colour Of Spring

1. Happiness Is Easy

2. I Don't Believe In You

3. Life's What You Make It

4. April 5th

5. Living In Another World

6. Give It Up

7. Chameleon Day

8. Time It's Time

x

Track List: It's My Life

x

Track List: The Party's Over

1. Talk Talk

2. It's So Serious

3. Today

4. The Party's Over

5. Hate

6. Have You Heard The News?

7. Mirror Man

8. Another Word

9. Candy

x

Track List: Natural History: The Very Best Of Talk Talk

1. Today

2. Talk Talk

3. My Foolish Friend

4. Such A Shame

5. Dum Dum Girl

6. It's My Life

7. Give It Up

8. Living In Another World

9. Life's What You Make It

10. Happiness Is Easy

11. I Believe In You

12. Desire

Comments

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The author of the bio is a f**king retard
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Brings back great memories of my generation
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Obvioiusly shouldn't be on the one hit wonders list.......t h e y had 3 or 4 hits.......l o v e em.
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alexandraabe l l a 1 7
❤❤❤❤❤
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Well, not all words are powerful.
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Love Talk Talk, even their eclectic mix of albums...the y went many different directions! but in my opinion, they always remained hugely talented and innovative.
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r3m3mb3r...d o yov r3m3mb3r?
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...its my life,
it never ends...
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...it never ends...
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6vven stefani-R3m3 m b 3 r its my liFe!!!
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cherokeeprin c e s s 1 2 7
❤❤❤
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Gwen Stefani kinda butchers the song, but she is easy on the eyes
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kandybonales 8
������������ n o t h i n g better than this!!!!
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alexandraabe l l a 1 7
❤❤❤❤❤
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Great 80's band. Talk talk's song called talk talk is also another wonder!
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Convinced myself it wonderful
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❤❤❤❤❤
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Anyone else think they started off trying to sound like Japan (more so than Duran Duran) Even their debut album The Party's Over, though a bit derivative showed that they were really talented. Both Mark Hollis and David Sylvian started their careers aping their heroes but ultimately broke new ground themselves
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Second only to Bryan Ferry for 80's crooner.
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dmartiii
Wonderful !!!!!
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Mark Hollis....gr e a t vocals
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Funny this isn't the version that played on my radio or the vinyl version?
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❤❤❤❤❤
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nparisi028
Timeless and amazing!!!
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sturgissteel e 1
Wow, how is I never heard of them before!? They sound great!
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lisasalazar2
Love this song!
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AMAZING GROUP its my life LOVE THIS SONG..
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sam10252
A haunting melody leaves a haunting sound that makes each word more important than the last, that is why Talk Talk is perhaps the most unique band of the 80's
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I love this song. It takes me back to my younger years...grea t voice ♡♡
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This song to me, was always an anthem about starting over.
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deratkins
Talk Talk Ull always b there
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God I hate ignorant people! These guys were 1 of the new English invasion groups, they were great and I wish we still had this kind of music today instead of the crap the music industry has been pumping out for about 20 years now!!!!! If you didn't grow up in the 80's you missed out! Just need a time machine so I could go back, the music the clothes, the hair and all the fun every one had at the time, sure do miss it all!!!!!
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It's My Life and Life's What You Make It still on my playlist.
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classic.....
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My favorite group ever. Period.
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One of those 80's theme songs it's hard to get out of your mind. A truly original sound.
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One of the few groups which were as great at the end of their career as well as in the beginning. Love both the experimental music as well as the synth pop music.
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I am so classic, the hank u angels, all u do is talk talk��������
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This is soooo classic 80s, i love this song;)
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It's great music! Enjoy the music. Don't ruin it for yourself by bringing in past bad experiences only because this great music may have been playing during that bad time in your life. Get on with life. Smell the roses and listen to great music!
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joe.i.martin
Out w friends, free from parents...it s my life!!
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Laughing Stock is a richly textured collection of beautiful music. Best listened to with no other distractions . Love the nuances of the intricate vocals that fit so well within the music. Definitely for acquired tastes!
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This is the track that explanes it all, for those U.S. Taking the path of God,no exuses
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ahh,a liitle blow,a fast car, and talk talk.
,
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Ahh. Memories!
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I'm lost in the 80s love it
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Nice jam love this song
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Its my life one best of 80s hands down talk talk!!!!
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Great song........ Awesome video!!!!
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I like it! Deann Johnson would have done this well (with her voice) on THE VOICE.
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