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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, Rovi
full bio

Comments

carterlinda8 7 6
shigglemcgig g i n s - Seek help, K? Your paraphilias are very disturbing and you seem to enjoy shock value.
I have a brown eye, it gets smelly
I have one blue eye and one green eye. Does that mean anything?
I actually have a mix of 3 eye diseases. Myopia, Astigmatism and one genetic Degenerative Eye Disease. I still can see some. It's blurry but I'm so used to it, it's like nothing. Except at night. That's something. I hope that gives some of you a view of the good side of not being able to see. I see halo's around people and aura's as well. HAHA
I can sense things other people can't sense. I have ESP. I can touch you and give you a massage like you never had before because I can feel every ripple of your body like I'm seeing it but Im not. I'm sensing it. The good things about being blind.
I see in 3D without my glasses. If I lay on the ground during the time we have fireworks and just look up in the sky while it's dark, the fireworks looks exactly like diamonds of every shade pouring all over me. They sparkle like diamonds. Not like fireworks but like diamonds being poured all over me. It's such and AWESOME thing to see. A blessing in being blind in a way.
disease does Mark Hollis have?
Mark Hollis is blind by what? Myopia? I have the same disease. I'm going to go blind one day too. So, I'm already legally blind without corrective lenses and I have to wear bifocals and I can't even see out of those. But, you know, I've been blind all my life and I don't wear glasses all the time. I get around just fine. I really can't see at night though. I have to feel my way around. Everything has to stay where I put it or I'll kill myself trying to walk around it at night. What kind of eye
a.elydrissi_ f a m i r
My dad loves talk talk and mark Hollis blind by a disease and also haunting
it's my life. you know, I've always been kind of attracted to Nicholas Cage and the lead singer of Talk Talk. they look like each other. They sound like each other. Who's to say that they're not each other? :=) I love this song and I love this band.
Damn you Gwen Stephani
So many years ago,formulat i n g ideas that would change the rest of my life!
Comment below @ Dick Panther
It's my theme song of my life and times. The best 80's song, ever!!! It never ends, my life and groove.
The Dick Panthers are better.
It's My Life/ I LOVE THIS SONG. THE LEAD SINGER'S VERY HANDSOME AND I LIKE HIS VOICE. peace.
This particular song takes my breath away. Beautiful melody, haunting lyrics and Hollis's singing combined together make this an exceptional song. Talk Talk was way ahead of its time. Their album covers are wonderful, also. They are true artists.
AWESOME GROUP THAT WAS PART OF THE NEW WAVE MOVEMENT! LOVE THEIR SONGS!!!!
I see comments that Talk Talk sounds like Duran Duran or The Smiths, Roxy Music.....NO No NO! Lets compare their musical talent to groups like China Crisis, both 80s music artists, without sounding like typical 80s music! And it's just plain funny that some think No Doubt's cover of It's My Life was theirs first! HA HA!
Just get the Best of Talk Talk CD, and you will be happy ever after.
Maybe the Smiths and Roxy Music are similar but the others Pandora Lists as similar are only there because they were during the same era. Depeche Mode and the Psychedelic Furs were not real artists, just products of their time. Tears for Fears were too pop to be grouped with them. Talk Talk included real artists and musicianship and demonstrated by their diversity and timelessness . Their first four albums in particular are pure and original. I saw them in concert in 1983 or so....amazin g artists
Talk Talk did this first in 1984. Gwen Stefani (*No Doubt) was probably in grasdeschool . . .
claricentp91 7
If you wish to add some extra money to you wallet go to BLUDOS.COM They offer really easy free online jobs where you can make a few extra hundred dollas a week !
shawnnavuz71 1
People interested in making a few extra bucks per day you can check out BLUDOS.COM This site makes me around 70 usd per day. It's free to sign up.
probably one of the best songs/ music ever written.
...totally agree. I love Life's What You Make It...incredi b l e voice, incredible music
I love how nuanced and atmospheric their music was.The song Desire off Spirit of Eden just takes my breath away over and over again.
did anyone notice that Pandora photo copied the CD jacket in the display window.
Talk Talk was very underrated. Their music lifts my spirits and they remain one of my favorite bands ever. MooMoo you're ignorant. No Doubt did a cover of one of Talk Talk's songs,
Cows are stupid
You're a dweeb. You know nothing about music and you're obviously here to anger people. You go ahead with your asinine comments. Shows how idiotic you are. Talk talk did this first your an embicile.
vic_dlg
I love talk talk they are so awesome and I love the 80s
No Doubt did this song first. This is a rip off band!
This song was way cool. Sadly so many 80's bands were one hit wonders like nu shooz for example. Hard to top the first hit for them
Good tune, good times. But...Duran Duran were better musicians. Millions more records sold should be proof enough.
Don't read this because it actually works. You will listen to Talk Talk & fall head over heels for 'em.
bizzybodies2 8
Well the lyric credits are still wrong. My earlier comment disappeared. Hrm.
frank9948
So under appreciated. Like mdudek38 said their live stuff really shows off the depth of their talent, range and mix of music that was ahead of it's time.
If you can find their live concert vids on YouTube check them out.....just a magical combination of talent at the right time.
That. Song. Brings. Great. Memories. On. How. Great. New. Wave. Was. Back. Then.
To jabauer6: I wish I saw them. They groov
The lyrics are credited to Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora... surely this is a mistake?
Don't read this because it actually works. You will get kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you do not post this comment on at least 3 songs you will die in 2 days. Now that you've started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in at least 143 minutes when press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works!!

jabauer6
Used to work in a record store (vinyl) when 'Its My Live' came out. I played it in the store constantly. I had customers of all ages and backgrounds fall in love with it and buy it....couldn ' t keep enough copies in the store!! I then saw them live...that concert was one of the most memorable concerts ever...they extended the length of every song in a very uniquely talented way...never ever should have broke up...or stopped making commercial albumns! What a huge loss for me personally
Core
awesome song. always loved it.
I want 2 dance !!!
joeschroeder 4 6 0
It takes me back to those cold 3 shift nights
Maybe similar to The Smiths but not the other bands listed, especially not Depeche Mode (who are horrible). Talk Talk has some great music that is not formulaic. They command their own sound. Saw them in concert in SLC in 1984....awes o m e show! For 80s pop music, which generally sucks, Talk Talk deserves respect.
The s**t
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