Home Artists - L to Z Artists - T Talk Talk

Talk Talk

SHARE

Talk Talk began their career in 1981 as a synth-pop new wave band who looked pretty and sounded slick and shuffled gawkily around the New Romantic fringes – they were certainly dark and synthy enough to interest the New Romantic crowd, but far too interested in jazz to merit actual New Romantic status – scoring hits with Talk TalkMirror Man and Today, and touring with EMI stable-mates Duran Duran.

talktalkClapping eyes on Talk Talk in 1982 – all skinny ties and hair-sprayed wedges – the word ‘influential’ would not have sprung to mind.

They were generally considered – if considered at all – a duller Xerox of the Brummie dandies.

Guitarist and singer Mark Hollis reorganised the line-up during the recording of their second album, 1984’s It’s My Life, and while it was slightly more experimental than their previous album – a little more like Roxy Music than Duran Duran –  it still followed traditional pop structures.

Then they appeared to wake up one day as a grown-up band, just in time for their third album, 1986’s The Colour Of Spring. They lost keyboard player Simon Brenner and employed the services of producer Tim Friese-Greene – an experimental foil for the emotional songwriting of Hollis.

Next, Hollis and Friese-Greene broke up the band’s previously inflexible format, augmenting drummer Lee Harris and bassist Paul Webb with a host of guest players, including Steve Winwood, bassist Danny Thompson, and Pretenders guitarist Robbie McIntosh.

The Colour Of Spring was a revelation. Hollis’s emotionally bruised mumble implored on an album loaded with rainy-day melancholia, including the maudlin hit Life’s What You Make It.

talktalk_02The follow-up, Spirit Of Eden (1988), recorded in a disused church, reputedly reduced their A&R man to tears when he realised how bereft of potential singles it was.

With more pregnant pauses, splashes of colour and layers of sleepy angst, it was a beautiful-sounding record but not quite the equal of its predecessor. It proved to be a commercial disaster and led to EMI dropping the band.

Talk Talk sued. EMI counter-sued, then put out a Greatest Hits and a remix atrocity, History Revisited, that Hollis blocked in court. To then pile irony on top of insult, Talk Talk were nominated for a Best Newcomer Brit Award.

Talk Talk then signed with Polydor Records, releasing Laughing Stock in 1991.

Mark Hollis
Vocals
Simon Brenner

Keyboards
Paul Webb

Bass
Lee Harris

Drums
Ian Curnow
Keyboards
Robbie McIntosh
Guitar

SHARE