It's his life indeed. Talk Talk was fronted by Mark Hollis and signed to EMI in 1981. The label sent them on tour with another one of their acts, Duran Duran, and commissioned a slick video for their single "Talk Talk." Both bands had a new-wave synthesizer sound, but that was about all they had in common. Hollis did the required promotion but didn't enjoy it - interviews were clearly a work obligation. Musically, he was not going to be swayed by popular taste or record company pressure, and for the second Talk Talk album, which didn't appear until two years later, he included "It's My Life," a manifesto of sorts where he asserts his independence.
The song is framed around a relationship (as was "Talk Talk"), but it covers a lot more ground. Hollis pushed Talk Talk in an avante-garde direction for their next three albums, and in 1986, declared he would no longer perform - a promise he kept despite lucrative offers to reunite the band after their 1992 breakup. In 1998 he surfaced with a self-titled solo album, but then vanished just as quickly.
The first Talk Talk album was produced by Colin Thurston at the label's behest - Thurston had worked with Duran Duran. The It's My Life album was produced by Tim Friese-Green, who co-wrote the title track with Mark Hollis and became a de facto bandmember throughout their run. He later recorded as Heligoland.
The video shows Mark Hollis at the London Zoo in Regent's Park, but he's not singing - his mouth is digitally obscured as he stands among the exhibits. The rest of the footage came from the BBC nature series Life on Earth.
Directed by Tim Pope, it may have been the first video to feature a band's lead singer not performing. Hollis was likely making a statement about lip synching.
The album sold well in America, which gave the band the means to do things their way. "I'd got the freedom I wanted, and retained the anonymity," Mark Hollis said.
In 1990, this was re-issued to coincide with the release of Talk Talk's greatest hits album. At the time, many hits in the UK originated in the clubs on the Balearic holiday islands of Ibiza and Majorca. The reissue of this song became a large hit, reaching #13 in the UK after a number of club DJs discovered the track had the same beats per minute (BPM) as the Balearic hits they were spinning at the time.
Gwen Stefani's group No Doubt introduced this song to a new generation when they covered it in 2003. Their version peaked at #10 in the US and #17 in the UK.
Michael from Cincinnati, Ohio, UsaThere are actually two versions of the music video. The one with Hollis at the zoo, and one with the zoo video projected behind the band on a green screen while the band comically lip syncs the song. It can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ooj-y3LLuE
Jules from OregonThis is the only song on here by this fantastic band? Unfortunate.
Dale from Maine... song brought some serious meaning to me after the fact. When dating someone that was living with someone else. 'one half won't do.' Men and Women have gone through this which I believe why Gwen decided to cover it from the 'female' perspective. 'It's my life, don't you forget' lyric is probably them talking to themselves questioning why to be in this type of 1/2 relationship ... 1/2 not.
Steve from OttawaLove this song. Truly hate No Doubt's whiny, irritating version.
Todd from Bel Air, MdI was out with some friends last week and this tune came on at a pub. Even though I know Talk Talk - however I did say to a friend that it does sound like Bryan Ferry.
Hugh from Phoenix, AzA very infectious pop song. Even more interesting is the evolution of this band. "Laughing Stock" is just breathtaking all the way through.
Glen from Rochford, United Kingdomgreat song, can someone please put 'Today' by Talk Talk up?!
Melissa from Fairborn, OhThe Talk Talk's version of the song it's kind of like Duran Duran.
Larry from Wayne, PaThis is a great song, but why isn't "Talk Talk" by Talk Talk on SongFacts?
Paul from Detroit, MiI can't believe this song only made it to #31 in the US. Also, like most people here, I loved No Doubts remake as much as the original. Possibly a bit more.
Constance from Dallas, TxBoth versions Talk Talk and No Doubt are good. I think No Doubt did it justice because they didnt change song/music at all and No Doubt is a talented band. However I have to give it to Talk Talk. Im all for orginals. I could listen to either version and be satisfied.
Carrie from Roanoke, VaSince I heard No Doubt's version first, I think I like it better. Mark Hollis does have a great voice, but his deep voice isn't really appropriate for the whiny tone of this song. Gwen Stefani is naturally kind of whiny, so it's a good fit for her.
Pat from Albuquerque, NmThe original version of this song is perhaps the best "80s song" I can think of. For some reason, at the time I thought Bryan Ferry sang this song, even though I had certainly heard of Talk Talk (this wasn't their only hit). That's a big compliment for Mark Hollis. I think the original Talk Talk version is the best, but the No Doubt version is done well.
Sandy from Newburgh, InActually, Ashley Jade, you have to see the video to know what it means. Mark Hollis appears in the video, but he doesn't lip-sync a single word. Apparently, there's been no other video before it that's done that.
Gilles from Soleuvre, LuxembourgGreat song for sure, personally I think that No Doubt did a good job when they covered "it's my life". But it's not as good as the original song because Gwen Stefani's voice just isn't Mark Hollis' inimitable voice. Furthermore, Mark Hollis has a truly unique way of stressing and pronouncing words. One can notice this especially in songs like "happiness is easy" (which is one of my favourite songs from Talk Talk). Finally, what I want to say is that especially Talk Talk covers can never sound better than the original songs, first because of Mark Hollis remarkable singing, and secondly because many songs require the right note on the right place aka "the blue note", the perfect timing when playing the instruments. Again, I refer to "happiness is easy", just listen to the songs first minute and you'll see what I mean.
Nathan from L-burg, KyNo Doubt's version is not as good as Talk Talk 's version talk talk's version made it to the PS2 game 'Activision Antholog'
Dave from Cardiff, WalesNo Doubt's version was good, but nothing like as good as Talk Talk's version.
Bob from Bristol, EnglandThis song was donated to the Album "Everybodys got to learn sometime" - which was compiled for the hostages held in the Lebanon in the mid to late 80s. I think it's probably my favourite one from that LP (and there are a lot of others to choose from). Yeah, I reckon No Doubt did a good cover of it - doing a good song justice! Also really liked Talk Talks "Lifes what you make it" record too!
Chris from Boston, MaI haven't heard this song in a while until no doubt covered it, it's a great song, no doubt did a great job covering it,
Katie from New South Wales, AustraliaI loved the No Doubt version of this