Talk Talk

Album: The Party's Over (1982)
Charted: 23 75
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • In this song, Mark Hollis of Talk Talk sing sings about the anxiety and torment that is bearing down upon him. Communication, especially talking, is a common theme for Hollis, who was notoriously terse and enigmatic in interviews.
  • Mark Hollis first recorded this song in 1977 when he was in a band called The Reaction. Titled "Talk Talk Talk Talk," it was issued on a compilation album put out by the Beggars Banquet label called Streets, and more of a punk rendition. This version was produced by Mark's brother, Ed, and Steve Lillywhite.

    Mark and Ed wrote the song together but were never in the same band; Ed managed Eddie And The Hot Rods and teamed Mark up with Paul Webb, Lee Harris and Simon Brenner, which became the band Talk Talk in 1981.
  • The band named themselves after this song. Mark Hollis liked it because it's very direct, easy to remember, can't be abbreviated, and graphically compatible.
  • The original version of this song ("Talk Talk Talk Talk") was more political, with the lines:

    Society was bringing me down
    Well, politicians, they keep talking in rhymes


    The "Talk Talk" version is all directed at one person, focusing the lyric. Both versions contain these lines:

    Don't you ever stop to think about me
    I'm not that blind to see that you've been cheating on me
  • Talk Talk didn't use any guitar on the album, relying on Simon Brenner's synthesizer for the melody.
  • The band was signed to EMI, which also had Duran Duran on their roster. The label sent Talk Talk to tour as the opening act for Duran Duran in 1981, before they had released any material. They were clearly hoping the MTV-friendly hitmaking habits of Duran Duran would rub off on Talk Talk, but frontman Mark Hollis was averse to most media and insisted on dictating his own musical direction and image. His band got more experimental over the course of their next four albums, which all had respectable sales but never came close to the arena-filling numbers EMI hoped for. They went down in history as a very influential band that made some groundbreaking music. Mojo listed their fourth album, Spirit of Eden, among the Top 500 of all-time in their 2000 survey.
  • Talk Talk made two videos for this song, both with big-name directors who dominated MTV early on. The first, with Russell Mulcahy, was rejected by the band's label. The next one, which was approved and got decent airplay on MTV, had Brian Grant behind the viewport and showed the band performing on a claustrophobic, metallic set. They wore white suits with black ties, which was their signature look at the time. According to Mark Hollis, the music supplied the color.
  • Colin Thurston, who was Duran Duran's producer, produced The Party's Over album. He and the band didn't get on very well; their next album was produced by Tim Friese-Greene, who became a key collaborator, co-writing their hit "It's My Life."
  • This isn't the first hit song called "Talk Talk." A garage-rock band called The Music Machine hit #15 with a very different song of that title in 1967.
  • This was used in the 1982 movie Night Shift, which was directed by Ron Howard and starred his Happy Days co-star Henry Winkler.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Timothy B. Schmit of the Eagles

Timothy B. Schmit of the EaglesSongwriter Interviews

Did this Eagle come up with the term "Parrothead"? And what is it like playing "Hotel California" for the gazillionth time?

Taylor Dayne

Taylor DayneSongwriter Interviews

Taylor talks about "The Machine" - the hits, the videos and Clive Davis.

Holly Knight ("The Best," "Love Is A Battlefield")

Holly Knight ("The Best," "Love Is A Battlefield")Songwriter Interviews

Holly Knight talks about some of the hit songs she wrote, including "The Warrior," "Never" and "The Best," and explains some songwriting philosophy, including how to think of a bridge.

Joe Elliott of Def Leppard

Joe Elliott of Def LeppardSongwriter Interviews

The Def Leppard frontman talks about their "lamentable" hit he never thought of as a single, and why he's juiced by his Mott The Hoople cover band.

Have Mercy! It's Wolfman Jack

Have Mercy! It's Wolfman JackSong Writing

The story of the legendary lupine DJ through the songs he inspired.

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & PalmerSongwriter Interviews

Greg talks about writing songs of "universal truth" for King Crimson and ELP, and tells us about his most memorable stage moment (it involves fireworks).