Talk Talk - Paris Theatre - London - 1982

Talk Talk - Pioneers of Post-Rock.

Talk Talk - Paris Theatre - London - 1982
Talk Talk – Pioneers of Post-Rock.

Talk Talk – Live At Paris Theatre – London – Recorded by BBC Radio 1 for In Concert – 1982 – BBC Radio 1 –

Talk Talk in concert to close the weekend. Recorded by BBC Radio 1 for their In Concert series in 1982.

Talk Talk began as a quartet consisting of Mark Hollis, formerly from The Reaction (vocals/main songwriter), Lee Harris (drums), Paul Webb (bass guitar), and Simon Brenner (keyboards). In their early years they were often compared with Duran Duran. In addition to a band name consisting of a repeated word, the two shared a Roxy Music-inspired musical direction, as well as the same record label (EMI) and producer (Colin Thurston). The band also supported Duran Duran on tour in late 1981.

The band released their first single, “Mirror Man”, on EMI in February 1982. The single was not a great success, but was quickly followed by their self-titled single in April 1982 (a rerecording of a track by The Reaction) which reached No.52 in the UK. The band’s first album, titled The Party’s Over, was released in July 1982. The band had their first UK Top 40 hits with the singles “Today” (UK No. 14) and a re-release of “Talk Talk” (UK No. 23). These singles also were hits in other countries including Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. The re-release of the “Talk Talk” single reached the U.S. Top 75. The album was produced by Colin Thurston, who was Duran Duran’s in-house EMI producer at the time, but picked by Hollis because of his involvement with David Bowie’s Heroes. It was a moderate success in the UK reaching No.21, and was later certified Silver by the BPI for sales of 60,000 copies by 1985. It was a Top 10 hit in New Zealand.

Brenner left after the 1983 non-LP hit single “My Foolish Friend”, which was produced by frequent Roxy Music collaborator Rhett Davies. At this point, the band was now a trio, as Brenner was never officially replaced. However, Tim Friese-Greene was recruited to assist with the recording of their second album, It’s My Life, and he became the band’s producer as well as keyboardist and Hollis’ songwriting partner. Although a major contributor to the band’s studio output and a de facto fourth member, Friese-Greene never officially joined the band. As such, he did not play with the touring band on live dates, and was absent from the band’s publicity material.

Their influence upon musicians has exceeded the band’s visibility among the general public. Along with the band Slint, they are credited with inventing “post-rock” in their last two albums, Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock. The artists who have praised the band or cited them as an influence include Tears for Fears, Matthew Good, Radiohead, Doves, Elbow, Shearwater, M83, Bark Psychosis, The Notwist, Cedric Bixler-Zavala of the Mars Volta, Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree, Storm Corrosion (a joint project between Opeth’s Mikael Ã…kerfeldt and Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson),Steve Hogarth of Marillion, Richard Barbieri of Japan and Porcupine Tree, and Death Cab for Cutie.

The bands Placebo, Weezer, the Divine Comedy and the Gathering covered their song “Life’s What You Make It” and No Doubt scored a global hit with a cover of “It’s My Life” in 2003 which reached number 20 on the UK charts. Lights recorded a cover of “Living in Another World” in 2012. Guy Garvey of the band Elbow said: “Mark Hollis started from punk and by his own admission he had no musical ability. To go from only having the urge, to writing some of the most timeless, intricate and original music ever is as impressive as the moon landings for me.”

A tribute album and anthological book, were released in 2012. The book includes all the artwork James Marsh did for the band, and hand-written lyrics (by the band). The album includes covers by various artists, proceeds going to the conservation organisation BirdLife International.

On Tuesday 26 November 2019, Spirit of Talk Talk organized A Celebration of Mark Hollis and Talk Talk concert at the Royal Festival Hall, London, UK. Founding band member Simon Brenner, who played keyboards on studio album, The Party’s Over was amongst the long list of guest musicians who performed songs from all five Talk Talk studio albums and Mark Hollis’ solo album. The evening was described as A Majestic Tribute by the London-based daily newspaper The Evening Standard.

Hollis and Talk Talk continue to be praised as artists who did not cave in to the pressures of corporate and commercial interests. Says Alan McGee, “I find the whole story of one man against the system in a bid to maintain creative control incredibly heartening.”

Hit the play button, settle down, crank it up and get ready for the week.

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