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Talk Talk: Life's What You Make It (1985) ...and we all know it! (or do we?)

Updated: Apr 13, 2021

Talk Talk: Mark Hollis, Lee Harris and Paul Webb

"Hollis’s early songs struggle with notions of fate versus faith, with imagery swinging from the Bible to Luke Rheinhardt’s cult novel The Dice Man. Playing one note well is better than to play two notes badly. Mark Hollis was a man with a mission, somehow spearheading shifts into abandoned territories, a pathfinder at the cusp of realising his full potential.

Talk Talk were a band of unqualified beauty who mastered and transcended quality pop music with a promising commercial future, but nevertheless pursued a completely esoteric direction with next to no promotion, presaging so much to come” – Steve Pafford

Full band review

Why are we featuring this song? Not because of the genius experimentation of Mark Hollis, the driver of the band (sadly passed in 2019 at age 64) or his unique voice, timeless lyrics and chart success, but because of the magnificent guitar hook which leaves us speechless and makes our soul soar!

David Rhodes is the guitarist in question, famously playing with Peter Gabriel but this time recruited by Talk Talk to add the "je ne sais quoi" that catapults the imagination "into the horizon" and inspires us to dream…

It is a shame that live performances of this song are rare but I have selected one live video from Salamanca in Spain and a second video performance from the BBC with the original guitar hook for you to compare, although I cannot find a live video featuring Rhodes and to be honest, no-one did it quite like him, but Salamanca is the nearest on stage.

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