This is a group that never had a hit single in the UK, but here’s the story of how I discovered them. A while ago, I was watching some music videos on YouTube. I noticed that some various clips of Countdown had been put online. But this isn’t the game show, it’s the Australian music show that ran in the 70s and 80s, and was essentially that country’s equivalent of Top Of The Pops, so it was the place where you wanted to be seen if you were a pop star.
I decided to look at some Top Tens, because I didn’t know much about that country’s pop chart history, or how many British acts had done well enough to become popular Down Under, and I thought that it would also be an opportunity to discover some Australian acts. I chose to look at some from 1986, because as you might know by now, the pop culture of that year fascinates me possibly more than any other.
I noticed a song on one chart that was only played for about ten seconds, but I did like the sound of it, so I decided to find it in full, and also find out more about the group’s story. I’m Talking were an Australian group that formed in 1983, and had something of a pop-funk sound. Their lead singer was Kate Ceberano, who was joined in 1984 by London-born Zan Abeyratne. I presumed that they were a female duo (and of course I am rather fond of them), but it seems that they were a full group, with a saxophonist and everything.
They had a few hits, including a cover of “Love Don’t Live Here Any More”, but it was “Do You Wanna Be” that really caught my attention. I’m Talking had three Top Ten hits in Australia, and this was their most successful one, reaching no. 8 in May 1986. And their album “Bear Witness” also did well. I was surprised to discover that there was also something of an attempt to break them in the UK.
In 1986 “Do You Wanna Be” was their first and only single to be released in this country (and was even advertised in Smash Hits). This was accompanied by a Stock/Aitken/Waterman remix, and they also supported Five Star on their tour. This wasn’t a hit though, no further singles were released, and I’m Talking split in 1987. After this, Ceberano went on to have further success in Australia with a solo career, including lots more hit singles, and 17 albums.
And would you believe it, not so long ago, Ceberano and Abeyratne got back together over three decades on to do it all over again, and perform some of their best-known songs on stage, I presume that the saxophone had to be dusted off first, but it seems that all of this was well received. If you’re not familiar with I’m Talking, I would definitely recommend them.