History Revisited

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History Revisited: The Remixes
Remix album by Talk Talk
Released March 1991
Recorded 1982–1990
Genre Synthpop, new wave
Length 57:24
Label Parlophone/EMI
Producer Tim Friese-Greene
Talk Talk chronology
Natural History
(1990)
History Revisited
(1991)
Laughing Stock
(1991)

History Revisited: The Remixes is a 1991 album comprising remixes of hit Talk Talk songs. It followed the successful greatest hits collection Natural History, released the year before. The band itself did not take part in the making of the album and condemned its release; consequently, they sued their former record label EMI for using Talk Talk material without permission.

Background[edit]

Talk Talk formed in 1981 and released four albums with EMI. Around the time of Spirit of Eden (1988), the band attempted to extract themselves from their recording contract with EMI. 18 months of litigation followed.[1] Ultimately, Talk Talk won the case on appeal, and in 1990 they left EMI and moved to Polydor. Soon after, EMI released the compilation Natural History, a retrospective of Talk Talk's career up until that point. The compilation was surprisingly successful: it spent 21 weeks on the UK Albums Chart, peaking at #3,[2] and went on to sell over one million copies worldwide.[3]

Remixes[edit]

To promote Natural History, EMI reissued the singles "It's My Life", "Life's What You Make It", "Such a Shame", and "Living in Another World" in 1990 and 1991. New remixes for the singles' 12-inch and CD formats were commissioned and all four reissues peaked within the top 100 of the UK Singles Chart.[2] The new remixes, prepared by relatively unknown musicians outside of the band, became the basis for History Revisited. They were collected together and three more tracks were added to complete the compilation: new remixes for past singles "Talk Talk" and "Dum Dum Girl" and a remix of "Happiness is Easy" that Talk Talk members Lee Harris and Paul Webb had made in 1986.[4]

The remixes collected on History Revisited modified the source material liberally. According to EMI publicity at the time, they are "Talk Talk through the dance keyhole, taking the diverse sounds of their eighties output and giving it a nineties groove."[5] Keith Aspden, the band's manager, observed, "They haven't just remixed what is already there. They have practically replaced all the instruments with new poppy dance sounds from other people's records, even including an African chant."[5] He commented, "It's a distortion—more like History Reinvented".[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Q 4/5 stars[6]
Allmusic 2/5 stars[7]

History Revisited was released throughout the world in March 1991. It spent two weeks on the UK Albums Chart, peaking at #35.[2] Barry Mcllheney of Q magazine called the album an "interesting example of how anyone with a good tune under their belts can be made instantly danceable with the application of the correct knobs at the appropriate moments."[8] James Neiss of Record Collector thought otherwise, saying, "Talk Talk got most of their complex originals right first time around. The songs simply don't work with a different beat slung underneath."[3] Chris Woodstra of Allmusic gave it a poor rating, saying, "A nice companion piece for fans, but probably the least essential of their catalog."[9]

Band response and lawsuit[edit]

Talk Talk leader Mark Hollis was very unhappy when he found out about History Revisited. He told Melody Maker:

I've never heard any of this stuff and I don't want to hear it . . . but to have people putting this stuff out under your name which is not you, y'know, I want no part of it. It's always been very important to me that I've got on with the people we've worked with. People's attitude has always been really important to me. So much of why someone would exist on one of our albums is what they are like as a person. So to find you've got people you've never given the time of day to going out as though it's you . . . it's disgusting.[10]

Before it was released, Hollis sent letters requesting that the compilation be stopped, but EMI did not respond.[10] In November 1991, Talk Talk sued EMI, delivering four writs against their former record label.[11] The band claimed that material had been falsely attributed to them and that they were owed money from unpaid royalties.[11][5] Talk Talk won the case in 1992, and EMI agreed to withdraw and destroy all remaining copies of the album.[12][13] Manager Keith Aspden hoped that the case would set a precedent for future recording contracts.[5]

Laughing Stock, released in 1991, ended up being Talk Talk's final studio album. EMI released several more Talk Talk compilations throughout the 1990s and 2000s, though History Revisited remains out of print.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Living in Another World – '91" – 4:40
  2. "Such a Shame" – 5:41
    • Remixed by Gary Miller
  3. "Happiness is Easy (Dub)" – 7:02
    • Remixed by Paul Webb and Lee Harris
  4. "Today" – 3:24
    • Remixed by Gary Miller
  5. "Dum Dum Girl (Spice Remix)" – 4:59
  6. "Life's What You Make It" – 6:14
    • Remixed by BBG
  7. "Talk Talk" – 5:22
    • Remixed by Gary Miller
  8. "It's My Life (Tropical Rainforest Mix)" – 5:58
    • Remixed by Dominic Woosey and JJ Montana
  9. "Living in Another World (Curious World Dub Mix)" – 7:48
    • Remixed by 4 to the Floor
  10. "Life's What You Make It (The Fluke Remix)" – 6:16

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jim Irvin, "Paradise Lost," Mojo, March 2006, 54.
  2. ^ a b c Tim Rice, Paul Gambaccini, and Jonathan Rice, The Guinness Book of British Hit Albums, 7th ed. (Guinness World Records Limited, 1996).
  3. ^ a b c James Neiss, "Talk Talk," Record Collector, December 1991.
  4. ^ Ferenc Rozsa, "Talk Talk Discography", Another World, 2004.
  5. ^ a b c d "History Revisited: Pop remix faces legal challenge," The Independent.
  6. ^ Q review
  7. ^ Allmusic review
  8. ^ Barry Mcllheney, review of History Revisited, by Talk Talk, Q.
  9. ^ Chris Woodstra, review of History Revisited, by Talk Talk, Allmusic.
  10. ^ a b Steve Sutherland, "Talk Talk: Silencing the Scams," Melody Maker, September 1991.
  11. ^ a b Encyclopedia of Rock Stars, 1st ed., s.v. "Talk Talk."
  12. ^ Mark Roland, ed., "Info Freako: It's the Hollis!," Melody Maker, November 1995.
  13. ^ David Stubbs, "Mark Hollis: Talking Liberties," VOX, February 1998.