I'm Talking

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I'm Talking
Origin Melbourne, Australia
Genres funk-pop
Years active 1983–1987
Labels Randelli, Regular, Festival
Associated acts → ↑ →, Essendon Airport, Filthy Lucre
Past members Kate Ceberano
Stephen Charlesworth
Ian Cox
Robert Goodge
Barbara Hogarth
Cameron Newman
Zan Abeyratne
Warren McLean
Kevin Wiltshire
John McAll
Philip Jackson
Tricky J

I'm Talking was a 1980s Australian funk-pop rock band, which featured vocalists Kate Ceberano and Zan Abeyratne.[1][2] They formed in 1983 in Melbourne and provided top ten hit singles "Trust Me", "Do You Wanna Be?" and "Holy Word" and a top fifteen album, Bear Witness, before disbanding in 1987.[1][3]


After the break-up of Melbourne-based experimental funk band Essendon Airport in 1983, members Robert Goodge on guitar, Ian Cox on saxophone and Barbara Hogarth on bass guitar set about forming a band to create inventive, commercial, funk-pop music.[1][2] I'm Talking's original line-up were Kate Ceberano on vocals (ex-Expozay, Hoagy Cats), Stephen Charlesworth on keyboards, Cox, Goodge, Hogarth and Cameron Newman on drums.[1][2] They introduced sophisticated dance beat music to the pub rock scene, performing for a year before recording their debut release.[1] The EP Someday was released in May 1984 on the independent Randelli label.[1][2] They also contributed to the soundtrack of the short film More Sex Stories,[2] they attracted the attention of manager Ken West and then signed to Regular Records.[1] Zan Abeyratne (ex-Grand Wazoo, Bang) joined as a second lead vocalist.[1]

I'm Talking released "Trust Me" in December 1984, which peaked at #10 on the Kent Music Report for the Australian singles charts.[3] This was followed by "Lead the Way" in July 1985, then a cover of the Rose Royce song "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" in September, which both peaked into the top thirty.[1][3] Although their songs are credited to the band as a whole (i.e. I'm Talking), in fact Goodge and Cox wrote virtually all the music and lyrics. The group won 'Best New Talent' and 'Best Debut Single' for "Trust Me" for 1984 at the Countdown Awards ceremony broadcast in 1985.[4] On 13 July, I'm Talking performed "Lead the Way" in the 1985 Oz for Africa concert (part of the global Live Aid program). It was broadcast in Australia (on both Seven Network and Nine Network) and on MTV in the US.[5]

I’m Talking recorded their debut album Bear Witness in Melbourne, it was released in August 1986.[1] Produced by Fred Maher (drummer for Scritti Politti) and Martyn Webster,[1] it peaked at #14 in the albums charts,[3] and spawned three more singles for their Australian label Regular Records. "Do You Wanna Be", entered the charts in May and peaked at #8, this was their highest charting single.[3] "Holy Word" in August featured solo vocals by Abeyratne and peaked at #9.[1][3] "How Can it Be?" was released in October but had no charting success.[1][3] They signed to London Records in the UK but disagreements between the band and that label lead to only one single ("Do You Wanna Be") being released outside of Australia. At least three of their songs later appeared in the 1988 film For Queen & Country.[6]

After returning from their 1986 UK tour supporting Five Star, there were line-up changes, Warren McLean (ex-Machinations) replaced Newman on drums and Kevin Wiltshire was 'imported' from the UK tour as a second keyboardist. That line-up appeared on the national Australian Made tour of January 1987.[1] By March, Abeyratne, Charlesworth and McClean had left.[1] New members were John McAll on keyboards, Philip Jackson on drum machine and electronics, and rapper Tricky J. New material was performed live by this line-up, but none was recorded. Ceberano won 'Best Female Vocalist' for 1986 at the final Countdown Awards held in 1987.[7] New material was performed live in 1987, but Ceberano departed to pursue her solo career and I'm Talking disbanded in July 1987. In 1988, a compilation, Dance was released by Regular Records.[2]

After I'm Talking[edit]

After the break-up of I'm Talking, Ceberano launched her solo career; Abeyratne released three solo singles. Goodge, Cox and David Chesworth collaborated again in 1990 in the group "Power Trip featuring Mr Larry Weems".[8] Goodge also went into partnership with Gavin Campbell in the '90s to form Filthy Lucre, specialising in remixes. They were responsible for transforming Yothu Yindi's folk-rock song "Treaty" into a dance-groove hit single, he has also written and performed with Stephen Cummings since the 1990s. I'm Talking's manager, West, handled Ceberano for a brief time before going into partnership with Vivian Lees and launching their national rock festival The Big Day Out. John McAll went on to play and record with Goodge's former collaborator David Chesworth, and other jazz and rock acts.

In 2003 Goodge revived a trio of Essendon Airport with David Chesworth and Graham Lee. In 2007 Kate Ceberano appeared in the Countdown Spectacular 2 performing versions of I'm Talking's "Trust Me" and "Love Don't Live Here Anymore". As of 2008 Cox is a conservator at the State Library of Victoria.[9] In October 2010, Bear Witness (1986) was listed in the book, 100 Best Australian Albums.[10]

In 2014, Ceberano released her memoir, titled I'm Talking: My life, my words, my music, through book publisher Hachette Australia. Ceberano co-wrote the book with Tom Gilling.[11]





  • Someday - Randelli (May 1984)


  • "Trust Me"/"Take It to the Bridge" - Regular (RRSP 734) (December 1984) AUS #10
  • "Lead the Way"/"Disko (Fall in Love Forever)" - Regular (K-9778) (July 1985) AUS #25
  • "Love Don't Live Here Anymore"/"Cry Me a River" - Regular (K 9817) (September 1985) AUS #21
  • "Do You Wanna Be?"/"Do You Wanna Be? (Instrumental)" - Regular (K-9925) (May 1986) AUS #8
  • "Holy Word"/"Holy Word (Instrumental)" - Regular (K-39) (August 1986) AUS #9
  • "How Can it Be?"/"Disaster" - Regular (K-119) (October 1986)


  • Cooking with George - Various Artists. Two tracks by I'm Talking: "Here, There and Everywhere", "Scratching" - JJJ (X-13185) (1984) - Box set of five 12" EPs.
  • Dancing - I'm Talking - Regular (1988). Contains some 12" remixes.
  • True Romantic: The Best of Kate Ceberano. Two tracks by I'm Talking: "Trust Me", "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" (1999) AUS #9
  • Countdown Spectacular Live 2. Kate Ceberano and a backing band performed two songs live from her I'm Talking period: "Trust Me", "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" (2007)


  • Music videos were made for each single, from "Someday" onwards.
  • Australian Made (1988) - live festival video with INXS, Divinyls, The Saints, The Triffids and Models.
  • Countdown - The Wonder Years (2006) Retrospective compilation DVD from the TV show Countdown; one track from I'm Talking, "Trust Me"


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'I'm Talking'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86448-768-2. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "I'm Talking". Australian Rock Database. Magnus Holmgren. Retrieved 2008-01-13. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  4. ^ "Countdown Date: 19/5/1985". Countdown Archives. Retrieved 2008-12-04. 
  5. ^ "Oz for Africa". liveaid.free.fr. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  6. ^ "For Queen & Country (1988) - Soundtracks". Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  7. ^ Atkinson, Ann; Linsay Knight; Margaret McPhee (1996). The dictionary of performing arts in Australia. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-86373-898-9. Retrieved 2008-12-05. 
  8. ^ Razor Cuts Vol. 1 by Various release information: tracklist, label, label catalogue number. Music Releases Database
  9. ^ Video: Documentary Trailer - The Medieval Imagination, State Library of Victoria
  10. ^ O'Donnell, John; Creswell, Toby; Mathieson, Craig (October 2010). 100 Best Australian Albums. Prahran, Vic: Hardie Grant Books. ISBN 978-1-74066-955-9. 
  11. ^ "I'm Talking My life, my words, my music". Hachette Australia. Hachette Australia. 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Pay to Play by Wendy Milson, Helen Thomas and Ponch Hawkes, Penguin 1986
  • Australian Made - 1987, book of the January 1987 live tour

External links[edit]