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I'm Talking was a 1980s Australian funk-pop rock band, which featured vocalists Kate Ceberano and Zan Abeyratne. 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.


After the break-up of Melbournemarker-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. 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. They introduced sophisticated dance beat music to the pub rock scene, performing for a year before recording their debut release. The EP Someday was released in May 1984 on the independent Randelli label. They also contributed to the soundtrack of the short film More Sex Stories, they attracted the attention of manager Ken West and then signed to Regular Records. Zan Abeyratne (ex-Grand Wazoo, Bang) joined as a second lead vocalist.

I'm Talking released "Trust Me" in December 1984, which peaked at #10 on the Kent Music Report for the Australian singles charts. 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. 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. 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.

I’m Talking recorded their debut album Bear Witness in Melbourne, it was released in August 1986. Produced by Fred Maher (drummer for Scritti Politti) and Martyn Webster, it peaked at #14 in the albums charts, 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. "Holy Word" in August featured solo vocals by Abeyratne and peaked at #9. "How Can it Be?" was released in October but had no charting success. 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.

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 joined as a second keyboardist. That line-up appeared on the national Australian Made tour of January 1987. By March, Abeyratne, Charlesworth and McClean had left. New members were John McCall on keyboards, Philip Jackson on drum machine and electronics, and rapper Tricky J. However, no new material was recorded by this line-up. Ceberano won 'Best Female Vocalist' for 1986 at the final Countdown Awards held in 1987. New material was performed live in 1987, but Ceberano departed to pursue her solo career and I'm Talking disbanded in July 1987. In 1989, a compilation, Dance was released by Regular Records.

After the break-up of I'm Talking, Abeyratne released three solo singles. Goodge went into partnership with Gavin Campbell 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. 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.

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 Victoriamarker.




  • Bear Witness (1986) AUS #14
  • Dance (1989) – compilation album

EPs and singles

  • "Someday" (1984)
  • "Trust Me" (1985) AUS #10
  • "Lead the Way" (1985) AUS #25
  • "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" (1985) AUS #21
  • "Do You Wanna Be?" (1986) AUS #8
  • "Holy Word" (1986) AUS #9
  • "How Can it Be?" (1986)


  • 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"


Further reading

  • 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

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