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I'm Talking are an 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] The group reunited in October 2018, and went on a 2019 tour as well as a series of small venue shows.

I'm Talking
OriginMelbourne, Victoria, Australia
GenresFunk, pop
Years active1983–1987; 2018–present
LabelsRandelli, Regular, Festival, Bloodlines
Associated acts→ ↑ →, Essendon Airport, Filthy Lucre
MembersKate Ceberano
Zan Abeyratne
Robert Goodge
Barbara Hogarth
Stephen Charlesworth
Miles Henry
Brodie Everist
Past membersIan Cox
Cameron Newman
Warren McLean
Kevin Wiltshire
John McAll
Philip Jackson
Tricky J
Susie Ahern



1983–1987: Bear WitnessEdit

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 was 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 November 1984,[4] which peaked at #10 on the Kent Music Report for the Australian singles charts.[3] This was followed by "Lead the Way" in June 1985,[5] then a cover of the Rose Royce song "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" in August,[6] which both peaked into the top thirty.[1][3] Although their songs were initially 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.[7] 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 the Seven Network and Nine Network) and on MTV in the US.[8]

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, becoming their highest charting single.[3] "Holy Word", released in July 1986,[9] featured solo vocals by Abeyratne and peaked at #9.[1][3] "How Can It Be?" was released in October 1986,[10] and although it failed to enter the top 100,[1][3] it was listed among a list of singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100 in November 1986.[11] They signed to London Records in the UK but disagreements between the band and that label led to "Do You Wanna Be?" being the only single released outside of Oceania. "Holy Word" appeared on the soundtrack to the 1987 horror film Howling III.[12] At least three of their songs later appeared in the 1988 film For Queen & Country.[13]

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 McLean had left.[1] New members were John McAll on keyboards, Philip Jackson on drum machine and electronics, Susie Ahern on backing vocals, and rapper Tricky J (Julien Lodge). New material was performed live by this line-up, but none was recorded. Ceberano won 'Most Popular Female Performer' for 1986 at the final Countdown Awards held in 1987.[14] 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, Dancing was released by Regular Records.[2]

1988–2017: After I'm TalkingEdit

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".[15] Goodge also went into partnership with Gavin Campbell and Paul Main 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. Goodge 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.[16] In October 2010, Bear Witness (1986) was listed in the book, 100 Best Australian Albums.[17]

In 2014, Ceberano released her memoir, I'm Talking: My life, my words, my music, published by Hachette Australia. Ceberano co-wrote the book with Tom Gilling.[18]

2018–present: Reunion and Dyin' to Be Dancin'Edit

In March 2018 Bear Witness was re-released with additional tracks, and the band started an official YouTube channel. The album was re-mastered for vinyl, cd, and digital download.[19]

On 16 October 2018, the members of I'm Talking announced their return to the stage in 2019 as the supporting act for Bryan Ferry's Australian tour, between February and April. The reformed lineup consists of five of the seven original members: Goodge, Hogarth, Charlesworth, Ceberano, and Abeyratne. Ian Cox and Cameron Newman did not return due to personal commitments. The group also have not ruled out about whether they'll record or perform any new material beyond that. About the reunited group, Ceberano stated that she was "very excited about performing with I'm Talking again after so many years," adding that "[t]he music still sounds so great – fans are gonna love it!"[20][21][22] On 9 November 2018, the group performed a acoustic set of cover songs during a segment on Myf Warhurst's ABC Radio program.[23] The group later performed a special concert for their fans in Melbourne on 11 February 2019, which received great reviews.[24] On 15 February 2019, the group released a live album titled Dyin' to Be Dancin, which was recorded between 1984-1986. With the success of the reunion and renewed interest from its fan base, the members have already signaled intentions to do more shows and possibly work on new music in the future.


Summarised from sources:[1][2][20]

  • Kate Ceberano – vocals (1983–1987, 2019)
  • Stephen Charlesworth – keyboards (1983–1987, 2019)
  • Ian Cox – saxophone (1983–1987)
  • Robert Goodge – guitar (1983–1987, 2019)
  • Barbara Hogarth – bass guitar (1983–1987, 2019)
  • Cameron Newman – drums (1983–1986)
  • Zan Abeyratne – vocals (1984–1987, 2019)
  • Warren McLean – drums (1986–1987)
  • Kevin Wiltshire – keyboards (1986–1987 session musician)
  • John McAll – keyboards (1987)
  • Philip Jackson – drum machine, electronics (1987)
  • Tricky J (Julien Lodge) – rapping (1987)
  • Susie Ahern – backing vocals (1987)
  • Miles Henry – drums (2019)
  • Brodie Everist – saxophone (2019)



Year Details Peak chart positions Accreditation
1986 Bear Witness
  • Released: 4 August 1986[26]
  • Label: Regular Records (RML 53202)
  • Format: LP, cassette, CD
1988 Dancing
  • Released: 12 December 1988[29]
  • Remix album
  • Label: Regular (18009)
  • Format: LP, cassette, VHS
2019 Dyin' to Be Dancin' (I'm Talking Live 1984–1986)

Extended playEdit

Year Details
1984 Someday
  • Released: May 1984
  • Label: Randelli (RR-84-1)
  • Format: LP


List of singles as lead artist, with selected chart positions
Year Title Peak chart positions Album
1984 "Trust Me" 10 non-album singles
1985 "Lead the Way" 25
"Love Don't Live Here Anymore" 21
1986 "Do You Wanna Be?" 8 30 Bear Witness
"Holy Word" 9 21
"How Can It Be?"

See alsoEdit

  • 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.
  • True Romantic: The Best of Kate Ceberano. Compilation of Kate Ceberano recordings including two tracks by I'm Talking: "Trust Me" and "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" (1999) – AUS #9[32]
  • 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)
  • Anthology. Compilation of Kate Ceberano recordings including two tracks by I'm Talking: "Trust Me" and "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" (2016) – AUS #9


  • Music videos were made for each single, from "Someday" onwards.
  • Australian Made: The Movie (1987) – live festival documentary with INXS, Divinyls, The Saints, The Triffids and Models, contains one I'm Talking song "Lead the Way". DVD re-released November 2016.[33]
  • Countdown – The Wonder Years (2006) – Retrospective compilation DVD from the TV show Countdown; one track from I'm Talking, "Trust Me"[34]


  • Countdown Awards 1984: Best New Talent – I'm Talking, and Best Debut Single - "Trust Me"
  • Countdown Awards 1986: Most Popular Female Performer – Kate Ceberano

Further readingEdit

  • Pay to Play by Wendy Milson, Helen Thomas and Ponch Hawkes, Penguin 1986 (Includes interview with Cox and Goodge)
  • Baker, Glenn A.; Bob King (1987). Glenn A. Baker, ed. Australian made, gonna have a good time tonight : the authorised documentary of the event. Sydney, N.S.W.: Fontana Collins. ISBN 0-00-636921-9. (book of the January 1987 live tour)
  • O'Donnell, John; Creswell, Toby; Mathieson, Craig (2010). 100 Best Australian Albums. Prahran, Vic: Hardie Grant Books. ISBN 978-1-74066-955-9.[35]
  • Dig: Australian Rock and Pop Music 1960-1985 by David Nichols, 2016


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'I'm Talking'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86448-768-2. Retrieved 24 January 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "I'm Talking". Australian Rock Database. Magnus Holmgren. Archived from the original on 23 June 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). St Ives: Australian Chart Book. p. 145. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. N.B. The Kent Report chart was licensed by ARIA between mid 1983 and 19 June 1988.
  4. ^ "Kent Music Report No 543 – 26 November 1984 > Singles: New Releases". (original document published by Kent Music Report). Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Kent Music Report No 572 – 24 June 1985 > Singles: New Releases". (original document published by Kent Music Report). Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Kent Music Report No 581 – 26 August 1985 > Singles: New Releases". (original document published by Kent Music Report). Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Countdown Date: 19/5/1985". Countdown Archives. Retrieved 4 December 2008.
  8. ^ "Oz for Africa". Retrieved 12 March 2008.
  9. ^ "Kent Music Report No 628 – 28 July 1986 > Singles: New Releases". (original document published by Kent Music Report). Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  10. ^ "Kent Music Report No 640 – 20 October 1986 > Singles: New Releases". (original document published by Kent Music Report). Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Kent Music Report No 643 - 10 November 1986 > National Top 100 Singles (66–100) > Singles receiving significant sales reports beyond the top 100". (original document published by Kent Music Report). Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "For Queen & Country (1988) - Soundtracks". Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved 24 January 2009.
  14. ^ Atkinson, Ann; Linsay Knight; Margaret McPhee (1996). The dictionary of performing arts in Australia. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-86373-898-9. Retrieved 5 December 2008.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Video: Documentary Trailer - The Medieval Imagination, State Library of Victoria Archived 12 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ O'Donnell, John; Creswell, Toby; Mathieson, Craig (October 2010). 100 Best Australian Albums. Prahran, Vic: Hardie Grant Books. ISBN 978-1-74066-955-9.
  18. ^ "I'm Talking My life, my words, my music". Hachette Australia. Hachette Australia. 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  19. ^
  20. ^ a b Cashmere, Paul (17 October 2018). "I'm Talking Reform For 2019 Bryan Ferry Tour". Noise11. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  21. ^ Kate Ceberano: "I never thought this would happen." from (18 October 2018)
  22. ^ "Bryan Ferry Returns to Australia February / March 2019 with Very Special Guests I'm Talking, Died Pretty, and Models" from A Day on the Green (16 October 2018)
  23. ^ Myf Warhurst's broadcast 9 November 2018 from ABC Radio Australia (9 November 2018)
  24. ^ "Reformed I'm Talking play their first show in 30 years at Memo Music Hall"". Noise11. 12 February 2019. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  25. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives: Australian Chart Book. p. 145. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  26. ^ "Kent Music Report No 629 – 4 August 1986 > LP & Tape: New Releases". (original document published by Kent Music Report). Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  27. ^ Axton, Heidi (2008). Icons of Tomorrow. Australia. p. 132. ISBN 9780646494357.
  28. ^ "Kate Ceberano". Tas talent. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  29. ^ "Platterlog : LP & Tape – New Releases > 12 December 1988". (original document published by Platterlog). Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  30. ^ "Dyin' To Be Dancin' - I'm Talking Live 1984-1986 (Vinyl)". JB Hi-Fi. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  31. ^ " > I'm Talking in New Zealand Charts". Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  32. ^ " > Kate Ceberano – True Romantic – The Best of (album)". Hung Medien. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ "100 Best Australian Albums". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 2 November 2010.

External linksEdit