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"Life's What You Make It" is a song by the English band Talk Talk. It was released as a single in 1985, the first from the band's album The Colour of Spring. The single was a hit in the UK, peaking at no. 16, and charted in numerous other countries, often reaching the Top 20.

Filmed at Wimbledon Common, London, the promotional video for the single shows the band performing in the early hours in a natural history setting. The video, directed by Tim Pope, enjoyed heavy rotation on MTV.

The track was re-released as a single in 1990, charting for a second time.


 [hide*1 Track listings

Track listings[edit][]

1985 release
7" single
  1. "Life's What You Make It" — 4:25
  2. "It's Getting Late in the Evening" — 5:47
12" maxi
  1. "Life's What You Make It" (extended version) — 6:39
  2. "It's Getting Late in the Evening" — 5:47
1986 release
2 x 12" maxi - UK
  1. "Life's What You Make It" (extended version) — 8:16
  2. "It's Getting Late in the Evening" — 5:43
  3. "It's My Life" (12" remix) — 6:16
  4. "Does Caroline Know?" — 4:33
  5. "It's My Life (7" version)" — 3:50
12 maxi - U.S.
  1. "Life's What You Make It" (extended mix) — 6:54
  2. "It's Getting Late in the Evening" (7" version) — 5:44
  3. "Life's What You Make It" (dub version) — 6:06
1990 release
CD maxi
  1. "Life's What You Make It" — 4:29
  2. "Tomorrow Started" (live from Hammersmith Odeon) — 7:47
  3. "Life's What You Make It" (live from Hammersmith Odeon) — 4:41
12" maxi
  1. "Life's What You Make It" (the fluke remix) — 6:16
  2. "Life's What You Make It" (the Dominic Woosey remix) — 8:21
12" maxi
  1. "Life's What You Make It" (the BBG remix) — 5:54
  2. "Life's What You Make It" (the fluke remix) — 6:00


Chart (1985–1986) Peak


Australia (Kent Music Report)[2] 70
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[3] 14
Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders)[4] 14
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[5] 48
France (SNEP)[6] 49
Germany (Media Control AG)[7] 24
Ireland (IRMA)[8] 17
Italy (FIMI)[9] 14
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[10] 13
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[11] 11
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[12] 11
Poland (LP3)[13] 21
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[14] 17
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[15] 16
US Billboard Hot 100[16] 90
US BillboardHot Dance Club Play1[16] 22
US BillboardHot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales1[16] 40
US BillboardTop Rock Tracks[16] 26
US Cash Box[17] 88
Chart (1990) Peak


Ireland (IRMA)[8] 23
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[18] 23



The song was one of the last to be conceived for The Colour of Spring, following concern from the band’s management at the lack of an obvious single among accumulated work. Initially unwilling, Mark Hollis and Tim Friese-Greene, the principal source of original material for the band, accepted the task as a challenge. Friese-Greene: "I had a drum pattern loosely inspired by Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill and Mark was playingGreen Onions organ over the top." (Making no. 3 in the UK Singles Chart, "Running Up That Hill" had been released in August 1985.) The track was embellished with David Rhodes’ guitar hook.[19]

Other recordings and uses[edit][]

The Divine Comedy did an acoustic version of the song in 1993, available on the limited edition of A Secret History... The Best of the Divine Comedy. German rock band Zinoba recorded a version that featured in the film Gegen die Wand (Head-On), directed by Fatih Akın (2004), during the closing credits. The Gathering covered the song on their 2005 album Accessories - Rarities and B-Sides. Also, a cover version was included as a bonus track on the UK version of Weezer's 2008 album Weezer (The Red Album). And Australian post-punk singer Rowland S. Howard also covered the song, on his second solo album Pop Crimes in 2009. In 2011 the Danish band Dúné made a version of the song in connection to the movie ID:A.[20]

The track appeared in the game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City in 2002, where it plays on the pop radio station, Flash FM.