Keyboard player Richard Zatorski ran an ad in a Melbourne Australia newspaper looking for a guitarist to work on writing songs. David Sterry answered the call, and the duo became the band Real Life. Similar to Timbuk 3, the band used a drum machine to fill out their sound for public appearances. They later added more musicians (and a real drummer).
In 1983 they released their first single in Australia, Send Me An Angel.
The record did well enough to earn them a spot on American Bandstand. In February 1984, the record peaked at #29 in the US, but the record topped the charts in New Zealand and West Germany and reached the top ten or top forty in at least six other countries.
Their follow-up single barely touched the top forty in the US. No other singles did well from either of their two albums, and that seemed to be the end for the group. In 1986 their song was used in the film Rad, and perhaps that helped give them some exposure again.
The group released several remixes of the original record in 1989. The single version was named Send Me An Angel ’89. The changes were minimal; the clearest changes are the additional echoings of “Don’t give up” under the vocals (only one partial echo at 1:47 on the original single) and some muffling of the drums. While the new record did not fare as well as the first release, it did inch up higher on the US charts, reaching #26. The biggest success the band had with those mixes was with a special extended dance mix. That version ran over six minutes and reached #5 on the US Dance Chart.
Richard had left the group before the rerelease of the single and a new edit of their video was produced for the US that used the new remix and removed all appearances of Richard.
The band (or at least David performing as Real Life) has joined the Lost 80s Live tours going back as far as 2008 and as recently as the Summer of 2019.