Influential synth pop and post-rock musician Mark Hollis of Talk Talk has died at the age of 64. Hollis’ death after a short illness was confirmed by his manager Keith Aspden.
Hollis, drummer Lee Harris, bassist Paul Webb and keyboardist Simon Brenner formed Talk Talk in London, England in 1981. The group’s debut album, The Party’s Over, was released in 1982. Brenner left the following year and the remaining trio went on to release several acclaimed albums including 1984’s It’s My Life, 1986’s The Colour Of Spring and 1988’s Spirit Of Eden. Talk Talk’s final album was 1991’s Laughing Stock.
Hollis was born in London on January 4, 1955. He formed the short-lived The Reaction in the late-1970s, recording a lone single, “I Can’t Resist,” prior to breaking up in 1978. Following his stint fronting Talk Talk, during which the band had hits such as “It’s My Life,” “Such a Shame,” “Life’s What You Make It” and “Living in Another World,” Hollis emerged in 1998 with his self-titled debut solo album. Hollis largely retired after the release of Mark Hollis, occasionally appearing on recordings in subsequent years.
“I am very shocked and saddened to hear the news of the passing of Mark Hollis,” Webb wrote. “Musically he was a genius and it was a honour and a privilege to have been in a band with him. I have not seen Mark for many years, but like many musicians of our generation I have been profoundly influenced by his trailblazing musical ideas. He knew how to create a depth of feeling with sound and space like no other. He was one of the greats, if not the greatest.”
Many other musicians have shared messages of appreciation and admiration for Hollis’ influence on their work. Find some of those tributes below:
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I am very shocked and saddened to hear the news of the passing of Mark Hollis. Musically he was a genius and it was a honour and a privilege to have been in a band with him. I have not seen Mark for many years, but like many musicians of our generation I have been profoundly influenced by his trailblazing musical ideas. He knew how to create depth of feeling with sound and space like no other. He was one of the greats, if not the greatest. . . . . #markhollis #talktalk
Mark Hollis captured so many of us with his haunting approach to song and the compelling ways he presented simplistic mountains of sound. He was an educator of emotion and a voice for the blood throat shadows of tomorrow. This is a loss amongst many.
— Broken Social Scene (@bssmusic) February 25, 2019
Mark Hollis is up there with Neil Young/Sonny Sharrock/Hendrix for most physical/blasting minimalism/spiritual guitar solos. No matter how far out every phrase belongs. Fucking….bummer. True head
— Ryley walker (@ryleywalker) February 25, 2019
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Yesterday the world lost Mark Hollis the visionary behind Talk Talk. His music and legacy rivals any of other creative force in my opinion. But more specifically I feel a need to share his importance in my life. I’ve mentioned before how I escaped to the beach in Wildwood NJ in order to write the songs for Eraserland. Well I also was either running away or confronting a very dark and pretty hopeless bout with depression. It’s hard for me to process or really understand how low I had gotten but it’s safe to say I’d never been more lost in my life. Through the course of a few weeks I would walk endlessly on the beach absolutely alone. I had a quiet voice in my head constantly telling me to just go in the water and slip away. In my state of mind it seemed like a very real and logical solution. Yes I was writing songs but when I say things like Forever Chords felt like the last song I’d ever write at that moment it was very real. Then one cloudy freezing morning I went for another walk. This time I decided to put on Talk Talk’s album Spirit of Eden. As I the album unfolded I felt like I was in communication with the universe, maybe God, maybe just my true self. Spirit of Eden is a prayer and a discussion with existence and it was the singular gateway for me to do that with my own life. Eraserland’s DNA is interwoven with Mark Hollis and the gifts he gave through music. I rarely take pictures but the second picture is the exact moment when I realized I would be okay and the universe answered back with a perfect blue sky. I urge any of you who haven’t heard it to dig in, perhaps before you hear Eraserland to understand and perhaps find that communication with your own existence. Music saves it truly does. Thank you Mark your work will continue for the rest of time.
— Duran Duran (@duranduran) February 25, 2019