Peers Remember Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis
The death of Mark Hollis, former singer in the band Talk Talk, was confirmed after speculative reports circulated that he died at the age of 64. His former manager, Keith Aspden, told the BBC that “Mark … died after a short illness from which he never recovered."
Tributes were paid to Hollis, whose band had initially been grouped with British synth-pop outfits of the ‘80s like Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran, with hits including 1984’s “It’s My Life.” Talk Talk later followed an increasingly experimental path and became regarded as pioneers of post-rock, best illustrated by their fourth album Spirit of Eden, which was released in 1988.
Def Leppard bassist Rick Savage tweeted that he heard the news “with some sadness” and called Hollis a “great singer and true master of the well-crafted yet soulful pop song.” Vernon Reid of Living Colour described him as “subtle & wonderful” and said Talk Talk had “set the table” for post-rock, while Duran Duran said Hollis’ “talent will be remembered & his music will live on.”
The BBC reported that Hollis tried to distance himself from the synth-pop comparisons from his band’s early days. “It’s gets tiring," he once said. "I can’t hear it myself. I get depressed about the whole thing, Kids ought to know about music, not image.”
When Spirit of Eden – once described as “almost heroically uncommercial" – was a failure on its release, the band was dropped and the LP was deleted after three months on sale. Talk Talk split after making one final album, 1991's Laughing Stock.
Hollis released his self-titled solo album in 1998 before retiring from music for family reasons, saying he couldn't be a good parent and a working musician at the same time. “Before you play two notes, learn how to play one note, and don’t play one not until you’ve got a reason to play it,” he said around the time of his last release.