Rest in peace, Mark Hollis. The legendary frontman of post-rock band Talk Talk, 64, has passed away, his manager confirmed. Learn more about Mark and his incredible career.
The world has lost another music icon. Mark Hollis, the enigmatic frontman from the post-rock band Talk Talk, has passed away at the age of 64, his manager confirmed to our sister site, Variety. Little is known about his death, but the manager did confirm that “Mark has died after a short illness from whichhe never recovered.” One of Mark’s relatives, author Anthony Costello, first announced the sad news on Twitter one day before the confirmation. “RIP Mark Hollis. Cousin-in-law. Wonderful husband and father. Fascinating and principled man. Retired from the music business 20 years ago but an indefinable musical icon,” he tweeted. Learn more about Mark and his remarkable body of work:
1. He fronted Talk Talk, the legendary new wave turned post-rock band. Talk Talk had the rare distinction of being a band that excelled in two different genres. When they started, they were a new wave synthpop group that toured with Duran Duran. But by the time they got to their third album, 1986’s The Colour of Spring, they had started experimenting with a new sound. It was an improvisational approach to music that helped launch the post-rock genre. Their final two albums before they disbanded in 1992 — 1988’s Spirit of Eden and 1991’s Laughing Stock — were fully in this genre.
2. Mark’s genius improvisational techniques made things a little hard for the band when it came to touring, though. “There is no way that I could ever play again a lot of the stuff… because I just wouldn’t know how to,” he said after releasing Spirit of Eden. “So, to play it live, to take a part that was done in spontaneity, to write it down and then get someone to play it, would lose the whole point, lose the whole purity of what it was in the first place.”
3. Talk Talk inspired so many other bands. Radiohead, Sigur Rós, and Portishead come to mind. The outpouring of love and respect from other bands that loved Talk Talk, following Mark’s death (see below), proved just how far their music reached.
4. He retired after releasing a solo album in 1998. Talk Talk disbanded in 1992, and in 1998, Mark tried his hand at going solo, releasing the self-titled album Mark Hollis. He announced his retirement from music in 2003, citing a need to be with his family. “I choose for my family. Maybe others are capable of doing it, but I can’t go on tour and be a good dad at the same time,” he said at the time.
5. Tributes are pouring in for the late musician. Mark’s former bandmate from Talk Talk, Paul Webb, posted a sweet photo of himself and Mark on Facebook, writing, “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 a depth of feeling with sound and space like no other. He was one of the greats, if not the greatest.”
Band The The posted their own tribute on Twitter, writing, “Very sorry to hear the news that #MarkHollis of #TalkTalk has died. He was behind some of the finest albums of the 1980s / early 1990s. R.I.P.” Director Tim Pope, who worked with Mark on many Talk Talk music videos, tweeted, “Goodbye to Mark Hollis of Talk Talk. Condolences to his lovely family. We had many, many laughs together.” More tributes poured in online from Stars, Ryley Walker, Field Music, Blur’s David Rowntree, and Tim Burgess of The Charlatans.
Our thoughts go out to Mark’s loved ones during this difficult time.