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Mark Hollis (1955–2019), Talk Talk frontman

Getty Images / Martyn Goodacre

'80s synth-pop band known for hits “Talk Talk” and “It’s My Life”

Mark Hollis was the co-founder, lead singer, guitarist, and principal songwriter of the 1980s British synth-pop band Talk Talk. The band was popular during the early MTV new wave era with the hit songs “Talk Talk,” and “It’s My Life.” They moved to new romantic art rock for their 1985 album, “The Colour of Spring,” which included the hit “Life’s What You Make It.”

In 1988, the band released the critically acclaimed but commercial flop, “Spirit of Eden,” a highly influential pioneering post-rock record. Hollis released one solo album after the band broke up in 1991 and then left the music industry, retreating from the public eye.  

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Died: Monday February 25, 2019 (Who else died on February 25?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 64, confirmed by former manager Keith Aspden


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On leaving the music industry:  “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.” —Hollis in an interview with Q magazine

Statement from Talk Talk bassist Paul Webb: “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.”


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Music stars paid tribute on Twitter:

Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran: "Talk Talk, which he co-founded and fronted, were on tour with us in 1982," "It made for a tremendous and very entertaining bill. "Mark was the main songwriter of some truly great songs, including It's My Life and Such a Shame."

Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet: “Been re-listening to Mark Hollis’s dream-soaked Spirit of Eden today. His influence upon music was immense and far reaching. A great presence in the modern era who took his bow far too early but has left us so much still to be moved by.”

The The: “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.”

Full obituary: BBC

Related lives:

New Wave Music Icons Gallery

1980s Music Stars Gallery