Mark Hollis, lead singer of Talk Talk, has reportedly died

Reports came in last night that Mark Hollis, of post-rock pioneers Talk Talk has died at the age of 64.

Bekki Bemrose
  • By Bekki Bemrose
  • 26 Feb 2019
  • min read
Reports came in last night (Monday) that Mark Hollis, of post-rock pioneers Talk Talk, has died at the age of 64.

His cousin-in-law Anthony Costello tweeted on Monday: ‘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.’

Talk Talk’s bassist Paul Webb took to Instagram to pay tribute to his former bandmate, saying: ‘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.”

Talk Talk were formed in 1981, with Hollis as the lead singer and primary songwriter alongside bassist Paul Webb, keyboard player Simon Brenner and drummer Lee Harris.

The band soon found chart success with the singles Talk Talk (1982), It’s My Life and Such a Shame (1984) and earned critical acclaim for albums like 1988's Spirit of Eden.

Relations later soured with their label EMI following which Webb left before the band signed to Polydor for what would be last album, 1991’s Laughing Stock.

Following the band’s split, Hollis released a self-titled solo album in 1998 before retiring from the music industry, having previously expressed a desire to spend more time with his family.

Figures from the music industry responded to his death by paying tribute across social media.

Jane Weaver tweeted: ‘Rip Mark Hollis ...your beautiful other worldly landscape of melodies.’

Wendy Smith of Prefab Sprout posted: ‘Talk Talk I Believe In You, Mark Hollis, one of my most favourite songs ever. The most enigmatic, elusive and brilliant songwriter, singer and musician. A huge loss’

Field Music added: ‘Very sad to hear that Mark Hollis has died. You might have experienced the wonder of those final three Talk Talk albums but his 1998 solo album is just as beautiful and has been an endless source of musical and conceptual inspiration to us.’