Talk Talk Frontman, Mark Hollis, Dead at 64

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Mark Hollis, from the “It’s My Life” video

Mark Hollis, the lead singer, co-founder, and principal songwriter of the synth pop band, Talk Talk, who had several 1980s hits including 1984’s “It’s My Life,” has died.

On February 25, 2019, various news sources reported his death based on social media posts from a variety of Hollis’ relatives, former band mates and collaborators. Hollis, born in London on January 4, 1955, would have been 64. No precise day or cause of his death has been cited thus far.

Talk Talk’s bass guitarist, Paul Webb, wrote on his Facebook page:

“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.”

Hollis (vocals, guitar, piano), Webb and Lee Harris (drums) formed Talk Talk in 1981. Their 1982 debut album, The Party’s Over, included a #14 U.K. hit with “Today.” A self-titled single, “Talk Talk,” earned the group modest success in the U.S. at #75, reaching #23 in the U.K.

A follow-up album, It’s My Life, reached #42 in the U.S., thanks to the title track featuring Hollis’ haunting vocal which became their biggest American hit, peaking at #31 on the Hot 100. When the single was re-released a few years later in the U.K. it, too, became the group’s highest-charting single there, reaching #13.

Tim Pope, who directed the video for “It’s My Life,” and several others, for Talk Talk, tweeted: “Goodbye to Mark Hollis of Talk Talk. Condolences to his lovely family. We had many, many laughs together.”

Talk Talk scored many more mid-chart singles in the U.K. and disbanded in 1991. Hollis released a solo album years later (1998) and then retired from music, saying: “I can’t go on tour and be a good dad at the same time.”

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  1. Jon
    #1 Jon 25 February, 2019, 21:54

    Sounds a lot like Bryan Ferry. RIP

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