Mark Hollis, lead singer of Talk Talk, dies at age 64

Figures from the world of music have paid tribute to Mark Hollis, frontman of the band Talk Talk, following his death at the age of 64.

Hollis’s manager, Keith Aspden, confirmed the news. “I can’t tell you how much Mark influenced and changed my perceptions on art and music. I’m grateful for the time I spent with him and for the gentle beauty he shared with us.”

With Hollis as its singer and creative mastermind, the group made a name with 1980s hit singles such as “It’s My Life”, “Today”, “Talk, Talk” and “Life’s What You Make It”. They progressed to albums like “Spirit of Eden”, which was hailed as a “masterpiece”, and “Laughing Stock”.

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, aka Rustin Man, paid tribute to Hollis. “I am very shocked and saddened to hear the news of the passing of Mark Hollis,” he wrote. “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.”

“It’s certainly a reaction to the music that’s around at the moment, ‘cos most of that is shit,” Hollis also said of Spirit of Eden. “It’s only radical in the modern context. It’s not radical compared to what was happening 20 years ago. If we’d have delivered this album to the record company 20 years ago they wouldn’t have batted an eyelid.”

Hollis released his first and only solo album, also called Mark Hollis, in 1998. When asked about his decision not to tour anymore or maintain a public persona, he said “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 later retired from the music industry, and was little heard from publicly. An article about him last year was headlined “How to disappear completely.”

His last known music was created for TV drama Boss starring Kelsey Grammer and TI.

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