Mark Hollis, Lead Singer of Talk Talk, Dies at 64

British rock band had hits in the 1980s including “It’s My Life” and “Such a Shame”

Last Updated: February 26, 2019 @ 6:54 AM

Mark Hollis, lead singer for the 1980s rock band Talk Talk, has died. He was 64.

“Mark has died after a short illness from which he never recovered,” former manager Keith Aspden told BBC News on Tuesday.

“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,” Aspden went on to tell NPR.

The British rock band Talk Talk earned mainstream success in the ’80s with hits including “It’s My Life,” “Today,” “Life’s What You Make it,” and “Such a Shame.”

After the band broke up in 1991, Hollis released a solo album in 1998 but then left music and removed himself from public view.

“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 said in an interview with a Dutch outlet at the time.

Talk Talk’s bassist Paul Webb paid tribute to his former bandmate via Instagram on Tuesday, 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.”

Born in the Tottenham area of London, Hollis dropped out of college as a teenager and began songwriting while working in a factory. He formed a band called The Reaction, which released just one single before breaking up. Hollis then met Paul Webb, Lee Harris and Simon Brenner — the group became Talk Talk and soon signed with EMI Records.

News of Hollis’ death prompted an outpouring of support from the music world, many of whom were influenced by the New Romantic sound of Talk Talk.

“Talk Talk, which he co-founded and fronted, were on tour with us in 1982,” Duran Duran singer Simon LeBon wrote on Twitter. “It made for a tremendous and very entertaining bill.”

“Been relistening to Mark Hollis’s dream-soaked Spirit of Eden today,” Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet said. “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.”

See the tributes below: