In Memoriam: Mark Hollis (1955 – 2019)

February 27, 2019
Editor In Chief

Mark David Hollis (January 4,1955 ā€“ February 25, 2019) was an English musician and singer-songwriter. He achieved commercial success and critical acclaim in the 1980s and 1990s as the co-founder, lead singer and principal songwriter of the band Talk Talk. Hollis wrote or co-wrote most of Talk Talk’s music, including hits like “It’s My Life” and “Life’s What You Make It”, and increasingly developed an influential experimental and contemplative style.

Beginning in 1981 as a synth-pop group with a New Romantic image, Talk Talk’s sound became increasingly adventurous under Hollis’s direction. For their third album, The Colour of Spring (1986), Talk Talk adopted an art pop sound that won critical and commercial favour; it remains their biggest commercial success. The band’s final two albums, Spirit of Eden (1988) and Laughing Stock (1991), were radical departures from their early work, taking influence from jazz, folk, classical and experimental music. While they were commercial failures in their own time, these albums have come to be seen as early landmarks of post-rock music.

After Talk Talk disbanded in 1992, Hollis returned to music in 1998 with a self-titled solo album, which continued the direction of Talk Talk’s sound but in a more minimal, spare, acoustic style. Following the release of his only solo album, Hollis largely retired from the recording industry.

Hollis died, aged 64, in February 2019 after a short illness.

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