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Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis, rest in peace

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Mark Hollis, frontman for Talk Talk, has died at age 64. The BBC confirmed the very sad news Tuesday morning with former manager Keith Aspden.”Sadly it’s true. Mark has died after a short illness from which he never recovered.”

Word began spreading online Monday afternoon (2/25), after The The tweeted this:

Author Anthony Costello had also tweeted “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.” Filmmaker Tim Pope, who directed “It’s My Life,” “Life is What You Make it,” “Dum Dum Girl,” and other Talk Talk videos, also wrote “Goodbye to Mark Hollis of Talk Talk. Condolences to his lovely family. We had many, many laughs together.” There have also been tributes from Rustin Man (aka Talk Talk bassist Paul Webb), Stars, Ryley Walker, Field Music, Blur’s David Rowntree, Tim Burgess of The Charlatans, and more.

Talk Talk began as a new wave synthpop band, with such hits as “Talk Talk,” “Dum Dum Girl,” and “It’s My Life,” but with 1986’s The Colour of Spring the band began to expand its sound into more pastoral, ambient and jazz territories. Their full transformation came with 1988’s Spirit of Eden, a gorgeous record of four lengthy rock compositions that defied categorization and left behind any pop aspirations. They continued this with 1991’s classic Laughing Stock and those two albums have proven endlessly influential. The band dissolved after that in 1992. Mark Hollis released a self-titled solo album in 1998 that would follow along in much the manner of the final two Talk Talk albums, but then retired from music a few years later, saying “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.”

Rest in peace, Mark. Your music lives on. Read tributes from other artists and listen to some of Mark’s work, below.

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Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold wrote in a series of Instagram stories (via Pitchfork):

RIP to a true legend and guiding light creatively and ontologically Mark Hollis. This man has more dignity and self-respect than anybody in the music business. He just stopped. No farewell tour, no cash grab reunion, no series of bad late career mortgage-finance albums, no real interviews, no anything. It wasn’t for him, so he just stopped, because he couldn’t be a good father and tour at the same time. Simple as that. He’s my hero and 64 is far too young.

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