Mark Hollis dies aged 64

Sad news tonight, as it’s confirmed that Talk Talk frontman Mark Hollis has died age 64. The singer and musician was the driving force behind the band’s five studio albums which were released between 1982 and 1991.

No details, as yet, on the cause of death but for now, feel free to leave comments about Mark and what the music of Talk Talk might have meant to you.

163 responses to Mark Hollis dies aged 64

  1. craig beattie says:

    The only musician I have actually shed a tear upon hearing the news of his death, even now 1 year on makes me cry when I listen to his music and voice

  2. Karen Brooks says:

    Like Mark, I was born in Tottenham and as far back as I can remember my family have supported Tottenham Hotspur (I even married a THFC supporter!!)
    Mark’s voice was wonderful and like no other, the music and lyrics of Talk Talk’s music was haunting and everlasting.
    May you rest in peace dear man…………

    Karen Brooks, Norfolk.

  3. Julian H says:

    I’m still not sure I’ve processed it. It’s a shame Mark basically stopped making music and seemed to veto almost any reissue projects (Steven Wilson wanted to do surround mixes!) but we can at least appreciate what he did produce and release. And those records, especially the middle three Talk Talk albums, will stand up as great art for many, many decades. Mark was a great singer, a great songwriter, and somebody who had ‘ideas’ that went beyond just simply pop music. RIP :(

  4. Florentino Stabile says:

    Very sad to learn. For me always adored his voice. Loved his music…. I mean what is there not to love about the Colour of Spring. On a winter which seems to last a lifetime and ironic that spring is taking time to arrive… this genius leaves us.
    One of the best from the UK and still ahead of their time. Talk Talk.

    R.I.P. Mark Hollis you shall be missed but lucky for us… we have your music to cherish forever


  5. Andrew MacLeod aka Big Blue 72 (second attempt!) says:

    The consideration shown in each comment for Mark Hollis and his family, the knowledge of Talk Talk and the deep sense of connection to Talk Talk and Mark’s music helps me realise that my sense of loss, whilst miniscule in significance when compared to that of his family and close friends, is shared by others.

    A mate of mine once said, you don’t choose your music, your music chooses you.

    I first heard the single Talk Talk in 1982. Fresh and vibrant and pop and fun. I loved it. I picked up The Party’s Over, their first LP, and then I got It’s My Life for 50p. I continued to enjoy them through their third album. All their singles output remained listenable and contemporary, good pop fun.

    Then, in the early 90’s I was on a Virgin long-haul flight. In the audio option there was one of those “tracks chosen by the crew” compilations. That was where I first heard I Believe in You. On that flight I listened more than once to it, many times. For goodness sake it blew my mind. Here am I listening to one of my favourite pop bands playing music that would fit well beside anything created by Miles Davis, The Blue Nile and Eno. Singing lyrics that capture and echo feelings explored by Jackie Leven and Will Oldham. And all this by Talk Talk, one of my great pop bands.

    I then started listening to Talk Talk with new ears. I picked up Mark Hollis’ solo album when it came out. Over the years I’ve shared that music with many friends. Talk Talk’s music, and Mark’s solo work helps me explore my sorrow and joys. It never fails to move those who hear it.

    On Youtube there is a video, recorded for a Netherlands tv show, of Mark and Talk Talk playing I Believe in You. He is clearly lip-synching. (Lip-synching was a common thing back in the day for many reasons, not all bad). If you watch him, despite that he is miming, Mark inhabits that song. Those words, those feelings.

    Mark Hollis. Thank you. Your music matters immensely to me.

    To Mark’s family. My sincere condolences.

  6. Robbert Madlem says:

    Some of the most beautiful vocals and music I have ever experienced. Thank you, Mark. May you sing in the heavens above.

  7. Strawdog says:

    Have to say, this news was not a good start to the week at all. I regard the final three albums by Talk Talk as simply brilliant, so the passing of the driving force behind such works is very sad indeed.

    I didn’t know Mark Hollis had released a solo album (ignorant me), until I started going through the comments here. A quick look at the various amazon sites around the world made it clear to me I might have to wait a bit before I could hear it … . Fast forward to Thursday, and I am wading through the cheap old stock of CDs at my local branch of Saturn – boxes and boxes of it, no order to the things at all. Then, suddenly, I see the name ‘Mark Hollis’: a brand-new, shrink-wrapped copy of his album, for five euros.

    I am very happily freaked out.

    • SimonP says:

      Congratulations on finding a brilliant bargain. A little known fact is that it was originally to be a Talk Talk album called Mountains of the Moon.

  8. Steve says:

    Very shocking and sad news of Mark Hollis’ death. He was too young. As any fan, who knew the man was ill ? I had always hoped that he would some day come back to music and record a new album but, it was sadly not to be. I love his music and still regularly play Talk Talk several times a year.

  9. Pete Goddard says:

    I’m so saddened to read the news of Mark’s passing. When I first heard the “It’s My Life” album as a young teenager in the mid 1980’s I was instantly captured by its inspiring beauty. From that moment I knew that this was the work of a creative genius. Even as Talk Talk moved away from the mainstream and into a higher plane with the release of the brilliant ‘Spirit Of Eden’, when Mark and the band so unashamedly chose to forge their own path, I was still hooked. This is the work of a sonic master. The song ‘I Believe In You’ reaches a part of me that no other musician’s work has, and will do so forever.

    Rest in peace Mark.

  10. Paul L says:

    Laughing Stock is very simply one of the best albums ever recorded. An absolute triumph. I will miss Mark Hollis so much but your music lives on. Rest in peace.

  11. Geoff G from Canberra, Australia says:

    Can I just add to the wonderful comments made by music lovers on this page about the contribution of Mark Hollis and Talk Talk to the world we live in. My journey with Talk Talk began with Its my life which I bought as a vinyl single when it first came out and used to blast out over the speakers when I got home from my fairly dreary job at the time.

    I then progressed to Colour of Spring which I think is one of the greatest albums ever made. Spirit of Eden is terrific and gets a run in the household when I feel like some contemplative music but I keep returning to Colour of Spring and Its my Life as the music has wonderful uplifting energy which they captured and reproduced live on stage. The interesting thing is I met my partner Claudia in the early 1990s and one of her favourite albums was Colour of Spring so Mark and the band were in part responsible for my relationship over the past 26 years.

    Hearing of Mark’s death left a very empty feeling for both of us as while he was alive I could still hold on to the forlorn hope that he may one day share his wonderful music with us again. Thank you Mark.

  12. Mark S. says:

    I don’t have much to add to the below. It is truly lovely to see how much he and his music meant to so many. Sometimes you think it is just you! But, for what it’s worth …

    I was 15 and looking for something beyond the charts, and was intrigued by the cover art for “Spirit of Eden”. I vaguely remembered “Life’s What You Make It” from a couple of years before, but essentially bought it blind. I had never heard anything like the start of “The Rainbow”. Then, at 18, just before going to uni (Sussex, coincidentally – there was a solitary tree outside my window in a wide field which instantly reminded me of THAT tree, I wonder if that was there when – and if? – Mark studied there) “Laughing Stock” comes out (again with a perfect sleeve) and to my mind it trumps Spirit. Only just – it’s a bit less clean and defined. I remember a review in Q was it that said that while Spirit of Eden looked through the spyhole before answering the door to you, Laughing Stock cowered at the end of the hall while you looked through the letterbox? That always stayed with me. Then, after the whole of uni, some unemployment and other troubles, comes the solo album and I was just into my first real job. And just beginning to understand how long it was until retirement. Needless to say all 3 albums have been in my top 10 of all time for some 20 years or more.

    So, to sum up, I was shocked and saddened like the rest of us. But the warm February is somehow its own tribute (at least where I am in the south of the UK) – the colour of spring is literally everywhere. Time It’s Time, indeed.

  13. Florian M. Kranz says:

    I’m very fascinated by the fast evolution of the band. The first album is somewhere between Ultravox and Real Life. Very earyl 80s. Fine work. And then the second is a “Sgt Pepper’s” of the 80s, including a reprise of the theme (It’s My Life theme used again in It’s You). The album has much more different styles than the first one. On the third album they still had pop songs but almost the other half of the songs are very “free”, very artistic, looking for some jazz paths. And then pop was over. The fourth album is clearly beyond the pop genre, so is the fifth one. I still don’t know Hollies solo work nor the Missing Pieces.

  14. Doreen says:

    I’m just one too give my condolences to his family I just I’m so sad I don’t have much else to say except you will be very greatly missed I for one love this music and he seems like a very kind gentleman what a loss

  15. Michael D says:

    So sad to hear this news. 140 responses in a couple of days speaks volumes about the love from so many for this wonderful musician and his totally one off band who gave us such amazing music for an all too short period of time. I first heard Talk Talk performing songs from the Colour of Spring on Channel 4’s The Tube (I think this was about 1985?) and was hooked instantly. Loved them ever since and I echo all the tributes expressed by others here – I can’t better those. Thanks Mark for all the fantastic music and RIP

    • Mike Clasen says:

      In 1984, the year of the release of Talk Talk’s 2nd album “It’s My Life”, I was station manager at CHMR, Mohawk College radio. I was familiar with their first album and to be honest, it didn’t do much for me but It’s My Life had something special about it. The tracks Renee and Such A Shame showed great promise as did most of the album. Two years later and one year into owning and running this store, Colour Of Spring was released and their perfect blend of pop and art, slowly became recognized and especially so when in 1988, the band released Spirit Of Eden and 3 years later in 1991, Laughing Stock, completing the band’s metamorphosis from skinny-tie British 80’s popsters, to a band that created lovingly obscure masterpieces of art-pop/rock infused with influences from jazz, classical and ambient.
      Their sound was totally unique, unlike any other band I’ve heard since and likely ever will. Many “guests” also played on their albums including Danny Thompson, Nigel Kennedy and Steve Winwood, who’s history of linking to special projects continued here. When Talk Talk split up soon after the last album in 1991, it would take 7 years for Mark Hollis to release his one and only solo album, simply titled “Mark Hollis” an album that directly continued on from the introspective last few Talk Talk releases and was just as brilliant.
      For well over 35 years, I have stocked and promoted their music here at the store and turned many people on to their sound, especially those who only knew the band from their 2 big radio hits “It’s My Life” and “Life’s What You Make It”. Rarely a week goes by where I’m not playing one of their albums and still marveling at what they created, such is the power of talk Talk.
      Mark Hollis passed away yesterday and I am particularly saddened because I had always hoped for some kind of a reunion or solo work but it was not to be. Disenchanted from the music “business” many years ago, Hollis chose to dedicate himself to his family and lived a largely reclusive lifestyle to the end.
      Thank you Mark for the great music and for enriching so many lives with it. Rest in peace!

  16. Alfie Goodrich says:

    Talk Talk has been everything to me for such a long time. There are so many albums and tunes that really I couldnt live without. Spirit of Eden saw me through some very hard times in my life. I was just listening to Laughing Stock again last night and marvelling at what an extraordinary album it is. It’ll take a little time to process this news. For me a very special light has gone out.

  17. Garax says:

    Haven’t commented so far because was a bit floored to be honest. I got into Talk Talk at an impressionable age – I remember buying The Colour Of Spring on album when I was I think 15 or 16 – I still remember how luxuriant the whole thing seemed- even the label which I think was a deep purple colour. It is as stunning now as it was then. By the time I bought the follow up Spirit of Eden it was on CD and that took me I think realistically 2 years to get into – yet I kept coming back to it. Eventually something unlocked and fully let me in – I have only considered it a wonder ever since.

    Mark has been, for the longest time for me, at the very top of the list of music people who’d gone quiet that I wanted to hear from again – and still now it amazes me how some with little talent continue to persue music whilst someone with such remarkable talent – I would agree he is a musical genius – could step away. But away he did step – and god bless him for having the presence of mind to know when he was done with it. His catalogue is pretty much one of the most small and perfectly formed that has ever graced lovers of music. I thank him wholeheartedly – his voice will carry on I think for an extremely long time – I geneuinely believe he will still be heard in hundreds of years time – I think he’s that significant.

    One final thought – I know I’m as guilty as many in wanting archive content from the dear departed beloved – but in this case I think no – Mark was something of an enigma and he exercised probably the most savage quality control in the business – cheerfully wiping stuff. I think what we have is simply stunning – and very much that’s all we should now have.

  18. J T says:

    The word “artist” is used so casually to describe any musical act. Mark Hollis and Talk Talk were truly artists in every sense of the word, and from the very first, every aspect of their music, the artwork, their development, and their sense of purpose was something I respected, admired, treasured and enjoyed.

    Musically, there’s my life before 1982 and then there’s my life after 1982, as that’s the year I entered high school. “Talk Talk” and “Today” were two of the ten most impactful songs of that milestone year for me.

    To this day, The Party’s Over remains one of my favorite albums. In that way that our identification with certain art makes it as much about us as it is about the artist, it’s one of those records that, like a time travel device or some hallucinogenic drug, I’ve found bending the time-space continuum and placing me traveling alongside people, places, things and feelings from what can often seem like a different world so very long ago and so very far away.

    Love to him and his family. And love to all those who identified with something in his passionate musical expressions, and in whom that will continue to resonate.

    “Everything’s alright/Life’s what you make it/…/Celebrate it”

  19. Daren Cook says:

    Spirit of Eden is simply the finest album i’ve ever heard or ever will hear. Utterly life changing.

  20. Rob C says:

    The joy of music is that it lives on in immortality long past when the creator leaves this mortal plane. The music has long been a part of my life, will continue to be so for as long as I am blessed to be here and will be so a long time after that. Thank you for the music dear sir…it is the gift you’ve brilliantly left all of us and for that we are thankful.

  21. Cris says:

    I think that what Craig Hedges wrote below regarding the possibility of Mark’ s family to receive a collection of the SDE readers’ words is a very kind and sweet idea.
    I can confirm that receiving words of love also from people you were not aware of who are grateful towards your loved one can help a little in attenuating the pain.

    I would like to ask Paul if he can make this happen, somehow.

  22. Christophe says:

    I was introduced to Talk Talk around the age of 13, with my brother who owned some 12inches records, he bought in 1986 the one with “its my life” and “such a shame” Us mixes. These 2 tracks became sizable hits in France. My brother sadly passed away a few months later, and I knew this record will remain something special. I kept on listening to it and I was fascinated by its artwork with the drawing of a scorpio. Then a few years later, mid 90s, i went on to live in the Uk. At last i bought the album on CD “its my life” in a secondhand shop. Talk Talk were considered then by the general public as a 1 or 2 hits wonders (the same kind of image than A-ha I suppose back then). This album for me was then a revelatiion, very much so for the two particular album tracks ” Renee ” and ” tomorrow started”. I loved their melancholy, melody and sophisticated production. I knew then there was so much more to discover in their discography. “The colour of spring” was then my next purchase. At the begining of this century, i was by then living in Amsterdam and i used to go a lot to record fairs (Utrecht). At this time my holy grail to buy was their live album out of print LONDON 86, i think one of the best live album ever recorded. I was so happy when i finally got it for 40 GBP if i remember well!!! Since then I have been listening to Talk Talk all through these years with nostalgia and as a secret well kept (except for those 2 hits of course which became classics of 80’s good pop) . Its comforting to see all the love for this band and Mark Hollis on SDE… RIP… And the music lives on forever.

  23. no.parlez says:

    I was fortunate enough to see Talk Talk in Oct 1982, one of the first gigs I took my future wife to. Southampton Gaumont is a classic all seated theatre, though that didn’t stop us rushing to the front of the stage when the lights went down. It was a fantastic, fun gig with both audience and band having a great time. (When did bands stop enjoying themselves on stage?) What a great pop band they were. Some 36 years later we still turn to each whenever we here a TT song and say what a great night that was.
    Like many others I believe SoE is a true “late night” classic that grows with every listening, though a personal is the title track from their first album The Party’s Over best listened to with the volume set to 11.

    Thanks for the music and memories Mark, R.I.P

  24. Brad Breault says:

    This is truly sad, I do hope Mark didn’t have to suffer long with whatever illness decided it needed to take him. I’ve been lucky as the last 3 evenings I’ve been able to see Joe Jackson, Bob Mould and tonight Peter Murphy and David J.; all roughly within a decade of each other and Mark age-wise and all still doing good-to-great performing. Learning this news makes this hard to take in that Mr. Hollis can’t be amongst them doing the same. I’d even recently purchased the new Rustin Man ‘Drift Code’ album and thinking ‘well at least it’s 2 of 3 from Talk Talk’ while enjoying it on its own merits.
    My SACD’s of ‘Colour Of Spring’ and ‘Spirit Of Eden’ are 2 of the best-sounding recordings I own in my collection, hopefully the rest of their catalogue can receive this treatment as it deserves it (yes even ‘The Party’s Over’, not quite as shallow as people might remember). I also second those mentioning the book Phill Brown wrote about his production career, the chapters on Talk Talk are near-priceless. My big hope going forward besides peace for Mark’s family is that whoever is in possession or control of the Talk Talk/Mark Hollis catalogue give it care, this is one case where anything ‘in the vaults’ would be welcome since what little is out in the world has never quite felt like enough. Those genius bastards leaving us wanting more….rest in peace Mark.

  25. Pod says:

    Lifted up
    Reflected in returning love you sing
    Heaven waits

  26. Daniel Lalla says:

    I was impressed by many singles, then When I heard Colour of Spring, I mean really heard it and appreciated how clever it was… wow. Powerful example of people doing fine work at that time. If I hear one more idiot say that the 80s was a ‘lost decade’ for music, my head will explode. One reviewer described Hollis as having a ‘plaintive’ but intense voice, and it was obvious that he also had something to say with that voice. The reports/accolades from contemporaries like The The Roland Orzabal and more speaks volumes. He was a musicians musician. Spirit of Eden was sad because it wasn’t well received but an album that showed a constant search for more. It wasn’t afraid to go against ‘pop’ sensibility and was an artistic success, but not a commercial one. Its reputation has grown, as is often the case when someone is ahead of their time. The record was explorative, unabashedly downtempo and would have fit in with records made 10-20 years later. Roland Orzabal said to even say he made some of the best 80s music is incorrect because he made music and to ‘lump that in’ with a genre of ’80s music’ misses the point. He was just an artist… RIP.

  27. JuzzyB says:

    Been dwelling on this all day. Cheers Mark, for the beautifully wrought affecting music that never gets old. What a great bloke.

  28. Stevie B says:

    R.I.P. Mark.
    Life’s what you made it.

  29. MC says:

    The first album under my arm, looking for second hand clothes in Lisbon in 1982, looking for wide, pleated trousers and double breasted jackets. Cut my own hair short with the help of a mirror. Played the album on my late grandfather’s Philips HI-FI, with conical stylus (flip for 33 and 45s or 78s), aged tubes and paper cone speakers.

  30. Michael Fowler says:

    My best friend at school bought me Natural History when I was about 15, I had missed Talk Talk first time around and because of the music I was enjoying he knew that I was missing a link. As a best of compilation I don’t believe it has ever been bettered and since then every musical choice links back to the Talk Talk library – Doves, Elbow, Coldplay….they all owe Talk Talk a debt. The news genuinely shocked me last night and it’s incredible to think that a band with 5 studio albums….that I have played every year…. limited commercial success and little touring to speak of had so much influence – they were truly special and their music will live on for many many years.

  31. Schu says:

    Such a young Dude. RIP Mark. You leave behind a truly great musical legacy.

  32. RMJ says:

    I listened to Laughing Stock today and cried all the way through the album. Same happened when I listened to Color of Spring. My eyes are dry. As with all above, I have been in shock because of dashed hopes, my youth lost and an idol gone.

    I read that his manager said that he had a short period of illness that he lost his life to.

    I remember reading Alan Wilder saying that whenever he loses faith in current music, he listens to Spirit of Eden to restore it. He re-did their catalogue with guest musicians about 5 years ago and some of that work was nice.
    As this hope of new TT music is crushed, maybe one day when I do my weekly web search for “Alan Wilder joining Depeche Mode again”, I’ll be surprised with that gift.

    Let’s raise a glass to Mark and the undying gift he gave us all.

  33. SimonP says:

    Sad news. One of the most astounding progressions in music, from the poppy first album through to his magnificent solo opus.

    I’ve been looking up stuff about him and learned that he was persuaded to score a film called Peacock in 2010 and that none of the resulting music was used in the film. One short piece of music from that score later surfaced in an episode of a TV series called Boss.

  34. Graham Yapp says:

    Very Sad News.Was lucky to see Talk Talk a couple of times,And like most other in the comments ‘the colour Of spring’ Is a fantastic album.

  35. David McIntyre says:

    Man, that’s a bummer yet again. Loved all of Talk Talk’s catalogue as well as Mark’s solo album, beauty personified. Even though he had been out of the limelight for so long this is indeed so sad.

  36. Christopher A. Allen says:

    What a loss. Certainly the earlier records have much to recommend but The Colour of Spring and especially Spirit of Eden opened me to different ways of looking at music, different avenues and colors and no specific genre. I was fascinated how the later music continued with a muted and more minimalist palette, to equal effect. I respected how he followed this journey irrespective of its lack of commerciality. Peace and strength to his loved ones.

  37. Ray says:

    Such sad news, and i was only listening to ‘Give It Up’ by Talk Talk just the other day. I love their music, its so different but yet so unique for the 80s. I was always mystified by Mark Hollis in that i don’t know much about him, as i guess he didn’t like being in the spot light, but man i’m actually quite sad to hear this news. 64 is still so young! R.I.P Mark Hollis, the music lives on.

  38. Shane says:

    Sad news. Talk Talk produced a fair share of outstanding 80s classics and his unusual voice was also a big part of it. RIP Mr Hollis. Hope you didnt suffer.

  39. Yves says:

    I started listening to music in 1985, at the age of 13, and Such A Shame was one of the first ten records I bought. Life’s What You Make It made me a great impression too and later I loved listening to It’s My Life (the LP) and The Colour Of Spring.
    When Spirit of Eden came out, I remember saying to a friend at the record shop that it was beautiful but that I wasn’t ready to listening to it! Actually it took me 10 years before I bought it, it was 1998 and since then I think that this is one of the most beautiful recording ever. I like collecting their records and it’s a great pleasure to listen to them sometimes and looking to their great artworks by James Marsh, and for those who like it too, the book Spirit of Talk Talk is a must have.
    Talk Talk had a very strange career indeed, 5 albums only (6 with ‘Mark Hollis’) that I all love, for a reason or another, but they left an inprint in musical history, opening the path for bands like Radiohead, Sigur Ros or Do Make Say Think. In fact they came ten years earlier… I never thought that Mark Hollis would come back to music, so I was hoping for something new, all is left now is 6 albums, numerous compilations and great songs.
    My goes also goes to his family and friends. So rest in peace Mark Hollis and thank you.

  40. Craig Hedges says:

    Just read through the comments below and had a cry. There is some genuine emotion which I haven’t seen for other artistes which have passed recently, especially for someone who has been invisible for the past 30 years.
    There are certain sounds which affect me emotionally and one of them is Mark’s voice, it’s goes from my ears straight to my heart. I also want to say that I have absolute admiration for Mark’s reluctance to play the fame game. He came, said what he wanted to say and left the stage.
    I hope his family get to read these comments and see how much Mark meant to us.

    • gb says:

      There are certain sounds which affect me emotionally and one of them is Mark’s voice, it’s goes from my ears straight to my heart

      thank you for this. exactly how I feel – but you managed to put it into words

    • Nancy E. Clauss says:

      Perfectly said…

  41. Tonk says:

    Working in a busy Virgin shop, one of my compadres, Libby, said listen to this – it was Colour Of Spring. In an era of harshly recorded albums it was like a warmly analogue breath of fresh air . . . even on CD!

  42. wesley mc dowell says:

    Very sad news.I always loved Talk Talk.They were one of those bands that made you think life was worthwhile and the music they made was truly special.I am glad he got to spend his last years with his family .Nobody knows how long they have but at least Mark made the right decision and devoted himself to what mattered the most to himself his family. He passed away on the warmest febuary day in the UK on record.The Colour Of Spring ,Indeed.Never to be forgotten.

  43. Muziekliefhebber says:

    R.I.P. Mark.
    1 of the icons of the 80s!

  44. gb says:

    this is very very sad.
    the first time I heard LWYMI I loved it. bought the 7″

    never forget when I went investigating their past
    and listened to the first album and that title track

    I had been led to believe by so much I had read the first album
    was not really that good (compared to what followed)

    when I heard this part

    This crime of being
    Uncertain of your love
    Is all I’m guilty of

    coupled with that music, so much emotion, direct, intense and pure.
    I was blown away

    even though the first 2 albums are quite poppy,
    I still think they have a real depth to them. this is
    *not* 80s throw-a-way pop. it (and they at the time) just
    sadly got lumped in with that.

    I always hoped I would get to see them live …

  45. Dan Glaser says:

    What sad news about the passing of Mark. To say I love the Colour of Spring album, would be an understatement in the extreme. I’d like to share with your readers, Paul how I came across it. It was the strangest coincidence, that I had been talking with an acquaintance (a real contemporary music aficionado) and, as was my wont, I was trying to glean the latest ‘must have’ album to enhance my scant CD music collection. He mentioned this not-so-new album by a band called Talk Talk, entitled The Colour of Spring, and although I was listening, perhaps my attention drifted somewhat when he started to say how different it was from the 2 previous TT albums and that it really was something to behold and cherish. I knew of an earlier single, It’s my Life and quite liked it. Nothing more was said on the subject and I essentially forgot the whole conversation. Several months passed and one day decided to donate some unwanted to clothes, which had been in the boot of my car for weeks, to a charity shop . I was nowhere near my home, but passed a shop in the back of beyond somewhere, that I no longer recall, and suddenly remembered the clothes I needed to get rid of. I pulled up right outside, leaving the car in the one remaining parking space, ran in with the clothes and as I was about to leave, noticed a stack of CDs on the counter which presumably had recently been handed in and were awaiting pricing. Because I could see my car through the window, I knew it was safe to have a 15 second browse to see if there was anything of interest, something I would not normally do, as it’s usually a load of old dross that seems to find its way into such establishments. Well, something in the pile, caught my eye – The Colour of Spring by Talk Talk. Wasn’t this the album that my acquaintance had said was a ‘must buy’? I just couldn’t recall exactly what he’d said all those months ago, but I did remember that he’d said that there was this weird cover with hand-drawn butterflies or something. Not 100% sure whether this was the right one, I chanced my arm and bought it. A £1 for a worthy cause; at least my conscience would be satisfied. Once home, with great trepidation, I inserted the CD into my player and it makes the hairs on my neck stand up on end just thinking back now, that I had stumbled by sheer chance on this absolute unequivocal masterpiece. Well if that wasn’t providence, I don’t know what is. It was just unbelievable how it panned out and I thought back at the time how the sequence of events led me to it. Out of the 2,500 CDs I currently own, if I was allowed to keep just half a dozen, TCOS would undoubtedly be one of them.

  46. Daniel Harris says:

    I was wrecked to hear this yesterday. From the title song on The Party’s Over through his solo record, I’ve loved his music and never stopped listening to it. Even the London 1986 is excellent, especially the live version of Give It Up. So much to love!!

  47. Mike A says:

    Absolutley Gutted. . Talk talk were an amazing band and Mark Hollis had such a distintive emotive voice. Grew up listening to his music and for me thier songs are still as strong and still mean so much to me today life is what you make it and Mark Hollis you will leave a lasting impact on mine, RIP Mark. Thoughts are with your family & Friends and all fans of music

  48. Tom from FIN says:

    A monumental loss, though retired already 20 years ago practically speaking. One of the few new 80’s bands able to evolve to the last album.

    Curiosity, that last time he played live in the UK was at Imperial War Museum of all places, as Talk Talk and already in 1986. The last gigs were abroad by the fall same year. He was just over 30 years too! No solo concerts, nor TT gigs either during the last band albums era.

  49. Trash says:

    Had always hoped that he might decide to come out of retirement and release more work – his self-titled solo album is essential for anyone that liked Talk Talk’s later output.
    Sadly not to be….

    RIP Mark – I’m glad we have a great collection of music to remember you by.

  50. John 79 says:

    Another genius gone, so sad .
    RIP Mark

  51. TheProgster says:

    Latest news on the BBC News website from his former manager Keith Aspden says Mark died after a short illness from which he never recovered
    Grew up musically speaking on the first 3 Talk Talk albums never cared much for Laughing Stock or Spirit Of Eden or his solo album although a brave move to change musical direction at that time then to completely disappear from the music business altogether as he probably said all he wanted to say in just 6 albums worth of music…Very sad and a huge talent lost but he’s left us with some superb music to cherish forever RIP Mark Hollis gone too soon.

  52. Michael de Wergifosse says:

    A very sad and shocking news. I thought of Mark while listening to Paul Webb’s beautiful “drift code”. Lee Harris also plays on Rustin Man’s album. Mark’s voice and piano was missing.. . A voice still missing now.
    RIP Mark

  53. DaveM says:

    Absolutley gutted. The Colour of Spring soundtracked 86 for me. Totally unique genius followed up by two more phenominal albums, then Mark’k solo album which all remain untouchable, maybe with the exception of the second disc of Kate Bush’s Aerial.
    Sometimes its the spaces that create intensity in music and Talk Talk and Mark were the masters.
    Anyone wanting an insight into their creative process should read the Phill Brown book. I saw them in 86 in Leeds and it still remains one of my all time favourite gigs.
    I was in a record shop in York a few months ago and the guy behind the counter was recomending SOE to someone and it gave me a warm feeling to know that its reputation is still growing.

  54. Steve W says:

    Such a shame, Spirit of Eden remains one of my favourite late night albums. I thought his decision to retire and concentrate on family life was brave and ludable but regret not having what he might have done. RIP

  55. Dave H says:

    Only just found out the sad news of Mark Hollis’s passing. Even though he hasn’t made any music for 20 years it still comes as a shock and more because of his age. I expect to hear about the passing of music icons from the 50’s and 60’s but when it’s someone who had hits in the 80’s it tells you life isn’t fair.
    If there was a ever a band that I never saw play live that I would like to have seen, Talk Talk were that band. The Live at Montreux DVD highlights how good they sounded in concert, I was always hoping for that elusive reunion.

  56. Ed Jones says:

    I think it speaks volumes that so many SDE subscribers have felt the urge to comment on this. A complete and utter one-off musical genius that hopefully history will suitably acknowledge as profoundly under-rated, and rarely principled. I am forcing myself to listen to the last four albums as I type this and each is more crushingly melancholy than the last.

    RIP Mark – I can say hand on heart that my life would have been entirely different had I not discovered your music.

  57. Cris says:

    … I just found a translation into Italian of the lyrics to “Life’ s What You make It” that I had drafted some months ago for… No one in particular really.
    It is an exercise that sometimes I concede myself, and it happens when a songs comes to mind for no particular reason and the enthusiasm for it reignites and I go looking for it on the and listen to it on repeat with earpieces in the office.
    In my mind these translations are for anybody who might happen to stop and have a chat about music at some time, and while I would suggest the song to him/her I would also have the translation of the lyrics ready, to allow them to appreciate the full experience.
    Months ago, the impact of “Life’ s…” returned, to the point that I wanted to test myself with it and possibly “spread its beauty to the world”… As I said, one of my favourite songs indeed.

    Cheers Mark.

  58. Kevin Galliford says:

    RIP Mark Hollis, he helped make some really great albums a generation ago which still sound great today. To be so creative & brave not to follow the masses & do is own thing is true genius! Funnily enough I played “Spirit of Eden” last week for the first time in years & was reminded of just how bloody great it is & I was thinking I wish they’d done a few more albums. Let’s be grateful for what we had! Thoughts going out to his family x

  59. Marxisn't says:

    Those first three albums are brilliant and are a masterclass in pop writing… The last two and his solo album too, if you have the right antenna for them. Definitely a leader, not a follower… That body of work lives on. I hope other people find and get turned onto Mark’s lasting legacy. RIP, a brilliant man.

  60. Thomas Lauf says:

    The only time I have cried because of a musician’s passing was Prince. And today.

    Mark Hollis belongs to the most talented and most gifted singers and composers the world has seen. Completely underrated and mostly overseen, but a genius to most musicians.

    Talk Talk’s music is present in my life since the summer of 1984. I was fourteen and wanted to buy the maxi-version of “Such a Shame” on vinyl, but it was not available in my hometown. So, I had to travel by train to the nearest town which was 25 miles away on this very hot day. All worthwhile. I will never forget it and I still own the very same record today.

    Back in the day one had to put in some effort in order to get the song one wanted.

    Unforgettable is Talk Talk’s 1986 concert in Montreux. I will forever regret not having seen them live during their heydays.

    Thank you for your music and rest well, Mark. Enjoy “Living in another world”.

    Never to be forgotten.

  61. William Mavers says:

    Wow!!, this really hurts in an unexpected way. By that i mean just a total shock, numbness and surprise.

    The 80’s produced a lot of pop masterpieces, a lot of it came and went leaving a mere ripple in our consciousness, Talk Talk came and went but they left a lasting, profound impression.

    The critics were horrendous to them at the time, when they were mainstream they were criticised, when they were regarded as ‘obscure’ they were criticised even more, ridiculed in fact. Now they are lauded. It’s as if allowing an artist to evolve and explore away from their beginnings is something to fear and not embrace.

    I remember Talk Talk being compared to Terence Trent D’arby in people/Bands that ruined their careers articles, it pissed me off. Bowie got it with Tin Machine and Earthling, many others have as well.

    When they compile lists of songs with the best intros it always annoys me that Talk Talk don’t feature, ‘Such a shame’ ….’Its my life’….’Life’s what you make it’….’Living in another world’…’I don’t believe in you’…not just great intros, truly exceptional songs in a back catalogue of exceptional songs.

    I remember sitting with a school friend, long since departed from my life, listening to Laughing Stock and trying to understand it, the same with ‘Spirit of Eden’, we’d sit there a just chill out to it but at the time we didn’t fully get it ourselves, time , understanding and maturity would bring that knowledge. But it became a staple nocturnal listening piece. Lights out and chill out, drifting away to somewhere and being lost in the weird and wonderful world of Talk Talk.

    EMI were ridiculous, ‘History revisited’ was a cruel and unnecessary release without band approval, that was the start of the major seeds being truly sown for Hollis to be sickened by it all. Taking his art and raping it of all original and intended semblence. They (EMI) were cashing in and covering their greedy arses for the new departure….ridiculous to think they put the band on their little, obscure jazz label offshoot, it was derogatory. This inevitably robbed us of Mark wanting to continue with any great conviction.

    ‘The colour of spring’ is my favourite Talk Talk album, from start to finish it’s a complete album that flows into your mind and you just get lost in it’s waves of emotion and brilliance. Again it was a nocturnal choice of mine, it seen me through good times, bad times, heartbreaks and life getting tough and tougher, but through all these experiences it was with me (along with Bowies Diamond Dogs and U2’s War) as my bedtime listening, on cassette no less, vinyl too. There was no CDs when i first began my nightime regime. so having to get up and turn the vinyl over or turn over the cassette ruined the mood and ambience a bit but, believe it or not, when i got a 1+1 cassette that had a whole album on both sides (with the option to record over the 2nd side if you wanted) i felt like a technological god from the future of ‘tomorrow’s world*’ (*BBC Programme) then i got a cassette player that automatically turned over to side two and my life was complete.

    But i digress…

    I always held out hope that somehow, someway, someone would persuade Mark to come out of retirement, i actually had a conversation with someone from Burning shed about it and they said it had been tried but it was futile, i was crestfallen. His voice and his writing were such things of beauty and depth.

    He was on a journey to push boundaries and push his talent to the limits out with our reach or imagination and beyond with messrs Webb and Harris,not to be forgotten in this (and Tim Friese Green) all important factors and pieces in the jigsaw.

    Talk Talk and Hollis have such a small body of work but i have over 30 cds in my collection by them, mostly compilations with little edits or changes. I was obsessed with listening to every release trying to find a slight variation. Hoping and praying to spot something new in the mix and pore over it, i actually still have a couple of gaps in my collection (the two SACDS) they were always priced beyond my means, sadly that will only accelerate now.

    So Mark has left his Mark and departed our mortal coil. I will miss that voice and that unbridled talent, a man of such principals is indeed a rare thing these days but he made his decision and stuck to his guns and we had to accept and respect that.

    His choice was our loss and it is that retirement of such a mecurial talent that hits so hard and his untimely passing that hurts so bad.

    I hope he was aware of the love that was in the world for him, he brought us a beauty in music that was like no other and took us to soundscapes and places unexplored.

    We can only thank him for the gifts he has left with us, mourn his passing at such a young age and send our thoughts and prayers to his family and loved ones.

    R.I.P Mark Hollis…and thank you x

    • Fady says:

      A beautiful tribute William.

      I was a little late in discovering Talk Talk but once I heard Colour of Springs I made it my mission to search out all their other albums and singles. Spirit of Eden took me a few listens but in the end it got me – like all great music eventually does.

      The fact that Hollis did things on his terms and wasn’t willing to compromise his values only increased my respect for the man. R.I.P.

  62. Andy B says:

    What a shock. So very sad news.

    I saw Talk Talk live in December 1981 at the Liverpool Empire as support for Duran Duran. I loved their early poppy albums, but who would have thought that Mark and the band would take us on such a musical journey. I always felt it was a shame that Mark chose not to record any new albums after the solo album. I guess he felt he’d said all he needed to.

    Thanks for sharing with us what you did.

  63. Jospin says:

    Dear me.
    Such sad news!
    I heard from my wife, late last evening.
    Great great shame.
    The (not so) subtle change(s) on ‘Colours Of Spring’ , then the leap ….
    I was in my (musical) element listening to ‘Spirit Of Eden’. A weekly fix.
    The man touched with genius.
    R.I.P Mark Hollis.

  64. Carlo Duffy says:

    ”Happiness Is Easy”…… I’m really sad….goodbye Mark

  65. Le Baron says:

    Such a terrible loss.
    Although I find the first album doesn’t age particulary well, from 1984, everything the band produced was absolutely beautiful, even in its most experimental moments.
    I remember the band sued its record company (and won) back in 1991 when EMI released a remix compilation.
    It sounds today as if everything Mark Hollis released since then, was a reaction to the cynical attitude of his then-record company.
    Compared to Prince and David Bowie, of whom we have seen ”new” releases published almost every month since they died, I wonder what will be the attitude of the owners of the rights on the Talk-Talk Catalogue now Mark Hollis is gone.
    R.I.P, you genius !

  66. Cris says:

    Not later than Sunday night, two days ago, while driving quite a long way back home from the Tears for Fears concert in Padua, I told my friend who for some reason had introduced the subject of Talk Talk after the gig saying he did not know them well that, knowing his musical preferences, he would absolutely love their final three albums.
    And as always happens with TT, for some reason my mind immediately rushed not to It’ s My Life or Such a Shame, which I love, but to Life’ s What You Make It. I told him he should by all means listen to it, immediately, on his smartphone. As usual, my pop seeking 80′ s teenage self was slightly floored by it when it was released. It was awkward in a way, and not immediately hummable as all the previous singles, nor equally fast paced. But my how fascinating and powerful that rhythm was, that beat with just Mark pounding on his piano and the drum sequence. And then the video, so incredibly poetic and beautiful. An incredible, and at the same time complicated pop song, a supreme example of what the 80s could be, as Steven Wilson said. It always involves me with its rhythm, it always moves me with its desperation.

    For some reason, I neglected buying The Colour of Spring. I guess the ensuing singles did not catch on me, and with my limited pocket money I must have decided to give precedence to something else.
    As for other records, I was not ready at the time for Spirit of Eden nor for Laughing Stock. I clearly remember reading the latter was published on Verve, but again, when you’ re 20 you expect singles to be played on radio or TV, and at least here none appeared. And then… Talk Talk disappeared. I was not aware of the solo album at the time, found out about it much later.
    when you grow older and today’ s music satisfies you only marginally, you start filling in the gaps. So Spirit and Laughing entered my collection: I am not readier, but simply changed/different, so such peculiar post rock music is more listenable for me today, even though I have remained one who looks for the traditional pop song structure. Beautiful atmospheres.

    I too have always hoped for some surprise from Mark maybe, since I felt reunions might not be the band’ s cup of tea, even though… One must always think that anything can happen.

    In a previous post someone wrote about Talk Talk’ s melancholy. I fully agree, it is the word I was looking for. Even in their speediest and poppiest songs, there is always this trace of pure melancholy, in the music and in the lyrics. They too were unique among their peers.

    It has now been a quite long, difficult period for me regarding this kind of events, and this makes me a little sadder. Another piece, however small, of my life and my past is lost.
    Thanks to you too Mark, for your poetry and musical magic. It will keep on keeping us company, and you will be there with it.

  67. Luca says:

    I’ m very sad about Mark’s death..I discovered TALK TALK in 1984 with It’s My Life album. I’ve seen them in 1986 in the meanwhile of
    The Colour of Spring Tour ‘86..I love every TT album.
    Specially the early 80’s. Thanks for your Music, Mark.
    You were a pionieristic musicians.

    Rest In Peace MARK

  68. Nickr282 says:

    Very sad news. A bonafide musical great who played by his own rules, blessed with such an extraordinary talent. I always hoped that he would make a return.
    I’m listening to Spirit of Eden right now and it’s sounds more poignant than ever….Such a loss.
    RIP Mark. Your music will live on.

  69. Roland K says:

    Maybe a nice footnote in Mark Hollis’musical life. Not everyone will know Hollis started with another band, called The Reaction. Indeed, a very punkish band. Here one of their songs which also explains why his second band was called Talk Talk:

  70. Mark Scholes says:

    Am genuinely really sad, these posts are bringing a lump to my throat. Loved Talk Talk and always resented having to defend them to those who dismissed them as just an 80s boy band…how far from ghe truth is that. Saw them live once on a very wet October afternoon at;Milton Keynes bowl in 1982 at the Genesis reunion, where they were given a really hostile reception. But I fell in love. I’m glad so many people here feel the same, but I always felt they only existed for me, they were so special. On The Colour of Spring from the Mark Hollis album I always fall into a reverie; from the 17 seconds of silence to the beautiful piano break I never emerge from that song without tears in my eyes. How’s it going to be now. Rest in peace.

  71. Edwin Tierney says:

    This is very sad news. The music has been a constant companion for many years. Mark was a unique talent and a true artist. Much too young to go. Condolences to his family and friends.

  72. Jan says:

    RIP Mark

    Another teenage hero gone. So sad to read this. I have always hoped for a return into the spotlights, a reunion of Talk Talk.

    What a great band it was, I still cherish their music today.

    Mark is living in another world now.

  73. I am devastated. From The Party’s Over to his solo album. The whole package, the art, the production, the voice, the space, the blending of musical styles. Part of my musical journey that shaped me as a writer.

  74. jules says:

    Gutted. Such an amazing artist. The Colour of Spring, Spirit of Eden, Laughing Stock, and Mark Hollis (solo) are four of the greatest albums ever written. Stunningly beautiful. He was a genius.

  75. Jan says:

    It is now 20+ years from the release of his only solo album which I treasure most of his & Talk Talk output. One would had expected his solo career should evolve further then, cause Mark Hollis, David Sylvian and Paul Weller are top artists Britain ever bare!
    My father hass passed away at the same age and I regret Mark’s deperture the same way as my father’s. Music of Mark & Talk Talk will still be present on my home equip. R.I.P. Mark Hollis.

  76. Tobias says:

    Heard it this morning. Can’t believe it.
    SPIRIT OF EDEN is my favorite album.
    Such a genius, always hoped for a late comeback or some more music.
    RIP Mark!

  77. Kauwgompie says:

    Incredibly sad news. Talk Talk was one of my favorite all time bands. Genius. He lived a life completely away from the public eye and withdrawn from the music scene from what I understand.
    80’s music legends don’t seem to have any longevity. Michael Hutchence, Prince, David Bowie, George Michael, Mark Hollis, Black, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Freddy Mercury, Falco, Glenn Frey, Tom Petty, Robert Palmer, Rick James, Luther Vandross, Donna Summer, Maurice White, Pete Burns, Aretha Franklin……a ridiculous list.

  78. Christian says:

    Yoda would say: “Living In Another World now you are.”
    RIP Mark Hollis.

  79. Mark Penny says:

    Weird that the BBC didn’t report it yet.

  80. Michael says:

    Well, I only got into his music in the last 2 years, but I am still exploring it… and he made some really great stuff. I am sorry to hear of his death. I am glad for the work he shared with us.

  81. Spiral Scar says:

    Oh, my heart…
    I don’t get too choked up by news of celebrities’ passings. There have been so many lately, and at my age (52) I realize a lot of my musical heroes are aging. Some well, others not so well. But I was not ever going to take this particular bitter pill without deep regret. Perhaps because I so admire the man’s work and the creative progress he and his outstanding bandmates made in just ten years. Or maybe it’s because Talk Talk never got super-nova popular, and they felt a little more special to me, as if they were a private pleasure. But I tried to turn many people I know on to them. Sometimes I converted someone, often I didn’t. I loved them just the same. How rewarding it was to bask in the beauty of their music, particularly the later material and Mark’s lone solo album (which almost sounded like a premature goodbye in 1998, though I didn’t know it at the time.) In fact, the way that album ends (like it begins) with the open mic just recording the stillness of the room, seems even more like a statement now. As if he finished playing, stood up and quietly walked out, and the tape kept rolling…
    There are many songs by Mark and Talk Talk that I cherish but there are two that put a lump in my throat no matter when I play them and I will be playing them tonight.
    A couple of years ago, fittingly, as spring was finally erasing the winter chill here in Connecticut, my then-girlfriend was just arriving at my apartment on a bright warm afternoon. She and I didn’t normally agree on music, but she wasn’t unadventurous about it, either. She had never heard of Talk Talk (despite being a little older than me) but liked the LP cover on the coffee table. I asked her to sit with me and just take in the sun and the scents coming through the wide open sliding glass doors opposite the sofa. I played “April 5th” for us. She and I didn’t move or make a sound. After the song (and the LP side) ended, she turned to me and said “That was gorgeous.” I cited that song as an example of why music is my passion and why it matters so much to me (even though she thought I was “obsessive” about it.) For me, it ain’t just sonic wallpaper while I do something else. Well, sometime it is…
    The other song that that I played for us that afternoon is the second favorite of mine. Although it always moved me to tears before (gently, and not tears of sadness,) from now on when I listen to “New Grass” it just might make me weep openly.
    I came to accept that Mark Hollis would likely not ever return to making music. Though I never knew the man, and it has been twenty-one years since his public departure, it has not prepared me for how I feel right now. This hurts.

  82. Arthur O. says:

    Did they have any songs on the American charts. Never heard of him or his band. Condolences to those of you who obviously are big fans.

    • Ray says:

      They wrote the anthemic ‘It’s My Life’ which many might know as a Cover by No Doubt. He was a very clever songwriter.

  83. Mister Stick says:

    This is tough to hear, but it’s warming to see so much admiration and care on this site for Mark Hollis. Here in the US, only Talk Talk’s self-titled single and “It’s My Life” made any kind of dent. But I was handed a promo copy of Colour Of Spring when it was released to radio, and I’ve pimped it on people ever since. About as close to perfect as record can be – I can’t think of a less than earnest, hopeful, or honest moment on it, and bits of it still reveal themselves to this day.

    A very nice collection of music has again been left behind for us, and our gratitude is the spirit’s reward.

  84. Bill Sykes says:

    Now that it’s over.
    Rest your head Mark.

  85. Charles K. says:

    His talent and music was phenomenal, It transcended the genre it sprang from. Very sad news indeed, RIP.

  86. Darren Pillans says:

    This has taken the wind out of me.
    I was just listening to Asides Besides in the car recently.
    I too was hoping that Hollis would one day re-emerge and give us one more album.
    I’m truly shaken by this unexpected news.

  87. Larry Davis says:

    Oh no…RIP Mark Hollis…I am pretty much gutted about this, haven’t felt this way over someone’s passing since Prince, Tom Petty and Leonard Cohen…slim catalogue but what a catalogue!! Yes, I got into TT with the song “Talk Talk” in 1982 and “The Party’s Over” was one of my first-ever CDs I ever bought…yes it’s 80s new wave synthpop, but it was in no way derivative or a copy of Duran Duran…the melodies were richer and lyrics deeper, and they got more unique with each album…like The The, I felt somehow Mark’s voice resembled Pete Townshend, the tone, but he had a style and vibe all his own. I always felt the “It’s My Life” vidclip was both moving/poignant with the animals and hilarious with Mark taking the piss regarding lip-syncing in videos as a statement, his mouth getting blurred out, then giving a wink, like “Yup, I know you are in on the joke too”…I got more into TT with the “A-sides/B-sides” 2CD set, which blew me away, even pop songs like “Dum Dum Girl” had hooks and melodies leagues above most everyone else…plus, one of my fave female artists ever, Sandra Cretu (the voice of Enigma) covered “Such A Shame” in 2001 on her album “The Wheel Of Time” and had a minor hit with it in Germany…

    But then, with “The Colour Of Spring”, “Spirit Of Eden” & “Laughing Stock”, ending with his self-titled solo album in 1998, he evolved in such a way that threw most people…reminds me of Scott Walker or David Sylvian but even more distinct than them, long spare atmospheric classically-inspired avant-garde “pieces” but with melodies strewn unconventionally throughout always fascinated me…I never had his solo album but a fave local store had a copy used, and I will buy it next time I am there…if it’s not bought the next few days…RIP Mark Hollis, you will be missed…and unlike some people here, I do hope the TT/MH catalogue gets the deluxe treatment and posthumous releases too…if not the albums expanded, then collections of unreleased material…keep it all in the public eye…it’s too rich, unique and important to fade to dust…recently, a coworker was unexpectedly playing a whole slew of TT on YouTube while closing and it surprised me and shocked me that he would be into TT’s music, but it got me more hardcore recently into Mark’s singular music…thank’s Mark and Simon, my co-worker…

  88. Paul H says:

    Really sad news. One of the most under rated songwriters, some of the most beautiful music out there.

  89. John Melandro says:

    The comments on here are so right on. I’m glad to see others were as touched by those albums as I always was. Truly one of the greatest ever. I am absolutely crushed.

  90. Andy Haines says:

    Bloody Hell! What shock news! I remember hearing a track from Spirit of Eden played on Radio 1 whilst I was at work in Huddersfield, my first job after graduating from college in 1988. It was to my ears an amazing piece of music and I bought the album on vinyl which I still have. An outstanding piece of work which was followed by Laughing Stock then I discovered Marks solo album which was the final part of the trilogy. I always say to people to have a listen, preferably with headphones on in a quiet space, undisturbed and let the music take you on its journey. A sad loss and a definite full stop in any hope that he would one day write some new material.

  91. Jon says:

    Talk Talk’s first two albums were pop/new wave genius. A pity most fans ignore them. All you ever hear about is how wonderful the last three albums were. I disagree. Those albums are good but don’t match the first two. Now bash away cause my opinion is different then yours….

    • gb says:

      totally totally agree about the first 2 albums.
      I love everything they did. but those first 2 albums
      are very very special to me

  92. Mark says:

    When he did the end title track for ‘Boss’ in 2012, it was stated that that 54 second snippet was just a thin slice of what he had been working on with his Mac. Other rumours pointed to him being a very happy house husband, looking after his children, and I always harboured hopes once they grew up, he might be tempted to return to recording and maybe even playing live. Here’s hoping that the contents of that Mac, and anything else he had get to see the light, although I suspect he’d fight tooth and nail to prevent that happening.

  93. Stephen Thompson says:

    I’m truly stunned by this untimely news. It was one thing to remember George Harrison on what would have been his 76th birthday today but this is a bolt right out of the blue. Mark Hollis was a unique and genuine talent who defied classification with everything he created from Spirit Of Eden onwards. I’m deeply saddened by this news but forever grateful for the beautiful gifts he left us. May he rest in peace. Thoughts with Mark’s family. Thank you, Mark. We have been truly blessed.

  94. Magoo says:


  95. Rich P says:

    Such sad, sad news. Talk Talk were one of my favourite bands and Laughing Stock is one of my favourite albums of all time. Such depth in both lyrics and space in the music he made. R.I.P Mark – your memory lives on in the stunning music you created.

  96. Carl says:

    There goes another of my faves , followed everything they did all through my teens.RIP thanks for the music.

  97. jules says:

    Gutted. A truly brilliant band and a genuine talent. “Such a Shame”.

  98. Sarah says:

    I fell for the music & lyrics of Mark Hollis & Talk Talk in my teens and was smitten forever.

  99. Darren says:

    RIP Mark. Absolutely shocked. “Living in another world” is one the greatest songs. Great epic soaring pop.

  100. Valentin Gallego says:

    The voice of one of the bands goes away for my tops of the 80s, but it leaves us jewels of music.
    I will always remind you and especially all your songs. Rest in peace

  101. Tracey says:

    Truly sad news for those of us who are fans of Talk Talk and Mark. It’s a fascinating journey to trek through the band’s catalog and see the transformation that took place. For those that don’t have the “Asides Besides” collection, please do yourself a favor and add that to your collection. There are some real (in some cases, lesser known) gems on there.

    RIP Mark. Thank you for so many great and memorable songs.

  102. Robert Laversuch says:

    Awful news. Another hero gone. Slender but sublime output. It’s my life is a personal favourite. Such a shame was my reason for getting the album and while I adore that song it turned out to be the worst on the album. RIP

  103. James says:

    Just gutted.

    When ‘It’s My Life’ was released as a single, along with the iconic video-clip, it literally changed my life – “How much do you commit yourself?”

    The personal is always the political.

    The music that continued became a rare thing – transcendent.

    RIP Mark, you made life worth living for so many of us.

  104. Brent Giblin says:

    One of my all-time favourite bands. Nobody sounded like them and their journey from Pop to something unique is astounding. Even though Mark Hollis hadn’t been in the Music Business for 20 years apparently I still play either Colour Of Spring, Spirit Of Eden or Laughing Stock at least once a month.

  105. The Golden Age says:

    Mark Hollis created beautiful, transcendal music. RIP

  106. Murray Robbins says:

    Very saddened and shocked. Mark produced some of the most beautiful, fragile sonic landscapes. It is almost as if his presence in the canon of modern music was as fleeting as the subtle near intangible acoustic environment he created. Less is more.

  107. Chris Lancaster says:

    It’s impossible to overstate how much Talk Talk meant to me in my teenage years and beyond. It was obvious even from The Party’s Over that they had a melancholy and musicianship way beyond their contemporaries, which they went onto demonstrate in unparalleled fashion later in their career.

    It’s hard to think of any other singer or group who have created such a beautiful and moving trio of albums as The Colour of Spring, Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock. I’ve always imagined that I’ll die whilst listening to “Time It’s Time” from The Colour of Spring, gently floating off while Mark Hollis sings “Now that it’s over … rest your head”. Heaven bless you, Mark.

  108. Captain Cutshaw says:

    Can’t really think of anything profound to say beyond what everyone else already has except…I just loved this man’s voice. So unique and such depth to it, the kind of voice that has been sadly lacking from music for years.

    A sad day indeed.

  109. Tim-Meh says:

    A genius. Full stop. Go onto Youtube and watch the Music Box interview with Mark and Tim Pope – sheer hilarity. Man, I’ll miss him.

  110. Dennis Mosen says:

    Shame sad loss I had the pleasure of meeting him and the band at the Birmingham odeon in the 80s such a lovely person and a great show that night ill treasure my signed album I got that night rip Mark

  111. Meadowmeal says:

    Very sad news indeed. Spirit of Eden was so unlike anything I’d ever heard before, it changed the overall meaning of music for me. I’m forever thankful for what he gave us.

  112. David Carter says:

    Very sad news, I bought the debut single Today as an 11 year old but then forgot about them until the re release of Its my Life in the early nineties, only then did I go back and explore their excellent back catalogue. Gone way too soon RIP Mark.

  113. Ben in Colorado says:

    Like many others here I’ve said this is truly a loss. I felt Talk Talk was one of the most beautiful and intellectually stimulating bands I’ve ever heard.

    The songs always evoked such strong emotions. And I always thought the videos were some of the funnest I’ve ever seen.

    I’ve seen a lot of news on STE about artists passing, but this one really hurts.
    Thank you Mark

  114. Bridge says:

    Wow, a lump just appeared in my throat when I opened this. Talk Talk was/is one of my favorite bands. He was a great songwriter. Really saddened to hear this. RIP Mark.

  115. Fredster says:

    Spirit of Eden changed my life. It might have been seen as a commercial suicide in 1988, but it now stands as one of the most impressive records of the all time.
    Talk Talk is one of those rare bands that got better and better with each album.
    It might seem strange to write this on the Superdeluxeedition website, but I wouldn’t like to see expanded editions of their albums with bonus tracks, remixes, etc… Their records are so pure (especially the tetralogy that goes from Colour of Spring to Mark Hollis’ self titled album), that I wouldn’t like anything added to the canon.
    I always wondered what Mark Hollis has been doing since 1998, but I don’t like the idea of a posthumous album or anything like that. The mystery of Mark Hollis’ retreat into silence is an important part of Talk Talk’s magic.
    The only thing that I would love to see properly reissued is “Missing Pieces”, the collection of b-sides from the Laughing Stock era. I don’t think it has ever been released on vinyl, and I’m sure Bada-Bing and Universal could prepare a nice LP just like they did with Laughing Stock and Mark Hollis.

    • Julian H says:

      Well, what about properly releasing London 1986 in full and with video? And there are mixes/tracks from singles that never made a CD compilation. BBC sessions, live in Rotterdam, early mix of “Life’s What You Make It”, etc.

      Also, surround versions of the albums…

  116. Rashers says:

    This is really sad – one of the great modern artists. Spirit of Eden and Colour of Spring and Laughing Stock are great albums. I was hoping for some new material. Hopefully his solo album will be re-released on vinyl.

  117. Nancy says:

    Rest In Peace, Mark!
    You will never be dead to me!
    Thank you for all the truly beautiful moments in music you have given to all of us.
    Such a terrible news. Totally unexpected.
    Am very sad.

  118. JC says:

    What a musical genius. 30+ years later, the music still sounds fresh and unique.

  119. John Orr says:

    Another musical figure from my youth taken away too soon. 64 isn’t that old is it? This past decade in particular has been brutal for the loss of so many great artists. Life is indeed what you make it my friend. Whatever pain you were in, it’s now over, rest easy laddie..

  120. Noel says:

    Very sad news
    RIP Mark
    “The Colour Of Spring” is one of my favourite albums – in particular “Time It’s Time”
    Kind thoughts and love to his family and friends

  121. Tyler Williams says:

    … his words, his music, his voice have given me some of the greatest joy I have ever experienced. I’ve missed him dearly for decades, and now, even more. If you’ve never listened to “The Colour of Spring,” you’re missing out on something so beautiful, it could never be recreated. R.I.P. Mark

  122. poptones says:

    Sad news. Talk Talk was a wonderful pop band in the mid 80s but they became unique and started a new genre with their last two albums (spirit of eden and laughing stock) in the late 80s and early 90s. Two masterpieces. I shall add that The Colour Of Spring also contains great songs and gave an idea of the future direction of the band. I also like a lot Mark Hollis’ 1998 solo album. They also released some fantastic 12″ singles and b- sides. One of my favorite b-side was on the 12″ of Living In Another World : For What It’s Worth. I hope they will reissue the Asides Bsides compilation on vinyl. It’s a great compilation.

  123. Michael says:

    Ascension Day, Desire, I Believe In You, Happiness Is Easy, Have You Heard The News?, It’s My Life, The Party’s Over, Such A Shame, Does Caroline Know. Thanks Mark for the beautiful music. It enriched my life.

  124. Tcf says:

    I‘m really devastated…..

  125. ROBIN PULLEN says:

    After the sad sad loss of both Colin Vearncombe and then Prince it seems that all of my musical idols that I have worshiped over the years are sadly leaving us; Mark may have not left a huge body of work but what a body of work he did leave, absolutely peerless on their later albums

  126. David culmer says:

    Oh no, how sad. Amazing songs.

  127. Caroline says:

    Absolutely gutted. On the few occasions I’ve attempted to pick my top 10 of all time, “Spirit Of Eden”, “Laughing Stock” and “Mark Hollis” were all in there. never has a music been so full of wonder, so infused with the joy of nature, so deep with compassion.

    What a legacy. I hope he enjoyed his retirement and lived his best life.

    RIP Mark. Thank you. Thank you so much.

  128. Gareth says:

    Dreadful news. Mark was just about the only person in the 80s who still valued things analogue and real – to his career detriment, but our lasting benefit. Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock were both engineered by Phill Brown. His book on the experience, ‘Are We Still Rolling’, which also covers a ton of 70s artists, is well worth the read.

  129. Isaías says:

    Truely sad about it!

    It was 1984 when I first heard “It’s My Life” for the very first time and I can remember it like it was today, I was teen back then now I’m 53.

    Talk Talk is one of my favourite band and unfortunately EMI ( at the time) didn’t accept the musical change direction which ended up in the band’s split. God knows what kind of albums Talk Talk could’ve bring to us but records company only deals with money. I still dream of deluxe boxe of each album to be release with all the material left behind. I’m aware it’s almost impossible to happen. I think I’m “Living In Another World.”

    I’m sad!

  130. CHRIS says:

    He is living in another world to us. i hope it’s a better one. Life’s what you make it as a song and as an expression defined my way of seeing things in life. He seemed tormented. i hope he rests in peace.

  131. thomas solimine says:

    Very sad. What a band. What a songwriter. Talk about an artist that could make great music across genres, mix styles etc… What a loss!

  132. tom says:

    Absolutely gutted…Talk Talk produced some genius music and I don’t mean that lightly. RIP Mark.

  133. Philip Birtwistle says:

    Genius is a much overused word, but this guy was a true genius. Unappreciated sadly. He will be much missed.


    really sad news!

  135. Eric says:

    One of the greats. Never bowed to industry forces, and made music on his terms. Even if that meant not making any music since 1998. Spirit Of Eden has become a modern classic, but The Colour Of Spring is the one for me, timeless and extraordinary. It’s My Life is close behind. What a trilogy.

    Such sad and unexpected news.


  136. martin farnworth says:

    Very sad. Only listening to some Talk Talk the other day from all parts of their career. Found it intriguing how he disappeared from the public eye and recording. That said it was an incredible musical transformation that i guess couldn’t be improved upon any further.

    • Kevin from Edinburgh says:

      Many years ago – early 90s – I found myself staying on a houseboat on Dal Lake, Srinagar, Kashmir. I was ruing the fact that I didn’t have ‘Kashmir’ by Led Zep with me to play, but a previous guest had left behind a tape of Talk Talk (some ‘Best of’). One evening there was a thunder storm, and I sat on the front of the boat, watching the lightning fork over and around the surrounding hills, all the while listening to the tape. Some of it I was familiar with, but much of it was new. I must have played it 3 or 4 times. It was magical then, and his music has remained so through the intervening years. RIP to a one-off.

  137. Derek C says:

    The voice and songs will always be timeless RIP

  138. Chris says:

    This sucks.

  139. Ross Baker says:

    Hard to do the guy justice in words. He stuck to his guns right to the end, said he was done with recording music and never released anything else again. The Party’s Over is a bit of a compromised debut – albeit with some great songs – but the remaining four Talk Talk albums and Hollis’s debut are absolutely immaculate pieces of music, and chart one of the most incredible career progressions in rock. An astonishingly insightful and frequently hilarious guy in interviews, too.

    I truly hope we get not posthumous releases of his work from the last 20 years. Much as I love the guy’s work, it’s not what he would have wanted.


  140. Len says:

    Very sad news – such a talent. His music and spirit will certainly live on and he’ll be remembered for some of the most inspiring music of our generation.

  141. DJ Salinger says:

    Hard to find the words really. When someone’s music has been such a profound part of your life their passing feels like a personal loss.

    Like most TT fans I’ve spent the past 20 years secretly hoping Mark would emerge from retirement with new music. Now something unique and irreplaceable has gone.

    The consolation is, if course, the peerless body of work he’s left us with. The power of those latter albums just keeps growing with the passing years. Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock in particular have a power that increasingly seems as mystical as it is influential. No one’s ever come close to matching them imo.

    Rest easy Mark, you gifted the world with beauty beyond measure.

  142. Mark mccann says:

    Such sad news. A maverick. Total genius melodies and songwriting amazing albums, an artist who improved over the years rip

  143. Benedikt says:

    Oh no. This is very sad news. What a loss. I‘m really shocked.
    „Happiness is easy“ is still one of my favourite songs.
    Rest in peace, Mark Hollis.

  144. Bart says:

    Oh my god …. I ve been loving Talk talk and Hollis work since 1991…i just dont know what to say

  145. Gary Hunter says:

    “The Party’s Over” and “It’s My Life” are two of the most played albums from the 80s, two pure classics, wasn’t into their later stuff but those two albums have played a very important part in my life, especially the early 80s.

    RIP Mark

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