Mark Hollis of Talk Talk has died

“He was one of the greats, if not the greatest,” said bassist Paul Webb.

Mark Hollis, frontman and songwriter of highly influential group Talk Talk, has died. He was 64.

News of his passing, which spread online yesterday, was confirmed to NPR by the musician’s longtime manager Keith Aspden. He also revealed Hollis had died after a short illness.

Talk Talk bassist Paul Webb—who records music under the moniker Rustin Man—posted a heartfelt message about Hollis on Instagram. “Musically he was a genius and it was [an] honor and a privilege to have been in a band with him,” he wrote.

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“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. He knew how to create depth of feeling with sound and space like no other. He was one of the greats, if not the greatest.”

Talk Talk, often slotted under the categories of art rock or synth pop, were famous for defying genre expectations and incorporating influences from jazz, classical, ambient music and more. Formed in 1981, the British group broke through on EMI with their 1984 sophomore album, It’s My Life. Their commercial success continued with 1986’s Colour of Spring, and though their 1988 record, Spirit of Eden, was not as embraced by the mainstream, it was nevertheless hailed by critics as a masterpiece.

Their last full-length album, Laughing Stock, was released in 1991 on a different label, Verve Records (under Polydor). After its release, Hollis largely disappeared from the public eye, though he did release a self-titled solo LP in 1998.

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RIP, Mark Hollis. You will be missed. Listen to Spirit of Eden below:

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