THERE’S a pretty good chance that you’ve never heard of Mark Hollis.

Even though he was in the news this week, following his untimely death at the age of 64, the passing of the 80s musician briefly made the front pages of news websites in the UK, but was quickly displaced by Brexit shenanigans, the unseasonably warm weather, and yet more Brexit.

Hollis was the lead singer of the band Talk Talk, who formed in 1981. Over roughly the following decade, they released a couple of dozen singles and a handful of albums, with top chart positions of 13 for a reissue of the “It’s My Life” single and 8 for the “The Colour Of Spring” album.

Somewhat hard to categorise, calling them “synth-pop” somewhat unfairly implies an overtly poppy, lightweight, sound – and they were far from that. As their music became more experimental in the mid-80s, “post-rock” or “art rock” might be fairer.

They did sound different to everyone else – and hypnotically so in some cases, with hints of early Roxy Music seemingly inspiring their style. After Talk Talk disbanded, Hollis released a solo album in ’98, but subsequently disappeared from the public eye. Asked why, he explained that he’d done it for his family; “Maybe others are capable of doing it, but I can’t go on tour and be a good dad at the same time”.

The tributes from fellow band members, musical peers and modern stars show clearly that whilst Talk Talk achieved moderate success, they were a huge influence and greatly respected.

The band’s bassist, Paul Webb, described Hollis as “a genius and it was an honour to have been in a band with him” and that he had been “profoundly influenced by his trailblazing musical ideas. He knew how to create depth of feeling with sound and space like no other”.

Adele’s producer, Paul Epworth, credited Talk Talk and Hollis with being the catalyst for his career, saying on Twitter that “Spirit Of Eden blew my 18-year-old mind. I set out to try and learn how they had created this transcendent masterpiece.”

The Doves said that they couldn’t “overstate the influence on us three as musicians”, and Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon said simply that Hollis was “one of music’s great innovators”. One of Talk Talk’s minor hits was “Such A Shame”. How apt.