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Digital Subscriptions > Long Live Vinyl > Jul 2019 - David Bowie > Talk Talk THE COLOUR OF SPRING


In the early 80s, Talk Talk seemed destined to be remembered as one of many bands marketed cynically as New Romantics by record companies who were far more concerned with shortterm gain than significant creative and commercial development. Third studio album The Colour Of Spring would change all that, and as Neil Crossley explains, it would propel the band from synth-pop wannabes towards boldly experimental territory…
From synth-pop to post-rock: (l to r) Mark Hollis with Paul Webb and Lee Harris
Rob Verhorst/Redferns/Getty

The outpouring of tributes following the sudden death of Mark Hollis on 25 February this year was notable for the sheer depth of respect shown to the Talk Talk founder and frontman by his contemporaries. One of the most repeated and retweeted quotes in the hours and days following the 64-year-old’s death came from a 2012 interview with Guy Garvey in Mojo magazine, in which the Elbow frontman discussed Hollis’s enduring influence.

“Mark started from punk and by his own admission he had no musical ability,” said Garvey. “To go from having the urge, to writing some of the most timeless, intricate and original music ever is as impressive as the moon landings.”

It’s a sentiment reinforced by many. Over the course of five albums, Hollis would transform Talk Talk from an intriguing post-punk outit to a band that created an extraordinary body of work, breathtakingly beautiful music with a spiritual power that could move listeners to their core.

The first real signs of what Talk Talk were capable of came with their third studio album, he Colour Of Spring (1986), on which they wrenched themselves free from the constraints of 80s commercialism and pursued a stunningly creative course. Over three decades on from its release, this ethereal and enigmatic album still resonates as strongly as the day it was released.


From the outset, Mark Hollis’s musical touchstones were eclectic. Born in Tottenham, north London in 1955, he was heavily influenced by his elder brother Ed, a voracious collector of records who would go on to manage and produce Canvey Island pub rockers Eddie & the Hot Rods. Ed Hollis guided his younger brother towards sounds that he otherwise may not have encountered, from free jazz and prog rock to American garage bands.

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About Long Live Vinyl

1969 was the year that changed everything for David Bowie, and in our exclusive cover feature we speak to his former girlfriend Hermione Farthingale, plus bandmates John 'Hutch' Hutchinson and George Underwood to get the inside story. With three new Bowie boxsets out this year, you won't want to miss these rare interviews with the people who knew Bowie best – and our stunning collector's cover. Elsewhere this issue, we meet the ever-engaging Richard Hawley for a pint and a chat about his new album, Further, while Calexico and Iron & Wine tell us about their collaboration LP, Years To Burn. On the 40th anniversary of Joy Division's stellar debut Unknown Pleasures, Peter Hook takes us inside the making of the album, and we look back at another classic, Talk Talk's The Colour Of Spring. We also pay tribute to US indie label Merge on their 30th birthday and hear from James Lavelle about working with DJ Shadow, Thom Yorke, Richard Ashcroft and Danny Boyle. If all that's not enough, we bring you 40 essential vinyl samplers and meet Super Furry Animals artwork designer Pete Fowler. Plus you'll find the widest range of new album, reissue and hi-fi gear reviews anywhere on the newsstand. Long Live Vinyl is THE magazine for vinyl lovers. Pick up your copy today…