Tom Verlaine of seminal Art-Punk band Television has died

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28 Jan 2023, 10:22 pm

Tom Verlaine, Singer and Guitarist of Punk Legends Television, Dead at 73

TOM VERLAINE, SINGER and guitarist for punk legends Television who crafted the band’s 1977 masterpiece Marquee Moon, has died at the age of 73.

Jesse Paris Smith, the daughter of Patti Smith, confirmed Verlaine’s death following a “brief illness” to Rolling Stone on Saturday. “He died peacefully in New York City, surrounded by close friends. His vision and his imagination will be missed,” Smith wrote.

Verlaine and Television honed their sound as one of the premier acts at legendary punk clubs like CBGB — establishing one of the earliest residencies at that venue — and Max’s Kansas City. Patti Smith — who once likened Verlaine’s guitar sound to “a thousand bluebirds screaming” — was in the audience for one of Television’s early shows in 1974, and split the bill with Television when the Patti Smith Group made their CBGB debut the following year.

Hell would soon leave Television to join fellow punk act the Heartbreakers. With Verlaine and Lloyd taking the reins, the duo developed a guitar sound that merged punk riffs with jazz interplay. After making their recorded debut with the 1975 single “Little Johnny Jewel,” Television released what was their masterpiece — and one of the greatest albums of the punk era — Marquee Moon, the centerpiece of which was the album’s twisty, mesmerizing title track.

Television’s classic lineup would only release one more album during the Seventies, 1978’s Adventure before Verlaine embarked on his solo career. As Patti Smith wrote, Verlaine showcased on his albums “his angular lyricism and pointed lyrical asides, a sly wit, and an ability to shake each string to its truest emotion.”

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