Tom Verlaine, the frontman of foundational late-’70s New York City art-punk quartet Television, an accomplished songwriter and solo artist, and a dazzling and hugely influential guitarist, died Saturday at the age 73, according to The New York Times.
The Times cited an announcement by Jesse Paris Smith, the daughter of Patti Smith, who said Verlaine died “after a brief illness,” but did not specify a cause of death.
Verlaine formed Television in 1973 with bassist Richard Hell, drummer Billy Ficca and second guitarist Richard Lloyd. Conflict within the band led to Hell’s departure, and he was replaced on bass by Fred Smith prior to the recording of the band’s classic debut, 1977’s Marquee Moon — a record that displayed Verlaine’s wild yet precise guitar interplay with Lloyd, no more so than on the 10-minute title track.
The band recorded another album, 1978’s Adventure, before breaking up later that same year. Verlaine went on to record numerous solo albums through the late ’70s into the 2000s, and Television ultimately reformed, recording a self-titled record in 1992, and performing live sporadically during the 2000s.
Below, play Marquee Moon — loud, preferably — and check out some reaction to Tom Verlaine’s passing.
— Debbie Harry/BLONDIE (@BlondieOfficial) January 28, 2023
I met Tom Verlaine when he just arrived in NYC I guess '72. He had long hair and came to my apartment with an acoustic guitar and played some songs he'd written. Both Tom and Richard Hell have told me that I auditioned for the Neon Boys but I don't remember.
— Cʜʀɪs Sᴛᴇɪɴ (@chrissteinplays) January 28, 2023
I so wanted to see this tour but the Manchester date was the night before our English O Level exam and no one would go with me. Huge regreat. RIP Tom. https://t.co/9JA0m1yLMG
— Lloyd Cole (@Lloyd_Cole) January 28, 2023
Tom Verlaine’s playing meant the world to me. If I ever played anything that sounded like him I was happy. He set me on my path as a guitarist, thank you Tom. pic.twitter.com/wMTvkxuy04
— Will Sergeant (@Will_Fuzz) January 28, 2023
Tom Verlaine…first heard on Patti Smith's "Hey Joe" and "Break It Up", and Television's "Little Johnny Jewel", the most incredible, otherwordly guitar playing. Jazzblown, fantastic, inspired. Never surpassed, never equalled except by himself. #TomVerlaine
— Mike Scott (@MickPuck) January 28, 2023
Went by the book stalls outside Strand yesterday thinking I’d see you as usual, have a smoke, talk about rare poetry finds for a couple of hours, downtown NYC racing by our slow meditations on music, writing – gonna miss you Tom. TV Rest In Peace.
— Thurston Moore (@nowjazznow) January 28, 2023
Devastated by this news. Tom Verlaine was a true great. His role in our culture and straight up awesomeness on the electric guitar was completely legendary. Name 10 minutes of music as good as Marquee Moon. You can’t. It’s perfect. Rest in peace Tom x https://t.co/6HAwg5k9PS
— stuart braithwaite (@plasmatron) January 28, 2023
listened to Marquee Moon 1000 times. And I mean LISTENED, sitting still, lights down low taking it all in. awe and wonder every time. Will listen 1000 more. Tom Verlaine is one of the greatest rock musicians ever. He effected the way John and I play immeasurably. Fly on Tom.
— Flea (@flea333) January 29, 2023
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