Television icon Tom Verlaine has died aged 73.
Tom Verlaine, the singer, guitarist and songwriter best known as the leader of the New York rock band Television, has died at the age of 73.
His death was confirmed by Jesse Paris Smith (daughter of Patti Smith), who said in a press release that Verlaine succumbed to a “brief illness” on Saturday (January 28). “He died peacefully in New York, surrounded by close friends. His vision and imagination will be greatly missed.”
Born Thomas Miller in New Jersey, Verlaine took up the guitar after hearing the Rolling Stones’ “19th Nervous Breakdown” as a teenager. He met his old collaborator Richard Hell at boarding school in Delaware; they soon escaped to New York, where Bob Dylan inspired his new name, taken from the famous French poet Paul Verlaine.
Inspired by local punk legend Terry Ork, in 1972 Verlaine and Hell formed the Neon Boys with drummer Billy Ficca. Within a year, they were renamed Television and hired Richard Lloyd as guitarist. Hell would leave two years later (replacing Fred Smith on bass), and the group released their first album, “Marquee Moon,” in 1977 through Elektra.
The band’s second album, 1978’s “Eachtraíochta”, was a moderate success, receiving critical acclaim and reaching number seven on the UK charts. However, the band broke up later that year, prompting Verlaine to pursue a solo career. His self-titled debut came in 1979 through Elektra, and was ranked accordingly NME as the 15th best album of the year.
After releasing five more solo albums, Verlaine returned to Television in 1991, successfully juggling the band with his own projects. In 1992, Verlaine released two albums: a self-titled one with Television (which was his last studio album) and the solo LP “Warm And Cool”.
Although Television did not release any further material, they remained active in the following years, touring occasionally until 2019. In 2013, the band revealed that they had almost completed a 2000s “comeback” album, at 16 songs were recorded during the holidays. of 2007. None of that matter came to light.
In the hours since Verlaine’s death was confirmed, the rock world has not stopped paying tribute to him. In a public ode shared on social media, Smith wrote: “I love you always and forever, and memory and hand will always be close – the hands of a beautiful creator and a love that is warmer, more tender, more sensitive and more true. . that one can ever dream. There has never been another like you and never will be…”
REM’s Michael Stipe was among those who shared his respect for the late proto-punk icon, writing: “I’ve lost a hero. Bless you Tom Verlaine and thank you for the songs, lyrics and vocals. And more .Late the laughter, the inspiration, the stories and the firm belief that music and art can change and change things, lives, experiences. You introduced me to a world that turned my life upside down. I will forever grateful”.
See those tributes, and a few more, below: