Tom VerlaineSinger and the guitarist for punk legends the television who made the band’s masterpiece in 1977 Moon marqueeat the age of 73.
Jesse Paris Smith, daughter of Patti Smith, confirms Verlaine’s death after ‘a brief illness’ Rolling Stone on Saturday. He died peacefully in New York City, surrounded by his closest friends. “His vision and imagination will be missed,” Smith wrote.
Born Thomas Miller, Verlaine (who adopted his last name from French poet Paul Verlaine) was classmates in high school with fellow punk icon Richard Hill, with whom he would later form his first bands. Arriving on Manhattan’s Lower East Side at the dawn of punk, Verlaine and Inferno first collaborated in the short-lived Neon Boys before he co-founded Television in 1973 alongside guitarist Richard Lloyd.
Verlaine and Television honed their sound as one of the first acts in legendary punk clubs like CBGB – where he established one of the oldest residencies in that place – and Max’s Kansas City. Patti Smith – who likened Verlaine’s guitar sound to “Shouting Thousand Bluebeard— was in the audience on an early TV show in 1974, and split the bill with television when The Patti Smith Group made its CBGB debut the following year.
Hell will soon be leaving television to join fellow Heartbreakers. With Verlaine and Lloyd taking over, the duo developed a guitar sound that mixed punk riffs and jazz interplay. After their debut with the 1975 single “Little Johnny Jewel,” TV released what was their masterpiece—and one of the greatest albums of the punk era— Moon marqueeIts centerpiece was the album’s quirky, glamorous track. (The album was, as Rolling Stone It was noted in the review, “the most interesting and daring” of the series of 1977 releases from CBGB bands like Blondie and the Ramones, but also “the most disturbing”.)
“When the Telecasters debuted in New York, at the dawn of punk, they played a discordant and escalating mix of genres: the raucous howls of the Velvet Underground, the nimble art rock, double-helix guitar riffs of the Quicksilver Messenger Service,” Rolling Stone wrote about Moon marqueeAnd 107 on our list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
As exhilarating in its lyrical ambitions as the Ramones’ debut in its brutal simplicity, Moon marquee still stunned,” Rolling Stone books. “Friction,” “The Flower,” and the great title track are meandering, desperate, and beautiful all at once. As for his punk credentials, don’t forget the subtle electricity and stifling existentialism of guitarist Tom Verlaine’s voice and writing.”
The Classic TV lineup would only release one more album during the ’70s, 1978’s Adventurebefore Verlaine embarked on his solo career. As Patti Smith writes, Verlaine displayed on his albums “his angular lyricism and pointed lyrical sides, sly wit, and ability to rock every chord to his subtlest emotions.” (The classic TV lineup of Verlaine, Lloyd, bassist Fred Smith, and drummer Billy Fica reunited for one last album – 1992 the television.)
In 1979, Verlaine released his self-titled solo album, which included the song “Kingdom Come” recorded a year later by David Bowie for That Icon’s 1980 album. Scary monsters and super freaks. As a solo artist, Verlaine remained prolific over the next few decades, transitioning seamlessly from post-punk explorations to all-concert EPs, silent film scores to collaborations with Smith and former CBGB residents.
Tom Verlaine once complained that he never wrote about two of the most powerful dreams in his life, “because it’s hard to get past the language of dreams.” That may be the case, but Verlaine still manages to get closer to solving this problem than anyone else. in the midst of it,” Rolling Stone On Verlaine’s 1982 solo LP, he wrote, Words from the front. “As in all phases of his work, there is something so inspiring yet effortless about Verlaine’s songs that you have to wonder if he writes them… well, in his sleep.”
in 1988 interview with Rolling Stone!, U2’s the Edge cited Verlaine as one of his main influences. He said, “I think what I took away from Verlaine wasn’t really his style, but the fact that he did something no one else did.” “And I loved it; I thought that was valuable.”