Tom Verlaine

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Television Leader Tom Verlaine Passes Away At Age 73

Tom Verlaine

Tom Verlaine, a guitarist who rose to prominence in the 1970s New York punk scene as the lead singer of the rock band Television, has passed away at the age of 73.

In their prime, Television had three UK Top 40 hit singles and their albums Marquee Moon and Adventure were critically lauded.

However, they were more successful in Britain than in their own United States, and they disbanded in 1978.

Jesse Paris Smith, the daughter of longtime associate and collaborator Patti Smith, revealed Verlaine’s passing.

She did not identify the reason for death, stating only that he passed away “after a brief illness.”

Verlaine was regarded as one of the most talented musicians to come from New York’s Bowery’s now-defunct CBGBs club, whose contemporaries included Blondie, The Ramones, and Talking Heads.

Although they rose to fame as a result of the punk movement, their music was more complicated than that of their competitors, with guitarists Verlaine and Richard Lloyd swapping extended jazz-influenced solos.

Thomas Miller was given the stage name Verlaine in honor of the French symbolist poet Paul Verlaine.

After Television disbanded, he recorded a series of solo albums, one of which, Kingdom Come, was covered by David Bowie on his album Scary Monsters.

Television regrouped in 1992, releasing a self-titled third album, and was intermittently active in later years, being acknowledged as a major influence on the 1980s and 1990s alternative music.

Mike Scott of The Waterboys was among those paying tribute to Verlaine, tweeting:

“Tom Verlaine has passed on to the beyond that his guitar playing always hinted to.”

“He was the greatest rock & roll guitarist of all time, and like Hendrix, he could play everything from space rock to garage music. That requires exceptional greatness.”

Will Sergeant, the guitarist for Echo & The Bunnymen, remarked, “Tom Verlaine’s playing meant everything to me.” If I could ever play something that sounded like him, I would be satisfied. Thank you, Tom, for getting me started as a guitarist.

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