Tom Verlaine, legendary American guitarist and founder of punk rock band Television dead at 73

Tom Verlaine, legendary American guitarist and founder of punk rock band Television dead at 73

Tom Verlaine, legendary American guitarist and founder of punk rock band Television dead at 73

Tom Verlaine passed away at the age of 73. The legendary American guitarist and songwriter rose to fame in the 1970s as the founder of the punk rock band Television. Verlaine’s death was confirmed by Jessie Paris Smith, the daughter of his colleague, and Patti Smith, a former New York Times intern. While no specific reason was given, Jessie shared that the musician passed away after a “brief illness.”

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More about Tom Verlaine

Tom Verlaine was born as Thomas Miller on December 13, 1949 in Danville, New Jersey. As reported by The Guardian, Verlaine was inclined towards music from an early age. He played piano as a child, but later switched to saxophone after listening to a Stan Getz record. Miller adopted the stage name Tom Verlaine as a tribute to the famous French Symbolist poet Paul Verlaine. The musician began learning the guitar after hearing The Rolling Stones’ 19th Nervous Breakdown in 1966. He was one of the most successful guitarists to emerge from the now-defunct CBGB New York’s Bowery club, along with contemporaries such as Blondie, The Ramones and Talking Heads.

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More on Tom Verlaine’s New York City Band TV

Formed in 1973, Television consisted of Tom Verlaine on guitar and vocals, Richard Hale on bass and vocals, Billy Ficca on drums, and Richard Lloyd as second guitarist. In 1975, Fred Smith joined on bass following Hale’s departure. During its musical high point, Television scored three UK Top 40 hit singles. Some of their most acclaimed albums include Marquee Moon (1977), which was recognized by critics as one of the most original debuts in years. Their second album was called Adventure (1978), after which the band broke up and Verlaine and Lloyd focused on their solo careers. In 2002, they reunited for a third self-titled album.

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Remembering Tom Verlaine, Mike Scott of The Waterboys wrote on his Twitter account: “Tom Verlaine has gone beyond what his guitar playing always hinted at. He was the greatest rock and roll guitarist of all time and could dance from the realms of the universe to garage rock like Hendrix. It takes a special greatness. He further wrote: “Tom Verlaine…first heard on Patti Smith’s Hey Joe and Break It Up, and on TV’s Little Johnny Jewel playing the most incredible, ethereal guitar. Fabulous, inspired, jazz explosion. Never surpassed, never equaled except myself.

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