Who was Tom Verlaine?
At the age of 73, Television frontman, composer, and iconic guitar player Tom Verlaine has passed away. He passed away “after a brief illness,” as Jesse Paris Smith, Patti Smith’s daughter, put it in her death announcement.
Thomas Miller (later known as Verlaine) was born in Denville, New Jersey. He started off playing the piano but was inspired to take up the saxophone after hearing a record of Stan Getz.
On stage at Hammersmith Odeon, London, on May 28, 1977, from right to left, are Tom Verlaine of Television and Robert Forster, an Australian musician and former member of the Go-Betweens.
When he was a teenager, he heard the Rolling Stones’ 1966 song, 19th Nervous Breakdown, and was moved to start playing guitar.
His chosen pseudonym is an homage to the French symbolist poet Paul Verlaine.
Tom Verlaine Career
After graduating high school, he and his buddy Richard Hell, who also had an interest in music and poetry, travelled to New York City, where they eventually joined forces to establish the Neon Boys in 1972.
After a brief hiatus in March of 1973, the band reassembled under the name Television and added Richard Lloyd on guitar. When they first performed together in March of 1974. After Hell’s departure in 1975, the band’s debut song was recorded and released with Fred Smith in his place.
Verlaine, the band’s main vocalist and primary songwriter, dated poet and musician Patti Smith during the early days of the New York punk movement; the two would go on to work together often in the years that followed.
Television’s albums, Marquee Moon and Adventure, were met with high praise from critics but failed to break even commercially. One of the seminal punk albums, Marquee Moon helped shape the genre.
The band disbanded in July of 1978, although Verlaine went on to have a successful solo career in the 1980s while also spending time in England.
Television reunited in 1992, releasing a third album named Television and making occasional live appearances.
Tom Verlaine has moved on to the beyond that his guitar playing always hinted to,” Waterboys member Mike Scott tweeted. Like Hendrix, he was the greatest guitarist in rock & roll history, and his music ranged from outer space boogie to garage rock. That calls for a truly exceptional hero.”
Tom Verlaine, who was initially heard on Patti Smith’s “Hey Joe” and “Break It Up,” and Television’s “Little Johnny Jewel,” offered the most fantastic, otherworldly guitar playing. The definition of jazzed up: amazing and creative. Never been exceeded, never been equaled except by himself.