Tom Verlaine, Television Frontman & Guitarist, Dead At 73
Tom Verlaine, frontman and guitarist for seminal NYC punk band Television, has died at 73.
The New York Times reported that the punk pioneer died Saturday in Manhattan. Jesse Paris Smith, daughter of Verlaine’s ex and frequent collaborator Patti Smith, told the outlet that Verlaine died “following a brief illness.”
Born Thomas Miller in Denville, New Jersey, he met Richard Meyers at a boarding school in Delaware, with the two moving to New York City and changing their names to Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell, respectively, to form the band Neon Boys along with drummer Billy Ficca.
That band didn’t last, but then reformed as Television, adding guitarist Richard Lloyd. Television quickly became the darlings of the budding NYC punk scene, gaining a following with performances at legendary clubs CBGBs and Max’s Kansas City.
Verlaine and Hell parted ways in 1975 (the latter going on to form Richard Hell and the Voivoids), and added Fred Smith on bass.
Television recorded two albums, 1977’s Marquee Moon and 1978’s Adventure before breaking up in July 1978. Neither album was a commercial success, but are now seen as sonic masterpieces that influenced numerous punk and new wave artists that followed.
In the subsequent years, Verlaine reformed Television on several occasions, with the band releasing their third album — the self-titled Television — in 1992.
Verlaine went on to a successful solo career in England, and also collaborated with various other artists, including David Bowie, Smashing Pumpkins’ James Iha and members of Sonic Youth.
Verlaine’s passing was met with numerous tributes on social media.
Sad 2 hear of @TELE_VISION_TV #tomverlaine passing today. He made incredible music that greatly influenced the US & UK punk rock scene in the ‘70’s RIP pic.twitter.com/hbntmsLqMm
— Billy Idol (@BillyIdol) January 28, 2023
No. Not Tom Verlaine. 💔
— Garbage (@garbage) January 28, 2023
I met Tom Verlaine when he just arrived in NYC I guess ’72. He had long hair and came to my apartment with an acoustic guitar and played some songs he’d written. Both Tom and Richard Hell have told me that I auditioned for the Neon Boys but I don’t remember.
— Cʜʀɪs Sᴛᴇɪɴ (@chrissteinplays) January 28, 2023
Aww man…rest well, Tom Verlaine pic.twitter.com/rxCcUNYtVi
— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) January 28, 2023
Most nights we walk onstage to Marquee Moon- RIP to Tom Verlaine, the realest deal
— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) January 28, 2023
Tom Verlaine 1949-2023
“I’ve lost a hero…. You introduced me to a world that flipped my life upside down. I am forever grateful.” – Michael Stipe pic.twitter.com/csmxXhKPht
— R.E.M. HQ (@remhq) January 29, 2023
Peace and love, Tom Verlaine. 💔 pic.twitter.com/zewZz0sJQn
— Susanna Hoffs (@SusannaHoffs) January 28, 2023
listened to Marquee Moon 1000 times. And I mean LISTENED, sitting still, lights down low taking it all in. awe and wonder every time. Will listen 1000 more. Tom Verlaine is one of the greatest rock musicians ever. He effected the way John and I play immeasurably. Fly on Tom.
— Flea (@flea333) January 29, 2023
RIP Tom Verlaine. Along with Patti Smith’s Horses, Marquee Moon ranks as one of if not THE best New Wave album of the 70’s punk era. I bought it when it came out and saw them on their first tour with Blondie opening! It was a great gig. I still play the album to this day ❤️M pic.twitter.com/R7Qvqxy8DA
— Simply Red (@SimplyRedHQ) January 29, 2023
Tom Verlaine was one of the best guitar players ever. RIP. #MarqueeMoon
— marc maron (@marcmaron) January 29, 2023
Saw Television many times back in the day at CBGB’s 🙏🏾
— David Alan Grier AKA #LeonMusk (@davidalangrier) January 29, 2023
More 2023 fretted heartbreak 💔. One of the GREAT Punk lead stylists. Tom Verlaine was a True Downtown HERO. Saddened & bummed to hear it.
— Vernon Reid (@vurnt22) January 28, 2023
Tom Verlaine. An absolute legend. ‘Marquee Moon’ is arguably the greatest rock and roll album of all time. RIP.
— @ACNewman (@ACNewman) January 28, 2023