The guitar world mourns the passing of Television frontman Tom Verlaine
The guitar world is mourning the passing of Television co-founder and frontman Tom Verlaine, who died Saturday (28 January) at the age of 73.
Jesse Paris Smith, the daughter of Verlaine’s former partner Patti Smith, confirmed in a press release that the musician died peacefully “after a brief illness”, while “surrounded by close friends”.
As the singer and guitarist of the seminal New York punk band Television, Verlaine was known for his distinct and inventive guitar playing style. The band’s debut and sophomore albums, Marquee Moon and Adventure, were met with critical acclaim and laid the foundation for alternative rock.
Musicians and fans alike have since taken to social media to honour the late Verlaine, with Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers tweeting that Verlaine “immeasurably” affected his and bandmate John Frusciante’s playing style.
“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 [sic] more. Tom Verlaine is one of the greatest rock musicians ever,” Flea wrote.
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
“Tom Verlaine has passed over to the beyond that his guitar playing always hinted at,” Mike Scott of The Waterboys tweeted. “He was the best rock and roll guitarist of all time, and like Hendrix could dance from the spheres of the cosmos to garage rock. That takes a special greatness.”
Appears to be true: Tom Verlaine has passed over to the beyond that his guitar playing always hinted at. He was the best rock and roll guitarist of all time, and like Hendrix could dance from the spheres of the cosmos to garage rock. That takes a special greatness. #TomVerlaine https://t.co/e62cTZyYLF
— Mike Scott (@MickPuck) January 28, 2023
Billy Idol also paid tribute to the guitarist and songwriter on social media, saying Verlaine “made incredible music that greatly influenced the US & UK punk rock scene in the ’70’s.”
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
Meanwhile, Blondie co-founder and guitarist Chris Stein remembered his first meeting with the late musician in 1972.
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
View more tributes below.
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— Debbie Harry/BLONDIE (@BlondieOfficial) January 28, 2023
Most nights we walk onstage to Marquee Moon- RIP to Tom Verlaine, the realest deal
— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) January 28, 2023
Devastated by this news. Tom Verlaine was a true great. His role in our culture and straight up awesomeness on the electric guitar was completely legendary. Name 10 minutes of music as good as Marquee Moon. You can’t. It’s perfect. Rest in peace Tom x https://t.co/6HAwg5k9PS
— stuart braithwaite (@plasmatron) 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
Beautifully lyrical guitarist, underrated vocalist. Television made a new kind of music and inspired new kinds of music. Marquee Moon is a perfect record. Requiescat.https://t.co/uxt7IMz2rO
— steve albini (@electricalWSOP) January 28, 2023
Went by the book stalls outside Strand yesterday thinking I’d see you as usual, have a smoke, talk about rare poetry finds for a couple of hours, downtown NYC racing by our slow meditations on music, writing – gonna miss you Tom. TV Rest In Peace.
— Thurston Moore (@nowjazznow) January 28, 2023
Peace and love, Tom Verlaine. pic.twitter.com/zewZz0sJQn
— Susanna Hoffs (@SusannaHoffs) January 28, 2023
A true original. No one played guitar like Tom Verlaine before or since. Sat crossed legged on the floor on his side of the stage in Roskilde as he played in Patti Smith’s band and that was as close to perfection as you can get. A sad sad day. Rest in Peace Tom pic.twitter.com/445yrvH6m8
— Simon Raymonde (@mrsimonraymonde) January 28, 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
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