Remembering Tom Verlaine

Tom Verlaine, influential guitarist, songwriter and television frontman, passed away on Saturday at the age of 73.

Tom Verlaine, founder and frontman of the American rock band Television, passed away on Saturday after a brief illness. His death was confirmed by Jesse Paris Smith, who told The Rolling Stone that he “died peacefully in New York City, surrounded by close friends”.

TV only released two albums, moon marquee Y Adventurebefore breaking up in 1978. Although their music received only moderate sales, they received critical acclaim and moon marquee it is often considered one of the best albums of the 1970s.

Credit: Gus Stewart/Redferns

Verlaine was a talented and influential musician, known for his versatile guitar skills and poetic lyrics. Lenny Kaye, guitarist for the Patti Smith Group, described Verlaine as “capable of anything… hHe could go from the chaotic soundscapes of free jazz to the delicate filigree… He had a real sense of the instrument and its expressive powers.”

After Television broke up in 1978, Verlaine embarked on a solo career, releasing his self-titled debut in 1979. Over the course of his career, he released a total of nine solo albums and collaborated with musicians such as David Bowie, Patti Smith and Sonic Youth. . He also wrote scores for several films, including silent films by Man Ray and Fernand Léger.

tom verlaine
Credit: Ebet Roberts/Redferns

Verlaine had a great influence on other well-known guitarists. U2’s The Edge described him as one of his key influences: “I think what I took from Verlaine wasn’t really his style, but the fact that he did something that no one else had done.” told The Rolling Stone in a 1988 interview, “and I liked that; I thought that was valuable.”.

After his death, tributes poured in from other artists. Patti Smith, Verlaine’s ex-partner and longtime collaborator, posted a tribute on Instagram, captioned “This is a time when everything seemed possible. Goodbye Tom, on top of the Omega“. Michael Stipe, lead singer of the American rock band REM, tweeted I have lost a hero… You introduced me to a world that turned my life upside down. I am forever grateful”.

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