Tom Verlaine, the founding singer and guitarist of the seminal New York City band Television, passed away on January 28th, 2023 at the age of 73 after “a brief illness”.
Verlaine was born in Danville, New Jersey on December 13, 1949 and began his career as a musician in New York City in the 1970s, playing in Neon Boys before forming Television in 1973. The band quickly became a fixture of the New York City music scene, performing regularly at venues such as CBGB and Max’s Kansas City.
In 1977, Television released their debut album, Marquee Moon, which is widely considered to be a classic of the punk and new wave genres. The album was a critical success and is still celebrated for its innovative songwriting and Verlaine’s emotionally expressive guitar work. A follow up album, Adventure, was released in April 1978, and was modestly successful. However, the group disbanded in July 1978, a mere 3 months after its release.
In the following years, Verlaine released several solo albums, including Tom Verlaine (1979), Dreamtime (1981), and Flash Light (1987), among others. He also collaborated with artists such as John Cale, Sonic Youth, Ric Ocasek, and Patti Smith, whom he was romantically involved with during the late 1970’s heyday of the NYC punk scene surrounding CBGB’s.
Verlaine’s influence as a musician and songwriter can be heard in the work of many artists that came after him, including R.E.M, U2, and Sonic Youth. He was also known for his eclectic and often experimental approach to music, incorporating elements of rock, folk, and avant-garde into his work.
Tom Verlaine’s death leaves a significant void in the world of music, his contributions will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by fans and fellow musicians. He was a true innovator and an important figure in the development of punk, new wave, and indie music.
Many of Verlaine’s fellow musicians, former collaborators, and fans expressed their grief and condolences on social media following news of his passing: