Guitarist Tom Verlaine, known for being the frontman of the rock band Television, has passed away at the age of 73. The musician died in New York City in the presence of some friends after a brief illness.
Television emerged from the punk rock underground scene in New York in the late 1970s and was founded by Verlaine along with Richard Hell and Richard Lloyd. The rock band released several albums and chart-topping singles in their career. Read on to know more about Verlaine’s life.
Television Frontman Tom Verlaine Dies at 73
Tom’s death was announced by Jesse Paris Smith, the daughter of his longtime partner and collaborator Patti Smith. She posted a throwback photo of the singer on Instagram and wrote, “Dearest Tom. The love is immense and forever. My heart is too intensely full to share everything now, and finding the words is too deep of a struggle.”
“The feeling inside is so heavy, though your spirit is light and lifted, it is everywhere, completely and truly free. What a blessing and gift I was given to share my time on earth with you. I will be grateful to the end of my life, and we will see you again beyond that, meeting you there wherever you’ve gone. Thank you for leading the way,” she continued.
The guitarist’s publicist also confirmed his death and said, “He was noted for his angular lyricism and pointed lyrical asides, a sly wit, and an ability to shake each string to its truest emotion. His vision and his imagination will be missed.”
Verlaine Released Over a Dozen Albums in his Career
Born Thomas Miller, the musician took the name ‘Verlaine’ after being inspired by French poet Paul Verlaine. He formed the band Television with his high schoolmate and punk icon Richard Hell in 1973. The band released their debut album Marquee Moon in 1977, which is still considered one of the greatest albums of the punk era.
The following year, they launched their second album, Adventure, which also received critical acclaim. However, the band split in July of the same year. Verlaine then went on to release a dozen solo albums while collaborating with a number of artists. His last album, Around, came out in 2006.
Tributes Pour in for the Guitarist
Social media is now filled with tributes to the musician. “RIP Tom Verlaine of Television, who could make a guitar sound like lightning striking itself, a virtuoso of restraint & the negative void, a spare & elegant lyricist like his symbolist namesake. His stage alias, band name, and style defined punk cool,” tweeted record producer Otto Von Biz Markie.
“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,” wrote a fan.
DJ Joe Donnelly also expressed his grief and tweeted, “He was some talent. With risk of sounding like a twat, I remember asking the Edge who his guitar heroes are and he said Tom Verlaine. It stuck in my head at the time. He said it without hesitation. RIP Tom Verlaine.”
Our condolences to Tom Verlaine’s family and friends. May his soul rest in peace!