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Tom Verlaine, Influential Guitarist and Songwriter in the Band Television, Dies at 73



Tom Verlaine, the frontman of the band Television, which heavily influenced the New York punk rock scene in the 1970s, has died. He was 73.

The News84Media learned on Saturday that the guitarist and songwriter died following a short illness in New York City, surrounded by close friends.

Born in New Jersey on Dec. 13, 1949, by the name of Thomas Miller, Verlaine grew up during most of his childhood in Wilmington, Delaware. Around five years after he moved to New York City in 1968, the musician founded the band Television in 1973 with Richard Hell, Billy Ficca and Richard Lloyd. Fred Smith was brought in after Hell departed the band two years later.

After eventually signing with Elektra Records, the band released its debut album, Marquee Moon, in early 1977. While the album got the attention of critics, it didn’t bode well for American audiences, but it did reach the charts in the UK

Following a tour that same year, the group went on to release its second album, Adventure, in 1978. Shortly after, they broke up, and Verlaine pursued a solo career. The band got back together in 1991, nearly 14 years after its split, and recorded a new album, Television, for Capitol Records. The reunion was short-lived, however, as the group disbanded again in 1993.

In total, Verlaine released eight solo albums, including his self-titled debut record in 1979 and his most successful album. Dreamtimewhich charted at 177 on Billboard’s Top 200 list, in 1981.

Throughout his music career, he also collaborated with other artists, such as Patti Smith, on her albums Gone Again, Gun Ho, Twelve and Banga. Smith’s daughter, Jesse Paris Smith, shared a tribute on Instagram, writing, “I love you always and forever, and will always remember and hold close the touch of your hand – hands of a beautiful creator and of a love more warm, tender, delicate and true than one can ever dream. There has never been another like you and there never will be.”

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