Marquee Moon is one of those few albums you’ll always remember hearing for the first time. Now thousands of fans may remember where they were when they heard of Tom Verlaine passing. He was 73.
Music pioneer Tom Verlaine passing away comes as shock
Jesse Paris Smith, the daughter of Patti Smith, with whom Verlaine frequently collaborated, announced his death today after a “brief illness.”
Best known for his groundbreaking work in the influential art punk band Television, Verlaine was an immense influence on the punk rock scene and his death leaves a lasting impression on a generation of fans.
Tom Verlaine, born Thomas Miller on December 13, 1949, had a music career that stretched back to the early 1970s, when he co-founded the influential punk band Television alongside Richard Hell and Richard Lloyd.
The band made a massive impact on the punk scene with their influential albums Marquee Moon (1977) and Adventure (1978). Verlaine released a string of solo albums throughout his career, including the highly acclaimed Tom Verlaine (1979) and Dreamtime (1981).
Verlaine rose to fame as the front man of influential 1970’s band Television
Television formed in New York City in 1973, and quickly made a name for themselves with their unique blend of punk and avant-garde rock. Their debut album, Marquee Moon, released in 1977, is considered a classic of the genre. It was a major influence on the punk and alternative rock scenes that followed.
Verlaine’s guitar technique and lyrical style
Verlaine’s guitar playing was unlike anything else of his time. It blended elements of punk, blues, and jazz to create a sound that was both raw and sophisticated. His use of dissonance and complex chord progressions was a major influence on many guitarists who came after him.
Verlaine’s influence on the music world extends far beyond just his guitar playing. He was known for his poetic and literate lyrics. They often dealt with themes of alienation and urban life. He was also a major influence on the New York City music scene, helping to pave the way for the punk and alternative movements of the 1970s and 80s.
Tom Verlaine’s passing hard to believe
Before Tom Verlaine’s passing, I probably hadn’t listened to Marquee Moon for 15 years. Until about two months ago. I brought it back out to remind myself of some of the tonality that Television achieved.
Those opening bars of “See No Evil” are iconic to me as anything in rock music. Marquee Moon was as impeccable that November night in 2022 as it was when it transformed the New York scene in 1977.
With Tom Verlaine’s passing, he now sees the Torn Curtain. Rest in peace.