Tom Verlaine, an influential guitarist on the NYC scene who was the frontman of the ’70s band Television, died Saturday at 73.
THR reports the musician died surrounded by close friends after a short illness.
His daughter, Jesse Paris Smith, eulogized him on Instagram, writing, “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.”
No. Not Tom Verlaine. 💔
— Garbage (@garbage) January 28, 2023
She went on, “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 that one can ever dream. There has never been another like you and there never will be. 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.”
Tom Verlaine was one of the best guitar players ever. RIP. #MarqueeMoon
— marc maron (@marcmaron) January 29, 2023
Verlaine was born Thomas Miller in Denville, New Jersey, on December 13, 1949, growing up in Wilmington, Delaware.
Always interested in writing, poetry, and music, he escaped boarding school with classmate Richard Meyers and relocated to NYC, where he changed his name to Verlaine in honor of poet Paul Verlaine, and Meyers renamed himself Richard Hell.
I met Tom Verlaine when he just arrived in NYC I guess ’72. He had long hair and came to my apartment with an acoustic guitar and played some songs he’d written. Both Tom and Richard Hell have told me that I auditioned for the Neon Boys but I don’t remember.
— Cʜʀɪs Sᴛᴇɪɴ (@chrissteinplays) January 28, 2023
After briefly forming a band called the Neon Boys, he co-founded Television in 1973 with Billy Ficca and Richard Lloyd. Hell was replaced with Fred Smith ahead of the band’s 1975 debut single, “Little Johnny Jewel, Part One.”
Though never Top 40-successful in the U.S., Television was widely influential, and charted in the U.K., releasing the albums “Marquee Moon” (1977) and “Adventure” (1978). Though the band broke up in 1978, they reformed in 1992, releasing their final album, “Television.” With various lineups, the band had continued playing ever since.
Verlaine had a solo career that produced 10 albums from 1979-2006. He toured extensively, and also worked with other artists, including ex-girlfriend Patti Smith on her Grammy-nominated “Glitter in Their Eyes” (2000), among their other collaborations.
listened to Marquee Moon 1000 times. And I mean LISTENED, sitting still, lights down low taking it all in. awe and wonder every time. Will listen 1000 more. Tom Verlaine is one of the greatest rock musicians ever. He effected the way John and I play immeasurably. Fly on Tom.
— Flea (@flea333) January 29, 2023