Tom Verlaine, Singer and Guitarist of the Rock Group Television, Passes Away

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Tom Verlaine, Singer and Guitarist of the Rock Group Television, Passes Away
Tom Verlaine, Singer and Guitarist of the Rock Group Television, Passes Away

The music world was met with the tragic news of the passing of Tom Verlaine, the legendary singer and guitarist of the New York-based rock group Television. Verlaine, born as Thomas Miller in New Jersey, died at the age of 74 in Manhattan after a short illness.

The news of his death was announced by Jesse Paris Smith, daughter of fellow musician Patti Smith, who posted a tribute on Instagram in honor of the late artist.

A Tribute to a Music Icon

In her tribute, Patti Smith wrote, “This is a time when all seemed possible.

Farewell Tom, aloft the Omega”.

"I met Tom when I was a child, not long after my dad passed away," Jesse Paris Smith wrote in a statement to NPR. "In him, I felt the energy of a father, a man to hug, to laugh with, to share in mischievous jokes and wild imagination." Verlaine's stage name was inspired by the French symbolist poet, Paul Verlaine.

He formed Television in New York in 1973 with his high school classmate Richard Hell after the breakup of their original group The Neon Boys. Over the next few decades, Verlaine remained prolific as a solo artist, experimenting with post-punk, instrumental EPs, silent film scores, and collaborations with Smith and other former CBGB denizens.

Rolling Stone wrote of Verlaine's 1982 solo LP, Words From the Front, “Tom Verlaine once complained that he’d never written about two of the strongest dreams in his life, ‘because it’s hard to get across the language of dreams.’ That may be so, but Verlaine still manages to come closer to solving that problem than just about anyone else in his medium.

As throughout his body of work, there’s something so inspired yet effortless about Verlaine’s songs that you have to wonder if he’s writing them … well, in his sleep”.

Influencer of Generations

U2's the Edge cited Verlaine as one of his chief influences in a 1988 interview with Rolling Stone.

He said, “I think what I took from Verlaine was not really his style but the fact that he did something no one else had done. And I liked that; I thought that was valuable”. Television disbanded in 1978 but reunited in 1992 and has been touring since 2001, including a UK tour with 80s rock icon Billy Idol in October of last year.

The music world has lost a true icon with the passing of Tom Verlaine. His influence on generations of musicians and his timeless body of work will continue to inspire for years to come.

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