Tom Verlaine, ex-leader of the band Television and figure of the punk-rock scene, died at 73
Sylvie Claire / January 29, 2023
Without him, the punk-rock that emerged from the New York underground at the end of the 1970s would never have had its anthem "Marquee Moon", a showpiece song and flagship album by the band Television, as influential as its ex-leader Tom Verlaine, who died at 73.
His daughter Jesse Paris Smith, born of his relationship with Patti Smith, another major figure in the music scene at the time, made the announcement to the New York Times, without specifying the cause of death, except that it resulted from a "short illness.
Born Thomas Miller, he decided to make himself known under the name of Tom Verlaine, in homage to Paul, the French poet whose lyricism he tried to infuse into his lyrics, while playing the guitar in his own way, both ethereal and aggressive. With at the end a first major album: "Marquee Moon", released in 1977.
Almost ten minutes long, the eponymous single alone illustrated the richness of a movement that created many musical territories, from the Ramones to the Talking Heads, via Blondie. All of them went to the same church to preach their word: CBGB's, a feverish club on New York's Lower East Side where the best hours of punk rock were lived.
Television was a relative commercial success, although "Marquee Moon" is still high on the charts of Rolling Stone, NME and Pitchfork. After two albums, the band disbanded and Verlaine released a dozen solo albums, while collaborating with many artists, such as David Bowie and Patti Smith.