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Television singer Tom Verlaine dead at 73

Tom Verlaine, singer and guitarist with New York icons Television, has died after a short illness



Television singer and guitarist Tom Verlaine has died at the age of 73 after a short illness.

His death following a “brief illness” was confirmed by Patti Smith’s daughter, Jesse Paris Smith, who tells Rolling Stone: “He died peacefully in New York City, surrounded by close friends. His vision and his imagination will be missed.”

Verlaine was born Thomas Miller in Denville, New Jersey. He adopted his stage name as a tribute to the French poet Paul Verlaine.

Verlaine and his school friend Richard Hell formed Television in 1973 from the ashes of their previous band, Neon Boys.

Their debut album Marquee Moon is considered one of the masterpieces of new wave. Last year, Classic Rock readers voted it one of the best debut albums of all time.

Television followed their 1977 debut with the following year’s Adventure, before they split that same year and Verlaine launched a successful solo career. Television reformed in 1992 and released their self-titled third album.

Verlaine was once in a relationship with Patti Smith and they worked together many times.

Mike Scott of The Waterboys paid tribute to Verlaine, saying in a social media post: “Tom Verlaine has passed over to the beyond that his guitar playing always hinted at. He was the best rock and roll guitarist of all time, and like Hendrix could dance from the spheres of the cosmos to garage rock. That takes a special greatness.

“Tom Verlaine … first heard on Patti Smith’s Hey Joe and Break It Up, and Television’s Little Johnny Jewel, the most incredible, otherworldly guitar playing. Jazzblown, fantastic, inspired. Never surpassed, never equalled except by himself.”