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Television's Tom Verlaine Has Died, Aged 73
Christian Eede , January 28th, 2023 23:38

He passed away after a brief unspecified illness

Tom Verlaine, the frontman of Television, has died at the age of 73.

He passed away in New York City after a brief illness, with his death first being confirmed by Jesse Paris Smith, the daughter of Patti Smith, the latter of whom Verlaine collaborated with a number of times during his career.

Born Thomas Miller in New Jersey in 1949, he was raised in Wilmington, Delaware. While attending Sanford School, a private boarding school in Hockessin, Delaware, he befriended Richard Meyers, who later took the stage name Richard Hell. After bonding over a shared love of music and poetry, the two eventually ran away from the school together and settled in New York City in 1968. Shortly after, Miller adopted his stage name, a reference to French symbolist poet Paul Verlaine.

Verlaine and Hell formed their first band, The Neon Boys, together with drummer Billy Ficca in 1972, adopting a proto-punk sound. That band didn't last long, however, and after calling time on the project, the trio formed Television in 1973 with a fourth member, guitarist Richard Lloyd, also joining. They began building a loyal following via live shows in New York in the immediate years after, before Richard Hell left the group in 1975 to be replaced by Fred Smith.

Television's first single, 'Little Johnny Jewel', was released on 7-inch in 1975 via Ork Records, a label owned by their manager, Terry Ork. They soon caught the attention of a larger label in Elektra, who signed them and put out their iconic 1977 debut album, Marquee Moon. Another full-length effort, Adventure, followed in 1978, shortly before the band split in the same year. They reformed for a few years in the early '90s and put out a self-titled album in 1992, before coming back together again in 2001 for a number of live shows and tours – the most recent run of gigs took place in 2019.

Verlaine released his self-titled debut solo album in 1979, and further solo full-length records, for labels like Warner and Thrill Jockey, emerged through the '80s, '90s and '00s. His final solo albums, the Thrill Jockey-released Songs And Other Things and Around, came out in 2006.

Another of Verlaine's projects, active in 2007, was the supergroup The Million Dollar Bashers, made up of himself; Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley; Wilco guitarist Nels Cline; Bob Dylan backing bassist Tony Garnier; guitarist Smokey Hormel; and keyboardist John Medeski. He also collaborated with the likes of David Bowie and Violent Femmes across his decades-long career.