Tom Verlaine, frontman for punk band Television, dead at 73

Written by on January 29, 2023

Tom Verlaine, the frontman and guitarist for the rock band Television, died Saturday in Manhattan following a “brief illness.” He was 73 years old.

Verlaine’s death was announced by Jesse Paris Smith, the daughter of fellow musician Patti Smith.

“Dearest Tom. The love is immense and forever,” Paris Smith wrote in an Instagram post. “My heart is too intensely full to share everything now, and finding the words is too deep of a struggle.”

Patti Smith and Verlaine had dated when they were “in the emerging New York Punk scene,” according to the Guardian.

The two collaborated many times over the years, including co-authoring a book of poetry called “The Night,” released in 1978.

The punk rocker, born Thomas Miller, adopted his stage name after French symbolist poet Paul Verlaine.

Verlaine performing on stage at Hammersmith Odeon, London, on April 16, 1978.

Verlaine, a New Jersey native, formed Television in New York City in 1973 with his high school classmate Richard Hell after their original group, The Neon Boys, disbanded that same year.

The band released its debut album Marquee Moon in 1977, where Verlaine also earned producer credit.

Television broke up in 1978 and remained on hiatus until they reunited in 1992. The group has toured on and off since 2001.

The band most recently toured in October of 2022 with 80s rock Icon Billy Idol in the United Kingdom.

Verlaine performing with Television at the Phoenix Concert Theatre on during Canadian Music Week on May 6, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.
Verlaine performing with Television at the Phoenix Concert Theatre during Canadian Music Week on May 6, 2019, in Toronto, Canada.
Getty Images

Many icons across the music industry have paid their respect to the punk rock legend.

“This is a time when all seemed possible,” Patti Smith posted a poetic message on Instagram with a photo of two from their younger years. “Farewell Tom, aloft the Omega.”

“Tom Verlaine is one of the greatest rock musicians ever. He effected the way John and I play immeasurably. Fly on Tom,” tweeted Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea.

“RIP Tom Verlaine. Along with Patti Smith’s Horses, Marquee Moon ranks as one of if not THE best New Wave album of the 70’s punk era,” the band Simply Red’s official Twitter tweeted.

“‘I’ve lost a hero…. You introduced me to a world that flipped my life upside down. I am forever grateful.’ – Michael Stipe,” the official Twitter of REM, tweeted out a quote from their lead singer in honor of Verlaine.

“He made incredible music that greatly influenced the US & UK punk rock scene in the ‘70’s RIP,” said Billy Idol.

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