Frontman On Television Verlaine, Tom Patti Smith, Michael Stipe, Flea, And Others Weep: ‘I’ve Lost A Hero,’ Says One


Musicians are mourning the death of Television vocalist Tom Verlaine, who died after a short illness.

Patti Smith, Michael Stipe, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chris Stein of Blondie, and many others went to social media to pay tribute to the pioneering guitarist, who died peacefully in New York City, a Television spokesman confirmed to Billboard on (Saturday) Jan. 28. He was 73.

“This was a moment when anything seemed conceivable. “Farewell Tom, aloft the Omega,” Smith, Verlaine’s former colleague and partner, captioned a black-and-white Instagram snap.

Stipe also posted a touching tribute on R.E.M.’s official Instagram account.Billboard Music Awards Winners List – The Hollywood Reporter

“I have mourned the loss of a hero. Thank you, Tom Verlaine, for the songs, words, and voice!” Stipe penned a piece. “And afterwards, the smiles, the inspiration, the stories, and the rigorous belief that music and art can modify and change matter, lives, experience. You introduced me to a universe that turned my life on its head. I will be eternally thankful.”

Blondie co-founder and guitarist Stein shared a vintage concert poster of Television and Blondie on the same bill, and he recalled meeting Verlaine for the first time in 1972.

“I met Tom Verlaine when he first arrived in New York, I believe in 1972. “He had long hair and showed up at my flat with an acoustic guitar and played some songs he’d composed,” Stein wrote. “Both Tom and Richard Hell have informed me that I auditioned for the Neon Boys, but I have no recollection of doing so.”

Flea also took to social media to express his memories of Television’s trailblazing debut album, Marquee Moon, released in 1977.

“I’ve heard Marquee Moon 1000 times. “And I mean LISTENED, sitting motionless, lights down low, taking it all in,” the RHCP bassist wrote on Twitter. “Each time, I am filled with awe and astonishment. Will listen to 1000 more times. Tom Verlaine is regarded as one of the finest rock musicians of all time. He had a significant impact on the way John and I play. Tom, fly on.”

Television was created by Verlaine and became a prominent fixture of NYC’s punk rock scene at CBGB in the 1970s, securing an early residency at the famed Lower East Side bar with members Richard Hell, Billy Ficca, and Richard Lloyd. Before leaving Television in 1978, he contributed his characteristic guitar work and songwriting to two albums, 1977’s seminal Marquee Moon and 1978’s Adventure.


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