Guitarist Tom Verlaine, co-founder of Television, dies at 73 | Entertainment

NEW YORK (AP) – Tom Wehrlein, guitarist and founder of the protopunk band Television, influenced many bands when he played for the Ramones, Patti Smith and Talking Heads at CBGB’s in downtown New York. . He was 73 years old.

He died Saturday in New York surrounded by close friends after a brief illness, said Cara Hutchison of the Lede Company, a public relations firm.

“Tom Verlaine has moved on to what his guitar playing has always been about. He was the best rock and roll guitarist of all time and could dance from outer space to garage rock like Hendrix. It takes a special kind of greatness,” Mike Scott of The Waterboys tweeted.

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Although TV never became a commercial success, Verlaine’s incredibly inventive playing as part of the band’s two-guitar attack influenced many musicians. Television released their debut album, Marquee Moon, in 1977, which included the 11-minute title track and “Elevation,” and their sophomore single, “Adventure,” a year later.

“‘Marky Moon’ has since become the holy grail of independent rock. It was a clear influence on artists like Pavement, Sonic Youth, The Strokes and Jeff Buckley,” Billboard magazine wrote in 2003.

Growing tensions between Verlaine and fellow guitarist Richard Lloyd led to the dissolution of Television’s second album, Adventure. The band would reunite for a 1992 album and occasional live shows for Capitol Records.

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Television founder Richard Hell wrote in his autobiography: “We wanted to take everything further away from the showbiz theatrics of the glitzy bands and the bluesyness and boogie. ” “We wanted to be tough, tough and ragged like the world.”

Verlaine has released eight solo albums, the most commercially successful of which was the 1981 sophomore solo album Dreamtime, which peaked at #177 on the Billboard album chart. He often served as accompanist for former paramour Patti Smith.

Online tributes included Suzanne Hoffs and Billy Idol, who said Verlaine made music that influenced the US and UK punk scene. Smith posted a photo of the two together on Instagram, sharing the tribute: “Goodbye Tom, on Omega.”

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He was born Tom Miller – later adopted the surname of 19th-century French poet Paul-Marie Verlaine after meeting Richard Meyers, born in Delaware prep school. They were tall, thin, sardonic children who dropped out of school and went to the East Village, where they worked in bookstores and wrote poems together.

“He stood out for his angular lyricism and lyrical edge, his sly wit and ability to sway every chord to genuine emotion,” his publicist said in a statement. “His vision and imagination will be missed.”

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