Tom Verlaine, co-founder of punk pioneers Television, has died at the age of 73

New York: Tom Verlaine, guitarist and co-founder of seminal proto-punk band Television, who influenced many bands while playing alongside the Ramones, Patti Smith and Talking Heads at ultra-cool downtown New York music venue CBGB, has died. He was 73.

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

Tom Verlaine, second from left, on the cover of Television's influential punk album Marquee Moon.

Tom Verlaine, second from left, on the cover of Television’s influential punk album Marquee Moon.

“Tom Verlaine has passed into the afterlife that his guitar playing always hinted at. He was the best rock ‘n’ roll guitarist of all time and, like Hendrix, could dance from cosmic spheres to garage rock. That requires a special size,” tweeted The Waterboys’ Mike Scott.

Although television never met with much commercial success, Verlaine’s inventive playing influenced many musicians as part of the band’s two-guitar attack. Television released his groundbreaking debut album marquee moon in 1977 – including the nearly 11-minute title track and elevation – and the second effort Adventure one year later.

Singer Tom Verlaine, pictured 1981/82.

Singer Tom Verlaine, pictured 1981/82.

marquee moon has become something of a holy grail of independent rock over the years since. It’s clearly influenced artists like Pavement, Sonic Youth, The Strokes and Jeff Buckley.” billboard magazine wrote in 2003.

Increasing tensions between Verlaine and fellow guitarist Richard Lloyd led to Television disbanding after its second album Adventure. The group would reunite in 1992 for a self-titled album for Capitol Records and sporadic live performances.

“We wanted to strip it down even further, away from the showbiz theatrics of glitter bands and away from the blues and boogie,” wrote television co-founder Richard Hell in his autobiography. I dreamed I was a very clean tramp. “We wanted to be strong and tough and torn, the way the world was.”

Verlaine released eight solo albums, his most commercially successful being his second solo album in 1981 dreamtime, which peaked at number 177 on the Billboard albums chart. He frequently served as companion to former mistress Patti Smith. Tom Verlaine, co-founder of punk pioneers Television, has died at the age of 73

Callan Tansill

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