A reluctant farewell to Tom Verlaine, who helped define (and then quickly transcended) the NYC punk scene of the 1970s, inspiring countless groups through the decades. Marquee Moon, Television’s epochal debut LP, changed the rock ‘n’ roll game entirely, wedding dangerously sharp-edged riffs with cosmic solos, Blake-ean reveries with hard-boiled noir. It sounded perfect back in 1977 and it sounds perfect today.
But Verlaine’s story didn’t end there; Television’s misunderstood second album Adventure is not as beloved as its predecessor, but is still a complete classic. And Verlaine’s fitful solo career is packed with gems, as he continued to try to tell a vision, always hearing, hearing something else. If you haven’t yet fallen for Dreamtime, Warm & Cool or Songs and Other Things, you’re in for a treat.
Tom’s reputation was as a guitar hero — and rightly so. But he was so much more. Verlaine’s small-but-sturdy catalog is rich with idiosyncratic structures, skewed pop and a rhythmic sensibility that was all his own.
We’ll likely have more to say about the man in the days/weeks to come, but in the meantime, here’s an hour’s worth of Television covers stretching from the 1970s on through the present day, putting a spotlight on the impact the band had on the generations of artists that followed in their wake. | t wilcox
Kronos Quartet – Marquee Moon ++ R.E.M. – See No Evil ++ Chris Stamey with Yo La Tengo – Venus ++ Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band – Little Johnny Jewel ++ Patti Smith – Marquee Moon ++ Real Estate – Days ++ Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Glory ++ The Clientele – The Fire ++ Tennis – Guiding Light ++ Peter Laughner – Come On In ++ Luna – Marquee Moon