Famed guitarist and frontman of US rock band Television, Tom Verlaine has passed away at the age of 73 on Saturday January 28, following a brief illness.
Jesse Paris Smith, the daughter of legendary singer-songwriter Patti Smith, whom Verlaine previously had a relationship with, was among the first to pay tribute to the late musician.
“Dearest Tom. The love is immense and forever. My heart is too intensely full to share everything now, and finding the words is too deep of a struggle,” she wrote in a post to social media.
“The feeling inside is so heavy, though your spirit is light and lifted, it is everywhere, completely and truly free.
“I love you always and forever, and will always remember and hold close the touch of your hand – hands of a beautiful creator and of a love more warm, tender, delicate, and true that one can ever dream. There has never been another like you and there never will be.
“What a blessing and gift I was given to share my time on earth with you. I will be grateful to the end of my life, and we will see you again beyond that, meeting you there wherever you’ve gone. Thank you for leading the way.”
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Patti Smith also shared her own tribute to Verlaine, in which she shared that she was “thinking about Tom”.
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Born December 13, 1949 in Denville, New Jersey, Verlaine began his musical pursuits at an early age when he started studying the piano before switching to saxophone in high school.
Although he initially had no interest in playing the guitar he was later inspired to take up the instrument after hearing The Rolling Stones’ 19th Nervous Breakdown during his teenage years.
Alongside friend, Richard Hell, Verlaine formed the Neon Boys. However, the band quickly broke up after they were unable to recruit a second guitarist before re-forming several months later as Television.
After Verlaine kicked Hell out of the band due to his erratic behaviour, Television released their debut single, with Fred Smith replacing Hell, in 1975.
The band garnered critical album with their albums, Marquee Moon and Adventure, before splitting up in July of 1978.
Verlaine went on to release a self-titled solo album that triggered a successful solo career in the 1980s.
Following the news of Verlaine’s passing, fans and fellow musicians took to social media to pay tribute to the punk icon and reflect on his talent.
Tom Verlaine 1949-2023
“I’ve lost a hero…. You introduced me to a world that flipped my life upside down. I am forever grateful.” – Michael Stipe pic.twitter.com/csmxXhKPht
— R.E.M. HQ (@remhq) January 29, 2023
One of the founding fathers of punk rock. Inventive, distinctive, brilliant. RIP the great Tom Verlaine, forever in our hearts and our record collections x
Photo by Roberta Bayley / Redferns pic.twitter.com/dSXDrnAwO6
— Rough Trade (@RoughTrade) January 28, 2023
— The Quietus (@theQuietus) January 28, 2023
RIP Tom Verlaine of Television, who could make a guitar sound like lightning striking itself, a virtuoso of restraint & the negative void, a spare & elegant lyricist like his symbolist namesake. His stage alias, band name, and style defined punk cool. Artistic elevation perfected pic.twitter.com/wYdgbxCso0
— Otto Von Biz Markie (@Passionweiss) January 29, 2023
Aww man…rest well, Tom Verlaine pic.twitter.com/rxCcUNYtVi
— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) January 28, 2023