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Television frontman Tom Verlaine dead at 73


Television frontman Tom Verlaine has died at age 73, The New York Times reports.

Jesse Paris Smith, daughter of Verlaine's contemporary and onetime partner Patti Smith, tells the Times that Verlaine passed away following a "brief illness."

In an Instagram post, Jesse Paris Smith writes, "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."

Verlaine and Patti Smith were at one point romantically involved, and he co-wrote and played on the song "Break It Up" on her 1975 debut album Horses. On Instagram, Patti posted a photo of them together in their younger years, and captioned it with a short poem: "This is a time/when all/seemed possible./Farewell/Tom, aloft/the Omega."

Verlaine co-founded Television in 1973, and the band became a staple at the famed CBGB New York City club. Television broke up in 1978 after two albums, but reunited in 1992 for a third and final album, which spawned the radio single "Call Mr. Lee." The band continued to play live over the years, most recently in 2019.

A seminal band in the coming alternative scene, the influence of Television — and their groundbreaking 1977 album Marquee Moon — can be heard in bands including The Strokes and Interpol.

Television also influenced Sonic Youth; that band's Kim Gordon posted a photo of Verlaine and wrote, "Tom Verlaine forever!" along with broken-heart emojis and the word "tragic."

Blondie's Chris Stein remembered Verlaine in a tweet, as did Billy Idol, who wrote of Verlaine, "He made incredible music that greatly influenced the US & UK punk rock scene in the ‘70’s RIP."

The Bangles' Susanna Hoffs, actor Elijah Wood and Living Colour's Vernon Reid were among the other artists paying tribute to Verlaine.

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