Even before the news that Tom Verlaine, singer and guitarist with iconic NYC band Television, had died had been confirmed, tributes had started to pour onto social media from fellow artists. No surprise, as the group’s debut album, Marquee Moon, is one of the most influential albums of the the ’70s NYC scene and Verlaine’s expansive style can be head in groups today some 45 years later.
Steve Wynn of The Dream Syndicate wrote, “such an immeasurable influence on me and, of course, on so many of fellow guitarist friends.” Real Estate wrote, “this band would probably exist – but would surely not sound the way it does without Tom Verlaine.”
Dean Wareham of Luna and Galaxie 500 called Verlaine “my favorite guitarist,” saying, “what a treat it was to watch him play, he created an unmistakably Verlaine sound using only his fingers and a volume knob.”
R.E.M.‘s Michael Stipe said, “Bless you Tom Verlaine and thank you for the songs, the lyrics, the voice! And later the laughs, the inspiration, the stories, and the rigorous belief that music and art can alter and change matter, lives, experience. You introduced me to a world that flipped my life upside down. I am forever grateful”
Just a month ago, The Go-Betweens’ Robert Forster picked Marquee Moon‘s “Venus” as his “most perfect song of all time” for an article in The Guardian, writing, “Pacing my bedroom in excitement, sitting down at intervals to absorb the music’s overwhelming beauty, I knew I could never write songs as textured and intricate as the band’s singer-songwriter Tom Verlaine, who also happened to be a virtuoso guitarist. But I was inspired. I’d try harder with my songwriting.” Today he wrote, “An elder brother, someone in the mid-to-late Seventies who opened up doors for me. An enormously inspirational figure to Grant and I with his New York band Television. The Go-Betweens, one more band in a swarm of bands to form and bloom in the wake of Verlaine and his fabulous group.”
Blondie simply shared a photo of Verlaine, and guitarist Chris Stein recalled, “I met Tom Verlaine when he just arrived in NYC I guess ’72. He had long hair and came to my apartment with an acoustic guitar and played some songs he’d written. Both Tom and Richard Hell have told me that I auditioned for the Neon Boys but I don’t remember.”
Steve Albini wrote, “Beautifully lyrical guitarist, underrated vocalist. Television made a new kind of music and inspired new kinds of music. Marquee Moon is a perfect record. Requiescat…I can’t imagine grinding through a massive, gelatinous discography trying to find something I might like by the Grateful Dead with Marquee Moon just sitting there ready to go.”
You can also read tributes from Flea, Primal Scream, The Pastels, Thomas Dolby, AC Newman, Vivien Goldman, Robyn Hitchcock, The Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs, The Waterboys’ Mike Scott, Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws, Ryley Walker, The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess, Ride’s Andy Bell, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, , Garbage, Jason Isbell, and more, below.