The guitar world mourns the passing of Television frontman Tom Verlaine

“He effected the way John and I play immeasurably,” wrote Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Tom Verlaine of Television

Image: Jordi Vidal / Getty Images

The guitar world is mourning the passing of Television co-founder and frontman Tom Verlaine, who died Saturday (28 January) at the age of 73.

Jesse Paris Smith, the daughter of Verlaine’s former partner Patti Smith, confirmed in a press release that the musician died peacefully “after a brief illness”, while “surrounded by close friends”.

As the singer and guitarist of the seminal New York punk band Television, Verlaine was known for his distinct and inventive guitar playing style. The band’s debut and sophomore albums, Marquee Moon and Adventure, were met with critical acclaim and laid the foundation for alternative rock.

Musicians and fans alike have since taken to social media to honour the late Verlaine, with Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers tweeting that Verlaine “immeasurably” affected his and bandmate John Frusciante’s playing style.

“listened to Marquee Moon 1000 times. And I mean LISTENED, sitting still, lights down low taking it all in. awe and wonder every time. Will listen 1000 [sic] more. Tom Verlaine is one of the greatest rock musicians ever,” Flea wrote.

“Tom Verlaine has passed over to the beyond that his guitar playing always hinted at,” Mike Scott of The Waterboys tweeted. “He was the best rock and roll guitarist of all time, and like Hendrix could dance from the spheres of the cosmos to garage rock. That takes a special greatness.”

Billy Idol also paid tribute to the guitarist and songwriter on social media, saying Verlaine “made incredible music that greatly influenced the US & UK punk rock scene in the ’70’s.”

Meanwhile, Blondie co-founder and guitarist Chris Stein remembered his first meeting with the late musician in 1972.

View more tributes below.


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