Disappearance. Death of Tom Verlaine, ex-leader of Television and figure of the punk-rock scene

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Without him, the punk-rock that emerged from the New York underground at the end of the 1970s would never have had its anthem “Marquee Moon”, a monster track and flagship album by the Television group, as influential as its ex. -leader Tom Verlaine, dead at 73, his family announced on Saturday.

It was his daughter Jesse Paris Smith, born of his relationship with Patti Smith, another major figure in the music scene at the time, who made the announcement to the New York Times, without specifying the cause of death, except that he was the result of a “short illness”.

Born Thomas Miller, he decided to make himself known under the name of Tom Verlaine, in homage to Paul, the French poet whose lyricism he will try to breathe into his texts, while playing the guitar in a way of his own. , both ethereal and aggressive. With at the end a first major album: “Marquee Moon”, released in 1977.

The finest hours of punk-rock

Almost ten minutes long, the eponymous single alone illustrates the richness of a movement that has created many musical territories, from the Ramones to the Talking Heads, via Blondie. They all went to the same church to preach their word: CBGB’s, a feverish club on New York’s Lower East Side where the finest hours of punk-rock were lived.

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Television has nonetheless had a relative commercial success, although “Marquee Moon” figures very high in the various rankings, constantly updated, of major works, at Rolling Stone, the NME or Pitchfork. After two albums, the group dissolved and Verlaine released ten solos, while collaborating with many artists, such as David Bowie and Patti Smith.

His disappearance adds to the deadly character of the month of January for the music world, after those of Jeff Beck and David Crosby recently.

And tributes pour in on social networks, from Thurston Moore, ex-leader of Sonic Youth, to Stuart Braithwaite that of Mogwai, two groups who owe him a lot. So did The Edge, who says he was inspired by his guitar playing to shape the sound of U2.

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