Musicians Remember Television’s Tom Verlaine

Michael Stipe, Kim Gordon and more wrote moving tributes

January 28, 2023 9:16 pm
Tom Verlaine
Television perform at the Bottom Line club, New York, June 1978.
Michael Putland/Getty Images

There’s something about the music of Tom Verlaine that’s impossible to pin down but utterly inspiring to hear. Verlaine, who died on Saturday at the age of 73, is best known for his work in the group Television, who released two beloved albums in the late 1970s, broke up, and returned two decades later with a self-titled studio album. (There are also numerous live albums, which are fantastic.)

Verlaine also played in the Neon Boys, a precursor to Television, and released a host of solo albums beginning in 1979. His discography also includes collaborations with the likes of Patti Smith, Luna and James Iha.

For a younger generation of musicians, Verlaine was an icon who became a peer. “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,” Michael Stipe wrote on Instagram. “You introduced me to a world that flipped my life upside down. I am forever grateful.”

Musicians including Stipe, Vernon Reid, Kim Gordon and Jason Isbell shared remembrances and reflections on Verlaine’s music and legacy via social media. You can read a selection of them below.

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