Tom Verlaine, frontman of punk rock band Television, dies at 73

An American singer, guitarist, songwriter and best known as the frontman of the New York City rock band Television. Tom Verlaine dies at 73 because of a brief illness.

He started studying piano at an early age and switched to saxophone in middle school. After he heard Rolling Stones’ 19th Nervous Breakdown. Later on, he was inspired by jazz musician Miles Davis’s’ Agharta in 1975 and Dark Magus in 1977. He also had an interest in writing and poetry from an early age.

Who was Tom Verlaine?

Tom Verlaine was born Thomas Miller on December 13, 1949, in Denville, New Jersey. He was a musician, singer and songwriter. He played guitar and piano, and also, gave vocals to a few songs.

In the 1970s, he rose to fame as the frontman of the rock band Television.

Early Life

He was born in a Jewish family in Denville, New Jersey and moved with his family to Wilmington, Delaware, at the age of six.

Tom started learning piano at a very early age but switched to saxophone in middle school. This happened after hearing a record by Stan Getz. Verlaine had an interest in writing and poetry during his early years.

He attended Sanford School, a boarding school where he met Richard Hell, a future bandmate and punk icon. It is also said that they both managed to escape from school and moved to New York City after a failed attempt.

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After their escape, Tom and Hell formed a band named The Neon Boys and recruited Billy Ficca as a drummer. The band quickly disbanded after failing to recruit a second guitarist. Interestingly, Tom created his stage name taking reference from the French symbolist poet Paul Verlaine. He also stated at that time that, this name was inspired by Bob Dylan’s name change. He also mentioned that this was his way of distancing himself from his past.

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After the disbandment of the Neon Boys, Tom and Hill reformed as Television, a few months later. They recruited Richard Lloyd as a guitarist and started playing at seminal punk clubs like CBGB and Max’s Kansas City.

In 1975, Hell was kicked out of the band because of his inconsistent playing and behaviour. Soon he was replaced by Fred Smith. Their first single was released soon after.

Television released two albums; Marque Moon and Adventure in July 1978. In the 1980s Verlaine released his self-titled solo album. In 1978, the band finally split.

Soon after, he took up a residence in England for a short period. As per the reports, the band did better in the UK than in the USA.

In the 1990s Tom collaborated with different artists. He composed a film score with Patti Smith for Love and a.45.

In the late 1990s, the band reformed to record a studio album which was named after their band name, Television. A live recording was done by the band in 1992 called Live at the Academy. The band has reunited often for touring as well.

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Verlaine released his new album after a long gap in 2006 called Songs and Other Things.

Solo Albums

  • Tom Verlaine (1979)
  • Dreamtime (1981)
  • Words from the Front (1982)
  • Cover (1984)
  • Flash Light (1987)
  • The Wonder (1990)
  • Warm and Cool (1992, reissued in 2005)
  • The Miller’s Tale: A Tom Verlaine Anthology (1996)
  • Songs and Other Things (2006)
  • Around (2006)


  • “Always” / “The Blue Robe” Warner Bros K17855 (September 1981)
  • “Postcard from Waterloo” / “Clear It Away” Virgin VS501 (May 1982)
  • “Let Go the Mansion” / “Let Go the Mansion – Instrumental version” Virgin VS696 (June 1984)
  • “Five Miles of You” / “Your Finest Hour” Virgin VS704 (August 1984) “Your Finest Hour” was an outtake from Words From the Front sessions
  • “A Town Called Walker” / “Smoother Than Jones” Fontana FTANA1 (1987)
  • “The Funniest Thing” / “One Time at Sundown” (The London 1986 Version) Fontana VLANE3 (1987)
  • “The Scientist Writes a Letter” / “The Scientist Writes a Letter” (Paris Version) Fontana VLANE4 (1987)
  • “Cry Mercy, Judge” / “Circling” Fontana FTANA2 (1987)
  • “Shimmer” / “Bomb” Fontana VLANE5 (October 1989)
  • “Kaleidoscopin'” / “Sixteen Tulips” Fontana VLANE6 (March 1990)

Tom Verlaine dies at 73

Verlaine died in New York City on January 28, 2023, at the age of 73. The news about his death was announced by Jesse Paris Smith, the daughter of Patti Smith.


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. How old was Tom Verlaine?

He was 73 years at the time of his death

2. Did Tom Verlaine and Patti Smith date?

Yes. They were in a relationship

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3. Why did the Television band split?

Primarily because of the artistic independence of each member and also, drug abuse by Richard Lloyd

4. What guitar did Tom Verlaine play?

Throughout his career, Verlaine has played a variety of Fender guitars. Most famously in the heyday of Television, he played a Fender Jazzmaster and a Fender Jaguar through Fender and Vox amps


The legendary artist, Tom Verlaine dies at an age of 73. The founder of the Television band, guitarist, singer and songwriter, died on January 28, 2023, because of a brief illness. The news about his death was announced by Jesse Paris Smith, daughter of Patti Smith, who once dated Tom Verlaine.

The sudden news of his death has left everyone in shock and his colleagues, fans and friends have been pouring messages from around the globe.

We wish that the departed soul rests in peace.

Do let us know in the comments section if you would like a detailed article about Tom’s life.

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