21 Comments

Thanks for the thoroughly enjoyable post. I especially loved the line about your group participating in a digital wake. In terms of turning people on to the music that you love, well, that’s the subject for another column. Recently I tried to turn a younger colleague of mine on to Jimmy Webb. The generational divide shone brightly: he found the music slow and though he could hear flashes of great lyric, that’s not his primary focus when he listens. I connected with your experience trying to turn your pals on to Verlaine.

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Feb 1, 2023Liked by Ty Burr

Evocative piece. And truly right on. Like you, and a unique special club of others, Verlaine's death hit me harder than I thought it would.

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Feb 1, 2023Liked by Ty Burr

Thank you for this heartfelt tribute to one of rocks greats and has you point out serving of more attention. I did not know he had passed away but something drew me to pull out Marquee Moon on Sunday to play. It must have been the stars.

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Feb 1, 2023Liked by Ty Burr

Hi Ty -- I'm enough older that by the early 1970s I had moved beyond blues, R & B, and rock to be deeply immersed in jazz. So when I got to NYC in 1980 I was already haunting the Village Vanguard, and never even went to CBGB. But I know I missed something, and you write so beautifully about this time, and about musicians like Tom Verlaine, that I feel that I can appreciate his artistry. And I want to learn more. Thank you. RIP to all our musical heroes who have enriched our lives.

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Thanks, Harriet. Buckle up -- I think we're going to be losing a lot of people in the coming years. (PS, if you're at all curious and you have a Spotify account, I have a TV/Verlaine playlist that might give a good grounding: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2fI9w4wV9rcnF68YKhRcze?si=90e1c91c91ff431c)

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Feb 1, 2023Liked by Ty Burr

Already strapped in, am hitting 75 in June, have already lost too many. Yikes, how could this be? We were just kids not so long ago ....

I'll give the playlist a listen soon and see what happens -- I fear I may have lost my ear for the genre, but I'll let you know. XO

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I am curious about 1987 Ty's bootlegging setup.

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It was a Sony Walkman! I was just up in the balcony and had good sound-lines.

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Feb 1, 2023Liked by Ty Burr

I'm at that age where the musicians I've loved since HS are starting to die off. I've just started to get over Pharaoh Sanders, and now Tom Verlaine. It's not going to stop, but I could use a break for a while.

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Ty thank you for the remembrance of Tom Verlaine. And your personal stamp to the coverage. I confess to having known his name, but little more. Late 70’s, I was firmly ensconced in the work a day world and new marriage -the progression of rock music escaped my attention. I think seeing his birth year 1949, also mine gave me pause. You got my reading attention. When I saw the link to Psychotic Reaction, you had me! And then Knocking on Heavens Door! Much music here to explore and appreciate, a treasure trove. Sad on his passing…

Ps. These are the articles that take me by surprise, and keeps me reading! Well done.

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Feb 1, 2023Liked by Ty Burr

I was born a year after Marquee Moon was released so I came to Television much later (in my 20s, when I was looking up the punk antecedents of the some of the 90s indie rock I grew up with). But it took one listen to Marquee Moon and I was completely blown away. My jaw was on the floor by the time the CD had run through.

Unfortunately never got to see him live and not as familiar with the live recordings, but I do love Dreamtime also. Thanks for this lovely appreciation — heading over to youtube to check out some live recordings, starting with yours!

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Feb 2, 2023Liked by Ty Burr

Just coming back to say: your love recording of Marquee Moon sounds fantastic! And such a. great version.

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Feb 2, 2023Liked by Ty Burr

I loved Television. Lived in New York from 77-80 and CGBG's was my heaven and Verlaine's guitar artistry has always been my bliss. Beautiful writing Ty.

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This is such a great tribute to someone I didn’t know that I immediately started listening to your playlist. There are beautiful passages in the music and the writing.

By chance the night before you published this I watched a filmed performance of two earlier greats, John Cale and Lou Reed, performing their tribute to Andy Warhol, Songs for Drella. I don’t know if Verlaine knew or listened to them, but there is to my ear a strong affinity between their music.

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Definitely an affinity, David, and more -- Verlaine and Television came on the NYC music scene not too long after the Velvets (the New York Dolls being the missing link between them), and you could argue that they picked up and carried the downtown torch. They certainly all knew each other; there are plenty of photos of Red, Cale, Andy etc hanging out at CBGBs with all the bands.

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Feb 3, 2023Liked by Ty Burr

Ty, Thanks very much for your writing about Tom. Maybe I might see you and Phil Obbard at the next Lloyd show in Yarmouth, Ma or in Rhode Island. I also very much enjoyed the piece you wrote about your dad. Sincerely, Leo Casey

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Thanks Leo! And thanks for the heartfelt eulogy you posted to the TV newsgroup. You are one of the true stalwarts of our tribe. Hope you are well and hope to see you at a show soon. Ty

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Feb 5, 2023·edited Feb 5, 2023Liked by Ty Burr

I’m late to the Tom Verlaine party. So, I’ve been listening to “Marquee Moon” a lot. The song off the album,not the whole album. I tend to get obsessive with one song when finding a new (to me) artist (see Pharaoh Sanders, “You Got to Have Freedom.”)

Wow.

I love the references that I hear. I could be just projecting, but to me it starts with a little Jonathan Richmond, followed by The Dictators, followed by The Dictators on acid, followed by an homage to the Butterfield Blues Band’s “East-West” (or both tunes just share the same South Asian influences.)

I’ll get into the rest of his work sometime soon.

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That's one of the great things about Verlaine's playing, Greg -- there's so much in there that everyone brings their own frames of reference. (Hadn't made the Butterfield/Mike Bloomfield connection -- I'm sure TV had those records under his belt.) If you're seriously going down a "Marquee Moon" rabbit hole, know that every live version is totally different; he basically treated everything after the second chorus as a blank canvas and started from scratch. Give a listen to the version I tacked onto the end of the post for a taste. Hope you're well -- Ty

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