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Music: Punk legend Tom Verlaine dies at 73 ANSA news agency

Tom Verlaine, frontman, author and legendary guitarist for the New York band Television, has died at the age of 73: Jesse Paris Smith, daughter of Patti Smith, announced it, the Guardian reported. He died “after a short illness,” Smith said.

Verlaine – born Thomas Miller in Denville, New Jersey – began learning the piano as a young man but later switched to the saxophone after hearing a Stan Getz record: as a teenager he was inspired to pick up the guitar , after listening to The Rolling Stone’s 1966 hit song “19th Nervous Breakdown.” His stage name was a homage to the French Symbolist poet Paul Verlaine.

In 1972 he founded the group Neon Boys in New York together with his school friend Richard Hell (on bass) and drummer Billy Ficca. The group was short lived and reformed as television in March 1973, with Richard Lloyd recruited as second guitarist. Their first concert is dated March 1974. In 1975 Hell leaves the group and the first single is released with Fred Smith in his place.

Verlaine, who led the group and wrote most of the lyrics, dated poet and musician Patti Smith – with whom he has worked frequently over the years – during New York’s burgeoning punk scene.



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