- 02 Feb 23
Many artists mourn the death of singer-songwriter Tom Verlaine.
Almost one week has passed since the death of Tom Verlaine. Singer-songwriter, poet and rock artist Patti Smith has since paid tribute to the influential musician by penning a eulogy in The New Yorker, stating: “There was no one like Tom. He possessed the child’s gift of transforming a drop of water into a poem that somehow begat music."
While remembering the time she spend with the Verlaine, she also revealed details about the musician's upbringing in Delaware.
In 1973, Smith met the Television frontman Verlaine for the first time, with the pair sharing interests in poetry, composers and New York. Around this time, they also began dating and collaborating on their music projects. With the guitarist of Television, Smith worked on albums like Horses, Gung Ho, Gone Again and Easter. Even though their relationship came to an end, Verlaine and Smith continued to be close friends and work together.
“Sometimes he would seem dreamy and faraway then suddenly break into peals of laughter," Patti wrote "He was angelic yet slightly demonic, a cartoon character with the grace of a dervish. I knew him then. We liked holding hands and spending hours browsing the shelves of Flying Saucer News and going to Forty-eighth Street and looking at guitars that he could never afford and riding the Staten Island Ferry after three sets at CBGB and climbing six flights of stairs to the apartment on East Eleventh Street and lying together on a mattress gazing at the ceiling and listening to the rain and hearing something else," Smith wrote.
As well as Patti Smith, many other musicians - including Michael Stipe, Kim Gordon, and U2's The Edge - have paid tribute to the late singer-songwriter upon hearing of his death at the age of 73.
Tom Verlaine was a huge influence on me as young guitarist. Television showed me how unique the guitar could sound if approached with a spirit of inventiveness. That insight has guided me ever since. Tom was a true legend. His music will live on. The Edge
— U2 (@U2) January 31, 2023
Tom Verlaine was best known for his work in Television with their hit album Marquee Moon in 1977. In addition, he also performed as a no less successful solo artist with songs like 'Kingdom Come', 'The Grip of Love' or 'The Earth Is in the Sky'. Having no children of his own, Smith wrote that Verlaine "welcomed the love he received from [her] daughter, Jesse, and [her] son, Jackson.”
Read the tribute from Patti Smith in full below.
“There was no one like Tom,” Patti Smith writes. “He possessed the child’s gift of transforming a drop of water into a poem that somehow begat music.” https://t.co/rFUYSnj3GV
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) January 30, 2023