Television (band)  

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I remember
Ooh, how the darkness doubled
I recall
Lightning struck itself

--"Marquee Moon" (1977) by Television

Related e



Television is an American rock band from New York City, most notably active in the 1970s. The group was founded by Tom Verlaine, Richard Lloyd, Billy Ficca, and Richard Hell. An early fixture of CBGB and the 1970s New York punk rock scene, the band is considered influential in the development of punk and alternative music.

Although they recorded in a stripped-down, guitar-based manner similar to their punk contemporaries, Television's music was by comparison clean, improvisational, and technically proficient, drawing influence from avant-garde jazz and 1960s rock. The group's debut album, Marquee Moon, is considered one of the defining releases of the punk era.

Musical style and influences

As with many emerging punk bands, the Velvet Underground was a strong influence. Television also drew inspiration from minimalist composers such as Steve Reich. Tom Verlaine has often cited the influence of surf bands the Ventures, who were instrumental, not surf, and Dick Dale to Television's approach to the guitar, and he has also expressed a fondness for the bands Love and Buffalo Springfield, two groups noted for their dual-guitar interplay. Television's ties to punk were underscored by their late '60s garage rock leanings; the band often covered the Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction" and the 13th Floor Elevators' "Fire Engine" in concert.

Lester Bangs heard in Television's music the influence of Quicksilver Messenger Service, noting a similarity between Verlaine's guitar playing and John Cipollina's. Tom Verlaine has downplayed the comparison, citing The Ventures as a more apt reference point.

Though Verlaine and Lloyd were nominally "rhythm" and "lead" guitarists, they often rendered such labels obsolete by crafting interlocking parts, where the ostensible rhythm role could be as intriguing as the lead. Al Handa writes, "In Television's case, Lloyd was the guitarist who affected the tonality of the music more often than not, and Verlaine and the rhythm section the ones who gave the ear its anchor and familiar musical elements. Listen only to Lloyd, and you can hear some truly off the wall ideas being played." The opening of the song "Marquee Moon" from the album of the same name displays the band's characteristic interlocking melodic and rhythmic guitar lines.


Studio albums

Live albums

Compilation albums

  • The Best of Television & Tom Verlaine (1998)


  • "Little Johnny Jewel, Part One" b/w "Little Johnny Jewel, Part Two" (1975)
  • "Marquee Moon Part 1" b/w "Marquee Moon Part 2" (1977) #30 UK
  • "Marquee Moon (Stereo)" b/w "Marquee Moon (Mono)" (1977)
  • "Prove It" b/w "Venus" (1977) #25 UK
  • "Foxhole" b/w "Careful" (1978) #36 UK
  • "Glory" b/w "Carried Away" (1978)
  • "Ain't That Nothin'" b/w "Glory" (1978)
  • "Call Mr. Lee" (1992) #27 Billboard Modern Rock Tracks


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