Michael Stipe And Billy Idol Mourn The Passing Of ‘Hero’ Tom Verlaine

Upon hearing the recent passing of Television’s Tom Verlaine at the age of 73, it was only fair for fellow rockers, R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe and Billy Idol, to bid farewell and pay homage to their ‘guitar hero’ by sharing emotional notes on Instagram and celebrating the late rocker’s career.

“I’ve lost a hero,” the former R.E.M. frontman started his message as he shared an old photo of Verlaine alongside his note. “Bless you, Tom Verlaine, and thank you for the songs, the lyrics, the voice! And later, the laughs, the inspiration, the stories, and the rigorous belief that music and art can alter and change matter, lives, experience. You introduced me to a world that flipped my life upside down. I am forever grateful.”

Billy Idol, then, also bid goodbye to his longtime hero, honoring Verlaine and Television’s much-celebrated careers. The singer wrote, “Just thinking about Tom Verlaine passing on… I bought the white label of ‘Little Johnny Jewel’ back in the day [and] bought ‘Marquee Moon’ when it came out. It was a very exciting time, and Tom’s music really added to that… Hearing this music from the States was inspiring us in the U.K.”

The late musician’s music helped Idol get inspired as a young rocker, as he hoped he would also be able to make it someday, just like Verlaine and Television did. He lastly added, “And if Television could make a record, maybe we could someday… It was all a dream. Thank you, Tom, for being part of it.”

As Billy mentioned Televison’s debut, 1977’s ‘Marque Moon,’ and how influential it had been in the rock scene, this might be the right time to discuss some of Verlaine’s achievements. You see, Tom both played and produced while making the iconic album, which has been widely acclaimed and appreciated as an essential piece in the original musical development of rock.

Tom’s guitar riffs and genius in sound-mixing and producing, perhaps, created one of the most influential records in the rock scene in the mid to late 70s and paved the way for the then-upcoming new wave and indie rock. So, it might be easy for us to see why both Michael and Billy called him a hero, with Verlaine’s innovative genius apparent in all of his works.

So, Tom Verlaine’s music with Television undoubtedly influenced many aspiring rockers back in the day and, perhaps, even today. It was certainly challenging for Michael Stipe and Billy Idol to bid farewell to their hero, but it’s a delight to know that Verlaine’s legacy will live on through his family, friends, fans, and of course, his music.

Photo Credit: Michael Stipe – Instagram
Photo Credit: Billy Idol – Instagram