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Television

Television were one of the most creative bands to emerge from New York's punk scene of the mid-'70s, creating an influential new guitar vocabulary. While guitarists Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd liked to jam, they didn't follow the accepted rock structures for improvisation -- they removed the blues while retaining the raw energy of garage rock, adding complex, lyrical solo lines that recalled both jazz and rock. With its angular rhythms and fluid leads, Television's music always went in unconventional directions, laying the groundwork for many of the guitar-based post-punk pop groups of the late '70s and '80s.

In the early '70s, Television began as the Neon Boys, a group featuring guitarist/vocalist Tom Verlaine, drummer Billy Ficca, and bassist Richard Hell. At the end of 1973, the group reunited under the name Television, adding rhythm guitarist Richard Lloyd. The following year, the band made its live debut at New York's Townhouse theater and began to build up an underground following. Soon, their fan base was large enough that Verlaine was able to persuade CBGB's to begin featuring live bands on a regular basis; the club would become an important venue for punk and new wave bands. That year, Verlaine played guitar on Patti Smith's first single, "Hey Joe"/"Piss Factory," as well as wrote a book of poetry with the singer.

Television recorded a demo tape for Island Records with Brian Eno in 1975, yet the label decided not to sign the band. Hell left the band after the recording of the demo tape, forming the Heartbreakers with former New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders; the following year, he began a solo career supported by the Voidoids, releasing a debut album, Blank Generation, in 1977. Hell was replaced by ex-Blondie bassist Fred Smith and Television recorded "Little Johnny Jewel," releasing it on their own Ork record label. "Little Johnny Jewel" became an underground hit, attracting the attention of major record labels. In 1976, the band released a British EP on Stiff Records, which expanded their reputation. They signed with Elektra Records and began recording their debut album.

Marquee Moon, the group's first album, was released in early 1977 to great critical acclaim, yet it failed to attract a wide audience in America; in the U.K., it reached number 28 on the charts, launching the Top 40 single "Prove It." Television supported Blondie on the group's 1977 tour, but the shows didn't increase the group's following significantly.

Television released their second album, Adventure, in the spring of 1978. While its American sales were better than those of Marquee Moon, the record didn't make the charts; in Britain, it became a Top Ten hit. Months later, the group suddenly broke up, largely due to tensions between the two guitarists. Smith rejoined Blondie, while Verlaine and Lloyd both pursued solo careers; Lloyd also played on John Doe's first solo album, as well as joined Matthew Sweet's supporting band with the 1991 album Girlfriend.

Nearly 14 years after their breakup, Television re-formed in late 1991, recording a new album for Capitol Records. The reunited band began its comeback with a performance at England's Glastonbury summer festival in 1992, releasing Television a couple months later. The album received good reviews, as did the tour that followed, yet the reunion was short-lived -- the group disbanded again in early 1993. In 2001, Television again reunited for a handful of shows in the U.K., as well as an appearance at the Noise Pop Festival in Chicago. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Comments

This whole album is just amazing.
coming to boston in may. . . 1st CBGB band (and the last one standing).
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love if your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post it this you will die in two days. Now you've started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put on 5 songs in 143 minutes when done press f6 as you lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it works
milosdad
Will never forget skipping school when I was 16 to go listen to Marquee Moon in a smoke filled room. Love this record.
gotta admit, proto-post punk is pretty apt
jordan9425
Baerro, Television were so punk that they didnt even conform to the rules of punk rock. A truly fantastic band!!
Television is one of my favorite bands. I first heard the Marquee Moon album a couple years ago, and I swear, it changed me. But I disagree with the classificati o n of Television as a punk band. Yes, they were around at the same time as other seminal punk bands, but if possible, they were proto-post-p u n k . Basically, they broke away from punk musically to do their own thing before anything could really be categorized as post-punk. They were perpetually ahead of the curve.
milosdad
Love them.
COLOR TV this song has the Coveted Bob Jones approval rating
Tom v had a fluid sound that was phenomenal.
A BAND THAT SHOULD HAVE GOT WAY MORE LOVE THAN THEYDID.
claricentp91 7
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I wish Pandora had their 1992 album Television. Really an amazing reunion album after taking so much time off.
randallmckay
Wow, who are these Guys?! They're Television. The greatest modern invention of the 20th century. Now in color.
Marquee Moon is one of the greatest albums ever.
bevbevan
I brought this album to the attention of our PD at the radio station I was working in 1976 and he called it crap. I said he was full of crap and was out of a job. Landed at a more friendly AOR station and this album got lots of airplay. It's simply very good from beginning to finish.
danzigirwin
Wish I'd seen them in '76! Saw them in '92. They still sounded great.
I saw Television in CBGB's in 1976. They were always a critical favorite, but never received the attention they deserved. Marquee Moon is still without question a classic album.
One of my all time faves. So influential.
milosdad
I was listening to Be Bop Deluxe recently and although they are a bit different, I consider them in the same league of under rated bands.
milosdad
I was 15 and skipping class to listen to their first record. It's still one of my favorites and now my young kids find it interesting.
How did I never hear of these guys before? What a great sound.
it's like listening to & watching T V
ajc: I concur. Also, the guitar work is sensational on M.Moon. Did I mention that TVerlaine is from Delaware? Huh? Oh, Tom's from Delaware. Pass that doob........ . . . . . .
Along with 'Big Star,' probably the most underrated, highly-influ e n t i a l bands of all-time (The Velvet Underground is more well-known than TV and BS, so I didn't include them).
Go Tom, go! Delaware's finest.
jrammel01
Father is to son as Television is to Pavement. Thanks Pandora
burkify
Elevation reminds me of several bands. But mostly to pink floyd. Anyone else?
New York City used to produce some amazing musicians, back when it was an unliveable hellhole.
remarkable legacy for a bad with such a small resume.
AMAZING
pikopikochuu
WOW thanks pandora! I was hooked when I heard the intro of Venus. :)
This is the band's page. Not sure which song you are talking about.
Timeless track!
this song in particular sounds like it could have been released yesterday, oct. twenty-whate v e r 2011, and I would have believed it. Its like a song from a band trying to be like these guys.... twenty-thirt y years later. what would it be like to hear this song when it came out, in that day's musical context?
just saw and met Richard Lloyd, what a NUT! not at all what I was hoping for. thanks for the records I guess.
The perfect band for late 70's, early 80's yuppie angst. They wear remarkably well. Tom Verlaine was a genius. Wonder what he's up to now?
Wilmington, Delaware delivers.
A fellow Delawarean, T.V.
such an incredible band. Eons ahead of their time.
Velvet Underground + actual singer=Telev i s i o n
Television.. so far ahead of their time
budsasse
ya early 70's punk! this is proof that the first draft is the best draft.....
milosdad
Marquee Moon is one of my all time favorite records. I don't think there's another record like it.
Tom is from my state. Delaware!
I love Marque Moon
This is my childhood. A sleeve and album jacket catching dust, a Devo pin cast aside, and Gang of Four's Entertainmen t perched at the corner.
My only collusions with dieties is music and a butcher's knife. Work a kitchen line for a decade, play Marquee Moon to spite the storming rush a'rumbling through, you might keep your sanity. Or you'll have chorus to emmit your fervor. Either way, thank you Pandora, this station makes it possible to spend my next twelve hours cool in the line of fire.
Glad to get to know this band. Thanks Pandora!
slappy42
real thing
This is true punk.
Verlaine = Guitar God
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