100 Greatest Guitarists

Find out who our panel of top guitarists and other experts picked

Tom Verlaine
Richard E. Aaron/Redferns90/100

90. Tom Verlaine

Patti Smith famously described Tom Verlaine's guitar sound as "a thousand bluebirds screaming." Television's leader soaked up the flavor of favorite records by John Coltrane, the Stones and the Dead – then synthesized them into something entirely new on the band's 1977 debut, Marquee Moon, spinning out endless fluid solos in concert with fellow guitar aesthete Richard Lloyd. Verlaine has kept a low profile in recent decades, but he remains a model for generations of guitarists with a taste for both punk violence and melodic flight.

Key Tracks: "Marquee Moon," "Little Johnny Jewel," "Breakin' in My Heart"

Television's Refined Tuning
Tom Verlaine Returns with 'Songs'

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