Album #389 – Marquee Moon
Television’s debut album, Marquee Moon, is unlike anything else from it’s time. Despite the rough and sometimes indecipherable vocals of front man Tom Verlaine, Television are amazing musicians. Verlaine and Richard Lloyd are phenomenal guitarists who know a good hook and can solo with the best of their contemporaries (Clapton, Beck et al.) They could jam on a dime and make beautiful improvisations as a result. That is what sets Television apart from other punk bands of their generation. I was first turned on to Marquee Moon by some friends of mine in high school. I didn’t understand the album at the time. I thought it was too monotone and found Tom Verlaine’s singing to be sub-par. Luckily, as my tastes have grown, so has my appreciation for this album. Television was part of the CBGB’s punk scene. I love the music that came out of that scene because each of the five bands (Blondie, The Ramones, The Patti Smith Group, Television and Talking Heads) had a unique sound and shaped rock and roll’s future. Sadly, Television is the least known of the five. But, they make up for that in influence. The Edge of U2’s guitar sound is based off of Verlaine’s especially on the title track which The Edge claims to have listened to repeatedly. R.E.M., Joy Division and Echo & The Bunnymen were also inspired by Verlaine’s playing and Television’s overall sound. Marquee Moon is proof that punk was not musician less or weird. Because of the members’ love of different kinds of music including jazz, garage rock and avant guard, this album creates a unique sound for one of the most un-punk bands to emerge in the late 70’s. Other highlights include: See No Evil, Venus, Friciton, Elevation, Guiding Light and Prove It. Overall, I give Marquee Moon, 4.5 out of 5.
Next: Bat Out of Hell by Meatloaf