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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 singles "Prove It"} and "Foxhole."} 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, All Music Guide

Television Biography / Television Information

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