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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Alphabet Beats #134: T is for...Television

T is for....

Yesterday we looked at one of the great bands to come out of the New York scene in the 1970's with the Talking Heads so today I thought it would be fitting to look at another from those times - Television.
Televison first line up 1974 L to R
Richard Lloyd, Tom Verlaine, Richard Hell and Billy Ficca.

Prior to the formation of Television in late 1973 old friends Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine had formed a band called The Neon Boys, Billy Ficca played drums. We only know what they were like after a single was released in 1980 of the band (which you can hear in the above link). After the band broke up they all got back together again under a new name - Television. They recruited Richard Lloyd as second guitarist and then began playing live. Their debut was the Townhouse Theater on March 2nd 1974. The same year they made their debut at CBGB's and then onto other shows like Max's Kansas City etc and then in 1975 they were back at at CBGB's where they would begin to gain a Cult following!
A disagreement with Hell over his overly dramatic stage antics led to his departure from the band along with some of his songs that would later turn up in his own band Richard Hell and the Voidoids, but before their formation he would instrumental in setting up The Heartbreakers alongside former NY Dolls legends Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan.

Fred Smith (who had been in Blondie) took over Bass duties.

One lasting result of Hell's presence in the band was the first Television single, 'Little Johnny Jewel', released on Ork Records in 1975.

Television 1977

They got signed to Elektra Records and released what I consider (any many others for that matter) one of the best Debut Albums ever in 'Marquee Moon', the follow up 'Adventure' rose high on the charts but Lloyd's drug addiction and Verlaine's and the other band members staunch artistic visions led to the disillution of the group.

They did reunite in 1992 releasing a brand new album and have sporadically played ever since being invited to play at All Tomorrows Parties Festival in 2001. Lloyd left the band again in 2007 and Jimmy Rip took over guitar duties.

Current Line Up L to R is Fred Smith - Bass, Tom Verlaine - Vocals/Guitar,  Billy Ficca - Drums and Jimmy Rip - Guitar/vocals.

The Music
(Click on the links to enjoy the music)
Studio Albums

    Marquee Moon (1977) #23 Sweden, #28 UK

    Adventure (1978) #7 UK  

    Television (1992)

Live albums

    The Blow-Up (1982)  

    Live at the Old Waldorf (Recorded in 1978) (2003)

    "Marquee Moon " (1977) #30 UK
    "Prove It" b/w "Venus" (1977) #25 UK
    "Foxhole" b/w "Careful" (1978) #36 UK
    "Glory" b/w "Carried Away" (1978)
    "Ain't That Nothin'" b/w "Glory" (1978)
    "Call Mr. Lee" (1992) #27 Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 

More Television

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