Television was one of the most creative bands to emerge from New York's underground 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 in New York City, New York, 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 to begin featuring live bands on a regular basis; the club would become an important venue for punk and new wave bands. Television was the first punk/new wave band to play at CBGB.
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.Make Television Playlist