Tom Verlaine has died at the young age of 73. He wrote one of the great songs of the 20th Century- Marquee Moon, which I bought off a school friend when I was 15.
To a young lad in his first love affair, it was musical depiction of the sexual act.
I never bought the album – just that song. Verlaine used to play with Richard Hell but they split before Marquee Moon. Hell went and did an album with a band called the Voidoids called “love comes in spurts” – t wasn’t much good. Marquee Moon covered the topic better
Later I bought the Verlaine song the critics said changed everything – “Little Johnny Jewel” It was ok but it was too arty for me. I bought the second album and I swapped it for a Ramones album which was a good swap.
In the summer of 1977, I hitch-hiked to the Colston Hall in Bristol to see Verlaine’s band Television when they toured with Britain, I got there in time to watch the support bad – Blondie – who had just done “rip her to shreds”. I slept over at the back of the hall – pretty happy. That only made the song more sexy.
The sex thing about the song Marquee Moon is the middle bit. At about 4.30 it goes into a long guitar duet between Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd which builds till it get to 8.10 when it starts building to some kind of crescendo which happens 9 minutes in and then the song seems to come in a wonderful effusion of notes that flow blissfully to an end. The opening of the song then starts again.
The song is about love and death, le petit mort is a phrase that Verlaine the poet knew about.
I played this to my girlfriend and asked if she could feel like that from her body and she said yes – and that was when we had our first sex – thanks Tom. To those who get offended by the thought of under age sex, I was sixteen by then, she was two years older.
If you want to experience Marquee Moon for yourself – here is the you tube.
Thanks Tom Verlaine, you were then my favorite guitarist along with Neil Young . I know a lot more music now , but you wrote one song that will stick with me and I am sorry that you have died young. May you rest in bliss.