Television Vinyl, CD & tapes by Television at Norman Records
Not to be confused with Keighley area rock band Terrorvision (please don’t do that), Television are one of the most revered bands of the post-punk era and their debut album Marquee Moon is often cited as one of the greatest albums of all time.
Theirs was a sinewy and wiry take on post-punk with clean guitar lines interlocking under the strained yelp of singer Tom Verlaine. On Marquee Moon they took unusual influences from jazz and classical music to make an album that seemed to herald a new dawn in how rock music could be presented. Those guitars influenced scores of bands including R.E.M., Felt, Echo & The Bunnymen and Sonic Youth to name just a few. Verlaine’s ragged voice seems to be at odds with the carefully constructed guitar rock and sounded like a caffeined up Lou Reed. Again you can hear it in the sound of so many musicians that have emerged since including Lloyd Cole, Lawrence of Felt and Robert Forster of the Go-Betweens. But it is the constantly entwining, duetting guitars that give Marquee Moon its classic status. This was rock music orchestrated as if it were a classical piece. The band eschewed the DIY punk ethos for studied playing exemplified in the fact that founding member Richard Hell was sacked for "jumping around too much and not learning his guitar properly".
It was hard to see where Television would head after a landmark album like Marquee Moon and the answer was not very far. They made a second album Adventure which lacked the mysterious atmospheres and vibrant pulse of their first album but still pointed the way towards the jangling guitars that were heard in the college rock of the early 80s in the music of bands like R.E.M. and the Smiths. The track 'Days' in particular foregrounds Peter Buck’s arpeggio-style playing on the first few R.E.M. albums.
They split up in 1978 with Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd both going on to enjoy successful solo careers before they were tempted back in 1992 for a third self-titled album that showed their pirouetting guitar sound still intact intact on a much more low key and restrained work that was serviceable but couldn’t hold a candle to their earlier albums.
Television seemingly had too much artistic integrity to make it truly to the big time, content as they were to leave three different sounding albums as their small back catalogue. Their influence though was huge and is still being seen in guitar tangling bands of today.