Wed, Mar. 18, 9pm EDT - 'Marquee Moon' by Television

"When she sang about a boy
Kurt Cobain
I thought what a shame it wasn't about
Tom Verlaine"
from "When She Sang About Angels" by Forster/McLennan from The Go-Betweens album The Friends of Rachel Worth
 
And thus we have another link from an album featured last year to an album featured this year in the "Album Night" series (the other was John Cale writing and performing on the Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat and then producing, arranging and performing on Nico's Desertshore).  The link this time is of course the mention of Tom Verlaine of Television.  

But don't worry if you didn't know Tom Verlaine was the songwriter, singer and one of two guitarists in Television.  To be honest, up until a few months ago, I never heard this album, Marquee Moon.  Even more than that, I had never even heard OF the album, or the band for that matter.  Well, better late then never, as the saying goes...

This 1977 debut release by Television is deceptively a bit of an enigma.  In some ways it's punk, but in other ways more melodic than what is generally considered punk.  The ten minute-plus title track is long but doesn't feel drawn out (and apparently the live version generally went much longer).  The first reaction might be to say that the sound of the band is not unique yet the more you listen the more you realize everything from the solos to the guitar tones are indeed unique.  And don't forget Verlaine's distinct vocals.

But as always, we'll be better served listening to the album and discussing it than by me simply writing about it.  I invite you to join me on Wednesday, March 18th at 9pm EDT to listen to Marquee Moon by Television.  Turn off the television and tune into Television! See you on the 18th!

56 comments

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Hi Everyone, Here are a few links for tonight's event if you want to do some reading, or just follow along with the lyrics. See you tonight! "It would not be an overstatement to say that ‘Marquee Moon’ is to the ’70s what ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’ was to the ’60s": http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/most-important-albums-of-nmes-lifetime-television-marquee-moon#1RT5cH7gz8CjSASv.99 Piitchfork album review 'Marquee Moon' & 'Adventure': http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/11853-marquee-moon-adventure/ BBC album review 'Marquee Moon' & 'Adventure': http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/gqhj Lyrics: http://www.oldielyrics.com/albums/television/1977-marquee_moon.html

    Hi Everyone,

    Here are a few links for tonight's event if you want to do some reading, or just follow along with the lyrics. See you tonight!

    "It would not be an overstatement to say that ‘Marquee Moon’ is to the ’70s what ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’ was to the ’60s":
    http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/most-important-albums-of-nmes-lifetime-television-marquee-moon#1RT5cH7gz8CjSASv.99

    Piitchfork album review 'Marquee Moon' & 'Adventure':
    http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/11853-marquee-moon-adventure/

    BBC album review 'Marquee Moon' & 'Adventure':
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/gqhj

    Lyrics:
    http://www.oldielyrics.com/albums/television/1977-marquee_moon.html

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    I'm pretty psyched. I haven't listened straight through Marquee Moon in a while.

    I'm pretty psyched. I haven't listened straight through Marquee Moon in a while.

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    I just changed my name, hopefully this avoids any confusion.

    I just changed my name, hopefully this avoids any confusion.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Thanks for turning up Baby John. This should be a great listen for sure! We'll be kicking off at 9pm sharp. I'm eager to start as well!

    Thanks for turning up Baby John. This should be a great listen for sure! We'll be kicking off at 9pm sharp. I'm eager to start as well!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    By the way, to all who show up, here's my usual important reminder for tonight's event: *** Please make sure to periodically refresh your browser during the event so you can see all the comments as they are posted. The site will not automatically update on its own. *** And with that, I wish everyone a great listening experience tonight!

    By the way, to all who show up, here's my usual important reminder for tonight's event:
    ***
    Please make sure to periodically refresh your browser during the event so you can see all the comments as they are posted. The site will not automatically update on its own.
    ***

    And with that, I wish everyone a great listening experience tonight!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Baby John - do you own the other Television albums? Do you agree, as most do, that Marquee Moon is their best work?

    Baby John - do you own the other Television albums? Do you agree, as most do, that Marquee Moon is their best work?

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    I do own them all, and Marquee Moon is my favorite. Adventure is very good too, but it's hard to follow this album. I can honestly say Marquee Moon is one of my desert island discs.

    I do own them all, and Marquee Moon is my favorite. Adventure is very good too, but it's hard to follow this album. I can honestly say Marquee Moon is one of my desert island discs.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Wow, thanks Baby John. Definitely a strong endorsement for 'Marquee Moon'! Do any of the live recordings do them justice? I've read that the live shows were amazing, but was unsure how well it translates to disc. Sometimes the magic is lost when you're not actually there in person. Obviously I need to explore these guys more deeply. Right now this is the only album I've listened to of theirs. Shameful, I know...

    Wow, thanks Baby John. Definitely a strong endorsement for 'Marquee Moon'!

    Do any of the live recordings do them justice? I've read that the live shows were amazing, but was unsure how well it translates to disc. Sometimes the magic is lost when you're not actually there in person. Obviously I need to explore these guys more deeply. Right now this is the only album I've listened to of theirs. Shameful, I know...

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    The live discs are great. Rhino put out Live at the Waldorf a few years back and that's a great sounding one too. The Blow Up is great but the sound quality is pretty rough. Little Johnny Jewel is much better live.

    The live discs are great. Rhino put out Live at the Waldorf a few years back and that's a great sounding one too. The Blow Up is great but the sound quality is pretty rough. Little Johnny Jewel is much better live.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Thanks for the info. We'll be kicking off here shortly. I'll post a comment at 9 to get us started. Anyone else out there?

    Thanks for the info. We'll be kicking off here shortly. I'll post a comment at 9 to get us started.

    Anyone else out there?

  • John T

    John T nY

    Hi everyone, pretty much agree that Marquee Moon is one of my all time favorites. I was fortunate to see Television live twice at CBGB before the album was released. They were like the Grateful Dead in that they could be either great or could be a little off in concert. That was my experience - first time they sounded sloppy (opened for Talking Heads I think) the second time they were totally together and played one of. the great live shows I have ever attended. Marquee Moon lived up to that experience and has been a record I have played constantly now for almost 40 years - a true test as any for its greatness in my opinion.

    Hi everyone, pretty much agree that Marquee Moon is one of my all time favorites. I was fortunate to see Television live twice at CBGB before the album was released. They were like the Grateful Dead in that they could be either great or could be a little off in concert. That was my experience - first time they sounded sloppy (opened for Talking Heads I think) the second time they were totally together and played one of. the great live shows I have ever attended. Marquee Moon lived up to that experience and has been a record I have played constantly now for almost 40 years - a true test as any for its greatness in my opinion.

  • John T

    John T NY

    I agree that Adventure is excellent especially the reissue with added tracks including the title song!

    I agree that Adventure is excellent especially the reissue with added tracks including the title song!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Welcome aboard John. And thanks for your input as well. Be getting started here in a minute. We know Television will not be off tonight!

    Welcome aboard John. And thanks for your input as well. Be getting started here in a minute. We know Television will not be off tonight!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Let the magic begin! "Album Night" officially starts now! Start track 1 (hit play or put the needle down on side A) of 'Marquee Moon' by Television. Share your thoughts right here as you listen!

    Let the magic begin! "Album Night" officially starts now! Start track 1 (hit play or put the needle down on side A) of 'Marquee Moon' by Television. Share your thoughts right here as you listen!

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    The title song of Adventure, which was left off the original release, is the best track from that record.

    The title song of Adventure, which was left off the original release, is the best track from that record.

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    See No Evil really gets you going on this album. A lot of good energy right away and a good taste of Verlaine's guitar chops.

    See No Evil really gets you going on this album. A lot of good energy right away and a good taste of Verlaine's guitar chops.

  • John T

    John T NY

    Their sound is definitely unique - Tom Verlaine has a limited but expressive vocal range. The fun is listening to the guitar parts for the lead - Verlaine or Richard Lloyd. Verlain plays lead on See No Evil. Sort of like Layla with Clapton & Duane Allman.

    Their sound is definitely unique - Tom Verlaine has a limited but expressive vocal range. The fun is listening to the guitar parts for the lead - Verlaine or Richard Lloyd. Verlain plays lead on See No Evil. Sort of like Layla with Clapton & Duane Allman.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Great opening track. Interesting that the toms come through but the kick drum is not very prominent. Of course the guitars are definitely the focal point. Just thought it was interesting about the kit

    Great opening track. Interesting that the toms come through but the kick drum is not very prominent. Of course the guitars are definitely the focal point. Just thought it was interesting about the kit

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    My favorite part about Venus is how the backing vocals play into the song, and the give and take from Verlaine. It's almost like a little skit in the middle of a song

    My favorite part about Venus is how the backing vocals play into the song, and the give and take from Verlaine. It's almost like a little skit in the middle of a song

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    I agree about the drums, you can tell by the way the album starts - with a lone guitar kicking everything off, that the drums take a bit of a back seat to the Lloyd and Verlaine

    I agree about the drums, you can tell by the way the album starts - with a lone guitar kicking everything off, that the drums take a bit of a back seat to the Lloyd and Verlaine

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Yeah Baby John. I agree. I like the the second character that the bg vox bring

    Yeah Baby John. I agree. I like the the second character that the bg vox bring

  • John T

    John T NY

    The lyrics can be humorous and surreal. - I felt sideaways laughing and the chorus singing Huh? on Venus draws you into their private world, inside jokes and personal vistas. You would never guess there was so much personal animosity building between Verlaine & Lloyd.

    The lyrics can be humorous and surreal. - I felt sideaways laughing and the chorus singing Huh? on Venus draws you into their private world, inside jokes and personal vistas. You would never guess there was so much personal animosity building between Verlaine & Lloyd.

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    Friction is just so catchy. There's the cool descending rift, and the very familiar and simple backing beat to the whole thing that really lets the guitars go crazy for the first proper time on the album and take over.

    Friction is just so catchy. There's the cool descending rift, and the very familiar and simple backing beat to the whole thing that really lets the guitars go crazy for the first proper time on the album and take over.

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    The moment of "F-R-I-C-T-I-O-N" always gets me

    The moment of "F-R-I-C-T-I-O-N" always gets me

  • John T

    John T NY

    It should be noted that Richard Hell was an original member of the group and had a great influence on their sound. Unfortunately he couldn't get along with Verlaine and left before MM was recorded.

    It should be noted that Richard Hell was an original member of the group and had a great influence on their sound. Unfortunately he couldn't get along with Verlaine and left before MM was recorded.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Yeah, I like the way the guitars are not playing the typical run of the mill parts. Certainly part of the recipe for the magic. The hi-hat is fairly prominent too which I think helps move the song along and give it that drive

    Yeah, I like the way the guitars are not playing the typical run of the mill parts. Certainly part of the recipe for the magic. The hi-hat is fairly prominent too which I think helps move the song along and give it that drive

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    The title track is just something else. The lyrics are very surreal and moody, it has a great sense of place. You can picture the time and environment very vividly. And the guitar riff plays into it, it feels like the proper soundtrack to whats going on.

    The title track is just something else. The lyrics are very surreal and moody, it has a great sense of place. You can picture the time and environment very vividly. And the guitar riff plays into it, it feels like the proper soundtrack to whats going on.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    John T - was Richard Hell still in the group when you saw them perform live?

    John T - was Richard Hell still in the group when you saw them perform live?

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    And I think Marquee Moon is also a track that the drums really stand out on Billy Ficca lets it all out on this one

    And I think Marquee Moon is also a track that the drums really stand out on Billy Ficca lets it all out on this one

  • John T

    John T NY

    "Lightning struck itself" and the great Verlaine rave up in the title track are just the beginning of one of the all time classic songs. I could listen to this all day long. And what does the Cadillac/graveyard verse mean? So typical of the lyrical puzzles hidden beneath the music. The closing 5 minutes actuall seem short.

    "Lightning struck itself" and the great Verlaine rave up in the title track are just the beginning of one of the all time classic songs. I could listen to this all day long. And what does the Cadillac/graveyard verse mean? So typical of the lyrical puzzles hidden beneath the music. The closing 5 minutes actuall seem short.

  • John T

    John T NY

    John -,Hell had just left the group which was the reason everyone thought they sounded off the first time I saw them. There was so much hype around them at the time and that first concert was a real letdown. Hell was a major artistic force not only for Television but the whole scene in those days.

    John -,Hell had just left the group which was the reason everyone thought they sounded off the first time I saw them. There was so much hype around them at the time and that first concert was a real letdown. Hell was a major artistic force not only for Television but the whole scene in those days.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Yeah, I was wondering about the cadillac verse as well. Were there any drug problems in the group? I wonder if the cadillac could be symbolic of heroin? Looks great and can pull you into the graveyard unless you kick the habit and 'get out'. Total guesswork here

    Yeah, I was wondering about the cadillac verse as well. Were there any drug problems in the group? I wonder if the cadillac could be symbolic of heroin? Looks great and can pull you into the graveyard unless you kick the habit and 'get out'. Total guesswork here

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Title track does not feel like it goes on for ten minutes. Definitely the sign of a great song

    Title track does not feel like it goes on for ten minutes. Definitely the sign of a great song

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    "Elevation" is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The way Verlaine says 'elevation' almost sounds like he's saying 'television'. At least the second half of the word anyway, in my opinion

    "Elevation" is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The way Verlaine says 'elevation' almost sounds like he's saying 'television'. At least the second half of the word anyway, in my opinion

  • John T

    John T NY

    Some recent debates as to the relative merits of Side 2 vs. Side 1. I honestly don't have a strong preference and think the second side has 3 classic tracks beginning with Elevation and overall might have the better guitar leads and interplay.

    Some recent debates as to the relative merits of Side 2 vs. Side 1. I honestly don't have a strong preference and think the second side has 3 classic tracks beginning with Elevation and overall might have the better guitar leads and interplay.

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    There are definitely some great guitar leads on the second half. I don't know which side I would consider stronger. I was flipping through Going into the City earlier looking for the references to Marquee Moon but couldn't find them.

    There are definitely some great guitar leads on the second half. I don't know which side I would consider stronger. I was flipping through Going into the City earlier looking for the references to Marquee Moon but couldn't find them.

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    I like how Guiding Light plays with the levels, building up big and loud and then instantly dropping quiet.

    I like how Guiding Light plays with the levels, building up big and loud and then instantly dropping quiet.

  • John T

    John T NY

    If there is one song I tend to skip over from time to time it would be Guiding Ligh (which means I have only played it about a thousand times). But in many respects it offers a welcome respite from the intensity of the first five songs. Great enigmatic lyrics though.

    If there is one song I tend to skip over from time to time it would be Guiding Ligh (which means I have only played it about a thousand times). But in many respects it offers a welcome respite from the intensity of the first five songs. Great enigmatic lyrics though.

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    Guiding Light also I believe the only song on the album Richard Hell has a writng credit on.

    Guiding Light also I believe the only song on the album Richard Hell has a writng credit on.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    The bass on "Guiding Light" reminds me a little of the Beach Boys. A strange connection, I know. Probably not my favorite track on the album, but I still enjoy it. I agree that it's placed well for track sequencing

    The bass on "Guiding Light" reminds me a little of the Beach Boys. A strange connection, I know. Probably not my favorite track on the album, but I still enjoy it. I agree that it's placed well for track sequencing

  • John T

    John T NY

    Baby John I will let you know the section in the book in which Christgau extols the virtues of the album but also rates the second side a little lower. Great guitar lead in Prove It - I think Lloyd took it.

    Baby John I will let you know the section in the book in which Christgau extols the virtues of the album but also rates the second side a little lower.

    Great guitar lead in Prove It - I think Lloyd took it.

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    Prove It is one of my favorites on the album. It's playful and fun, that funny too - the bird chirp always makes me chuckle

    Prove It is one of my favorites on the album. It's playful and fun, that funny too - the bird chirp always makes me chuckle

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    I can't believe we're already on Torn Curtain. It feels like we just started!

    I can't believe we're already on Torn Curtain. It feels like we just started!

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    The band is really tight. They navigate starts, stops, ups, downs, and everything in between with so much ease. I imagine that's largely the byproduct of performing live for a few years before recording the album. Maybe that's why the studio version of Little Johnny Jewel suffered a bit?

    The band is really tight. They navigate starts, stops, ups, downs, and everything in between with so much ease. I imagine that's largely the byproduct of performing live for a few years before recording the album. Maybe that's why the studio version of Little Johnny Jewel suffered a bit?

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    I always wondered whether Torn Curtain had anything to do with Hitchcock's movie of the same name.

    I always wondered whether Torn Curtain had anything to do with Hitchcock's movie of the same name.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Yeah, Baby John. These great albums always seem to fly by! For me, Torn Curtain and Elevation are the highlights of side two

    Yeah, Baby John. These great albums always seem to fly by!

    For me, Torn Curtain and Elevation are the highlights of side two

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Funny Baby John. I can't help but think of Paul Newman and that movie every time I read or hear the title

    Funny Baby John. I can't help but think of Paul Newman and that movie every time I read or hear the title

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    Oh definitely. Torn Curtain is such a great ending song too. It's such a tonal shift I don't even know what you could follow this with on the album

    Oh definitely. Torn Curtain is such a great ending song too. It's such a tonal shift I don't even know what you could follow this with on the album

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    I've been meaning to watch that one, I'm gonna have the lyrics out with me when I do!

    I've been meaning to watch that one, I'm gonna have the lyrics out with me when I do!

  • John T

    John T NY

    Torn Curtain might be my all time favorite finales. I find the lyrics more direct and clearly personal then the other songs. "Tears tears rolling back the years holding back the tears verse with the Verlaine lead is as emotionally wrenching performance as you will likely experience on record. And the final rave up is one for the ages. You couldn't ask for more from any record and in my opinion the apex of the 70's NY punk scene.

    Torn Curtain might be my all time favorite finales. I find the lyrics more direct and clearly personal then the other songs. "Tears tears rolling back the years holding back the tears verse with the Verlaine lead is as emotionally wrenching performance as you will likely experience on record. And the final rave up is one for the ages. You couldn't ask for more from any record and in my opinion the apex of the 70's NY punk scene.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    I agree that Torn Curtain was a fitting finale and a superb wrap up. I'm going to leave the stereo off for a little while to let that final statement sink in a bit. Thank you Baby John and John T for joining "Album Night" tonight. I truly enjoyed listening to this classic with the both of you and reading your thoughts and insights about this 70's masterpiece.

    I agree that Torn Curtain was a fitting finale and a superb wrap up. I'm going to leave the stereo off for a little while to let that final statement sink in a bit.

    Thank you Baby John and John T for joining "Album Night" tonight. I truly enjoyed listening to this classic with the both of you and reading your thoughts and insights about this 70's masterpiece.

  • JohnT

    JohnT NY

    Thanks for selecting this classic John. Going back now to play Torn Curtain again. And yes I always wondered about the movie reference but came to believe the song represents something totally different and unique to Verlaine.

    Thanks for selecting this classic John. Going back now to play Torn Curtain again. And yes I always wondered about the movie reference but came to believe the song represents something totally different and unique to Verlaine.

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    We'll be shifting gears in a major way, yet staying in the same time period (in fact only one year earlier) when "Album Night" returns on Wed, April 1 with 'Legalize It' by Peter Tosh. Please take a moment on your way out to cast your vote on the main "Album Night" page, thumbs up or down, for tonight's album. I think 3 thumbs up are a foregone conclusion though...

    We'll be shifting gears in a major way, yet staying in the same time period (in fact only one year earlier) when "Album Night" returns on Wed, April 1 with 'Legalize It' by Peter Tosh.

    Please take a moment on your way out to cast your vote on the main "Album Night" page, thumbs up or down, for tonight's album. I think 3 thumbs up are a foregone conclusion though...

  • Baby John

    Baby John

    Awesome, thanks for picking this great album! Thumbs up are definitely in order

    Awesome, thanks for picking this great album! Thumbs up are definitely in order

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    Yes, John T, when I look at the lyrics I find it to be a bit of a stretch to connect Torn Curtain to the movie. However, the "Burn it down" could possibly represent the Berlin Wall and then you could start making arguments for metaphor on some of the other lines too. But I don't think we need to have an answer one way or the other. We can each interpret it as we see fit. Just another thing that makes the song so strong

    Yes, John T, when I look at the lyrics I find it to be a bit of a stretch to connect Torn Curtain to the movie. However, the "Burn it down" could possibly represent the Berlin Wall and then you could start making arguments for metaphor on some of the other lines too. But I don't think we need to have an answer one way or the other. We can each interpret it as we see fit. Just another thing that makes the song so strong

  • John Banrock

    John Banrock

    You're welcome guys! Thanks again for joining! And thanks to Television for making the album!

    You're welcome guys! Thanks again for joining! And thanks to Television for making the album!

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