Punk Wiki
Location of Origin New York, New York, USA
Genre(s) Punk Rock, Art Punk
Years active 1973-1978, 1992-1993, 2001-Present
Record Label(s) ORK Records, Elektra, Capitol
Associated Bands Neon Boys, The Heartbreakers, The Voidoids, Dim Stars
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Current Members Tom Verlaine
Billy Ficca
Fred Smith
Jimmy Ripp
Past Members Richard Hell
Richard Lloyd

While The Ramones are often credited as the first band to play punk rock in the aggressive and power chord fueled way we know it today, Television is often considered to be the band that started the movement as a whole.


In the late 60s, Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine ran away from school together, and were soon arrested and sent home for setting fire to a field. The friendship would eventually lead to them running away from home again (they were not together this time, but met up later), hoping to become poets in New York. They first formed a band called the Neon Boys with drummer Billy Ficca and, for a short time, guitarist Bill Ayers. They put out one single, released after the breakup of the band. Hell, Verlaine, and Ficca reunited shortly after the breakup of the Neon Boys, recruiting Richard Lloyd as a second guitarist, under the name Television. Their first shows were at a small bar called CBGB & OMFUG, which, along with Max's Kansas City, later became the venue of choice for the entire New York punk scene.

Early Shows and Hell's Departure

Television's earliest gigs were played almost exclusively at CBGB's, run by Hilly Kristal. Originally, none of the members of the band had any sign of musical ability. However, as time went by, Verlaine and Lloyd practiced enough to become virtuosos at the guitar, while Hell seemed to have no skills at the bass guitar. Hell also became prone to jumping around, sometimes falling over, and performing all types of stage antics during shows. In addition to aggravating Verlaine, this made Hell's bass playing even worse. The tension between Hell and the band got to the point where Hell was no longer allowed to perform any of his songs on stage, which led to his departure from the band (some reports say he was fired, others that he quit). He then formed The Heartbreakers with former members of the New York Dolls, where he was also fired from or quit. Hell then formed The Voidoids, one of the better known New York punk bands.

Replacing Hell and Releasing an Album

Not long after leaving Blondie in 1975, Fred Smith was looking for a new band to play with. Hell had just left Television, leaving them in need of a new bassist, and Smith was quickly chosen as his replacement. Later that year, the single Little Johnny Jewels was released on Ork Records. In 1977, the album Marquee Moon was released. It received positive reviews in the US and sold well in the UK.

Second Album and Breakup

Adventure was released the next year, 1978, but was not received as warmly as Marquee Moon, despite being a similar sounding album. Because of Richard Lloyd's drug use and artistic tension within the band, Television broke up the same year.

Two Reunions, a Third Album, and Lloyd's Departure

In 1992, fourteen years after the band's initial dissolution, Television reformed to record their eponymous third album. They played shows on and off through 1993. In 2001, they began playing shows once more, and have continued to present day. In late 2007, Richard Lloyd quit the band, and is being replaced by Jimmy Rip, who is currently recording a new record with the band.