Tuesday, February 8, 1977

Television released Marquee Moon

First posted 2/8/2012; updated 2/2/2020.

Marquee Moon


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Released: February 8, 1977

Peak: -- US, 28 UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US and UK)

Genre: punk rock

Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. See No Evil [3:56]
  2. Venus [3:48]
  3. Friction [4:43]
  4. Marquee Moon [9:58] (4/16/77, #30 UK)
  5. Elevation [5:08]
  6. Guiding Light [5:36] (Tom Verlaine/Richard Lloyd)
  7. Prove It [5:04] (7/30/77, #25 UK)
  8. Torn Curtain [7:00]

All songs written by Tom Verlaine unless noted otherwise.

Total Running Time: 45:54

The Players:

  • Tom Verlaine (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
  • Richard Lloyd (guitar)
  • Fred Smith (bass)
  • Billy Ficca (drums)


4.743 out of 5.00 (average of 19 ratings)

Quotable: “A trailblazing album — it's impossible to imagine post-punk soundscapes without it.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


About the Album:

Television’s Marquee Moon didn’t even chart in the U.S., but this “classic bit of punk rock from 1977” PK is “a trailblazing album,” AMG “a sinuous, entrancing and gorgeous debut.” ZG “It’s impossible to imagine post-punk soundscapes without it.” AMG It “is a revolutionary album, but it’s a subtle, understated revolution” AMG built on “an incongruous, soaring amalgam of genres.” RS “Where their predecessors in the New York punk scene, most notably the Velvet Underground, had fused blues structures with avant-garde flourishes” AMG and their “peers turned up the distortion, revved up the tempo, and stripped their songs down to tight three-chord anthems, Television did something startlingly different.” PK

Marquee Moon is comprised entirely of tense garage rockers that spiral into heady intellectual territory.” AMG Television “completely strip away any sense of swing or groove, even when they are playing standard three-chord changes.” AMG They smartly “avoid the cursory punk snarl” TM by employing “a radical rethinking of rock guitar” TM which is as “exhilarating in its ambitions as the Ramones’ debut was in its simplicity.” RS Singer/songwriter Tom Verlaine and lead guitarist Richard Lloyd didn’t “bludgeon listeners” TM with their guitar interplay, but used the two guitars to, as Lloyd himself said, to “play rhythm and melody back and forth” TM with “the precise alignment of several contrasting motifs: Verlaine would establish a rhythmic phrase, against which Lloyd would splatter defiant, often deliriously dissonant, melodies.” TM

Verlaine supplied “an excellent set of songs that conveyed a fractured urban mythology unlike any of his contemporaries.” AMG The songs “were thought-provoking, memorable, danceable” PK and “sounded as if they might have come from a Mike Hammer pulp detective novel.” RS

The rest of the group “flesh out Verlaine’s poetry into sweeping sonic epics.” AMG via “long, interweaving instrumental sections.” AMG “There is simply not a bad song on the entire record.” AMG


A 2003 reissue added alternate versions of “See No Evil,” “Friction,” and “Marquee Moon” as well as an untitled instrumental and the single “Little Johnny Jewel (Parts 1 & 2).”

Review Sources:

Friday, February 4, 1977

Fleetwood Mac released Rumours: February 4, 1977

image from fleetwoodmac-uk.com

Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) Second Hand News / Dreams (4/16/77, #1 HT, #24 UK, #11 AC, sales: 0.5 m, air: 5.0 m) / Never Going Back Again / Don’t Stop (4/30/77, #3 HT, #32 UK, #22 AC, air: 3.0 m) / Go Your Own Way (1/8/77, #10 HT, #38 UK, #45 AC, air: 1.0 m) / Songbird / The Chain (10/25/97, #30 AR) / You Make Loving Fun (10/15/77, #9 HT, #45 UK, #28 AC, air: 2.0 m) / I Don’t Want to Know / Oh Daddy / Gold Dust Woman

Sales (in millions): 19.0 US, 3.14 UK, 40.0 world

Peak: 131 US, 11 UK


Review: “Intense, internal drama always adds a kick to a final piece of work…[and] few bands can equal Fleetwood Mac…[for] their angst [that] gave us an album that defined a decade.” DV There was bound to be some adjustment after the immense success of the 1975 Fleetwood Mac album, which saw Californians Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks come in as newbies to the band. Since its roots in the late-1960s, the band had slowly transformed from the British blues-rock band conceived by Mick Fleetwood and John McVie into “crisp, professional soft-rock.” DW

As for the band’s internal conflicts, Mick Fleetwood said, It would “take us almost a year, during which we spoke to each other in clipped, civil tones while sitting in small, airless studios listening to each other’s songs about our own shattered relationships.’” CRS “Keyboardist Christine McVie sparred with husband/bassist John, and singer Stevie Nicks scrapped with boyfriend/guitarist Lindsay Buckingham.” CDU In addition, “enormous amounts of cocaine were consumed by musicians and engineers, destroying their perspective and slowing the work to a snail’s pace” CRS

“The resulting romantic pressure-cooker” AZ produced “a tour de force” BN “that even the very L.A. production can’t smother.” TL “The two couples confess, blame, sigh and ride a deep, chugging groove” RS which made Rumours “the ultimate hangover album for the lovestruck.” DV “Though they wanted to kill each other, they still wanted to sound damn good while they were doing it.” DV This was “different from all other easy-listening rock, give or take an ancient harmony or two.” RC It “was packed with great pop smarts;” DV “every song is catchy and clever.” DW “Its brainy guitar solos were rather more frequent than those of other Southern California sunny soft-rock outfits.” RS

It doesn’t hurt that “they’ve got three melodist-vocalists on the job” RC and that “the cute-voiced woman writes and sings the tough lyrics and the husky-voiced woman the vulnerable ones.” RC In addition, “Buckingham pushed the production into a magnificent combination of intricate and spare.” RS In addition there is his “precise guitar, and the taut blues rhythms of John McVie and Fleetwood.” TL “The ensemble playing, the elastic rhythms, and lush harmonies…transform the material into classic FM fare” AZ and make the album “consistently memorable” AMG – “a milestone in classic rock.” GS


“Each songwriter makes his or her presence known.” AZ Stevie Nicks’ “folkish Gold Dust WomanAMG “casts a great spell” DV and gives the album its “most chilling” DV moment while “the melancholy hit Dreams made it quite clear just how much depth and substance [she] was capable of.” AMG “Her slightly hoarse, ‘magic’ voice [does] wonders to the song.” GS “‘Here you go again,’ breathed Stevie Nicks…‘you say you want your freedom.’ The emotional weariness captured in that line suffuses the album, notwithstanding the upbeat melodies and pristine, daring production.” BN

Go Your Own Way

Buckingham contributes “harder-driving” DV and “deceptively simple pop songs” AZ with “self-depreciating lyrics” DV that “reveal a complex account of their despair.” DV Second Hand News, with its “great, galloping guitar sound” DV “sounds very close to [the previous album’s] ‘Monday Morning’ but…is actually better because it has some tremendous acoustic playing and a lot of silly happy noises.” GS Both it and Never Going Back Again “go from anger to humor to insecureness.” DV “Arguably Buckingham’s greatest track” BN is Go Your Own Way, “a drum-driven cry at the death of love” BN featuring “fiery vocals” CDU and “one of his finest guitar solos.” RV

Don’t Stop

Christine McVie turns in “fast, joyful, optimistic pop” GS and “ultra-catchy slogans” AZ on tunes such as “Don’t Stop, which President Bill Clinton used as his campaign theme song in 1992.” AMG “Smiley-face ballads Songbird and Oh DaddyRS “sound nothing like the boggy, all-too-identic kind of sentimental slush that marred so many of her earlier compositions.” GS The “beautifully understated…You Make Loving Fun,” CDU which “has a steady, disco-ish beat (a very rare thing for Christine)” GS and “optimistic tones…[which] perfectly show a renewed sense of love. It’s one of Christine McVie’s shining moments in the band.” DV

You Make Loving Fun

The Chain, written collectively, is the Mac at their most dramatic.” AZ It is “the full-band invocation of coming darkness and cramped emotional interdependence.” RS It “begins as a slow dirge simply damning the lies of another, before surging into the angst-filled refrain, ‘Chains keep us together.’” RV It is “angry and menancing [and] beautifully constructed.” GS “It all works perfectly…a sort of tennis match between lovers.” DV

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