Television - Marquee Moon (Brian Eno demo, 1974)
This is the ur-Marquee Moon. There are those, who don’t know better (yet) who think of Television simply as post-punk, because most of their crucial records date from that precious refining period of 1977/78. But most of their songs were written, and being performed, three years earlier.
December 1974, Richard Williams, an Island A&R - having seen Television two months beforehand at a long-gone club in NY, fronted by a lacklustre Blondie; the Ramones having bailed - booked the foursome of Verlaine, Hell, Lloyd & Ficca into Good Vibrations at 1440 Broadway, NYC. A studio in a glum 25 story towerblock. He’d coralled an eager Brian Eno into flying the desk for the session but the result was disappointing for Verlaine. He wasn’t impressed. There was no animosity between him and Eno, they just didn’t gel. And that is important with something so formative.
The result was that when Williams played the output back in London and tried to physically project his enthusiasm onto the label, they too were unimpressed. Ultimately of course, as history has observed, their loss.
This is from the unofficial LP Double Exposure, named for the only one of the five songs from the Good Vibrations session that didn’t make it onto their debut album three years later. The session has been bootlegged to death over the years but usually with completely erroneous source data attached. Eno does not sing or play on here anywhere. Any piano you hear is Verlaine.
Within weeks Hell had gone his own way taking the Television live songs that he wrote - in particular - Love Comes In Spurts and Blank Generation, with him.
So. A different Marquee Moon. A much earlier one. But recognisable none the less. I’m very fond of the later official track, but Chris Blackwell and the rest of the Island label circa 74 can bathe in their mistake; I like this.