Today in rock history: On this date in 2001, Chuck Schuldiner, founder of Florida-based metal band Death passed away. Often regarded as the godfather of death-metal, Schuldiner fronted the highly influential band from 1983 through his untimely passing and released several landmark metal albums throughout that timespan. The band’s 1987 debut Scream Bloody Gore and its follow-up, Leprosy, quickly drew accolades and put both Schuldiner and Death at the forefront of the death-metal movement that was unfolding. Schuldiner was sadly diagnosed with brain cancer, and appeared to be in recovery, but he succumbed to the disease at the age of 34.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1966, still relatively unknown rock hero Jimi Hendrix recorded his first television appearance by playing a version of an early single, “Hey Joe,” for the popular British music program, Ready, Steady, Go!. Other guests on the episode included The Troggs and Marc Bolan who’d soon rise to fame as the founder and focal point of Tyrannosaurus Rex. The exposure led to instant popularity for Hendrix, sold-out club dates on his world tour and a spot as the opening act for a major tour with singing group The Walker Brothers. Within a year, Hendrix would release his debut album and become a worldwide superstar.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1949, Tom Verlaine — frontman and singer for essential New York City rock band Television — was born in Denville, New Jersey. Thomas Miller, as he was named at birth, began playing saxophone as a young man but was swayed to the world of rock and roll after hearing The Rolling Stones. Forming underground proto-punk band The Neon Boys with another New York City pioneer, Richard Hell, Verlaine assembled Television not long after his former group’s demise. Known for his contributions to the NYC scene and for Television’s absolutely integral album, 1977’s Marquee Moon, Verlaine disbanded the group in the late '70s and embarked on a solo career that produced several noteworthy albums and projects along the way. The influential writer, singer, guitarist and visionary turns 69 today.
Today in rock history: On this date in 1961 — while drawing rave reviews as performers at Liverpool, England’s Cavern Club — the Beatles were courted by Mike Smith of Decca Records who was so impressed with the band that he orchestrated a New Year's Day recording audition. In one of the biggest goofs in rock history, Decca passed on the soon-to-be rock superstars and offered the opinion that, “the Beatles have no future in show business” because, according to the label, “guitar groups are on the way out.”