1955 - In the music equivalent to the Babe Ruth trade, Sun Records owner Sam Phillips sells Elvis Presley's contract to RCA for $35,000. It wasn't all bad for Phillips: Presley had just one year left on his contract, and Phillips invested the money in a local hotel chain called the Holiday Inn, which made him a bigger fortune than anything he did in music.
1969 - James Brown drags his road-weary band into King Studios in Cincinnati, where Clyde Stubblefield starts banging out a drum pattern. Brown makes it the basis of a song, which he calls "Funky Drummer." It's just a minor hit, but becomes one of the most sampled songs in hip-hop.
1971 - Isaac Hayes (voiced Chef on South Park) started a two-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Theme from Shaft." The following year, the song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song with Hayes becoming the first African American to win that honor (or any Academy Award in a non-acting category), as well as the first recipient of the award to both write and perform the winning song. Fun fact: in 2000, Hayes told National Public Radio that he had only agreed to write and record the Shaft score after Shaft producer Joel Freeman promised him an audition for the lead role (which was given to Richard Roundtree). Hayes never got the chance to audition, but kept his end of the deal anyway.
1973 - During a concert at San Francisco's Cow Palace, Who drummer Keith Moon collapsed onstage after someone spiked his drink with horse tranquilizer. An audience member, 19-year-old Scot Halpin, filled in for the final three songs of The Who's set.
1976 - Paul Simon hosted NBC's Saturday Night Live, where he performed live with George Harrison on "Here Comes The Sun" and "Homeward Bound." He opened the show dressed as a turkey (in honor of Thanksgiving) and performed part of "Still Crazy After All These Years," before telling the audience, "When the turkey concept was first brought up, I said there's a very good chance I'm going to end up looking stupid."
1976 - "Muskrat Love," a song by Captain & Tennille about the amorous adventures of two rodents, peaks at #4 on the Hot 100. Oddly enough, it was written by respected songwriter Willis Alan Ramsey (Lyle Lovett to Widespread Panic sang his songs), who had a studio in Loveland, Colorado.
1998 -A study comparing noise levels of rock music, found that older people rated rock music much higher on a loudness scale than younger people. The researchers carried out by Ohio University tested people age 18 to 21 and people ranging in age from 51 to 58. The study asked participants to rate the loudness of rock music played at nine intensities, ranging from 10 decibels to 90 decibels. Participants listened to ‘Heartbreaker’ by Led Zeppelin for 10 seconds at different intensities. At each intensity, the older subjects gave the music higher numerical ratings based on loudness than the younger subjects. So...if it's too loud, yer too old.
2007 - Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke admitted he was among the thousands of people who paid nothing to download the band's latest album In Rainbows. Speaking to BBC 6 Music's Steve Lamacq, Yorke said, "There wasn't any point. I just move some money from one pocket to the other."
2007 - The debut album from Amy Winehouse, Frank, was finally released in the US eight months after her second album, and three years after its British release.
Jim Horn, American saxophonist, woodwind player and session musician is 80. He played on solo albums of Beatles members, flute and sax on the Beach Boy's Pet Sounds, and flute on the Rolling Stone's Goats Head Soup.
Norman Greenbaum, known for his one-hit wonder, "Spirit in the Sky," is 78.
Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers was born today in 1946.
Guitarist Joe Walsh (former Boulder resident) is 73. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
Mike D of the Beastie Boys is 55.
On This Day In Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts and Wikipedia.