1956 - Elvis Presley's single, "Heartbreak Hotel" was released by RCA Records, who had just purchased Presley's contract from Sam Phillips and Sun Records for $35,000. Considering what Elvis would eventually do, that seems like a bad deal. But Sam took the money and invested in little known, Memphis based, Holiday Inn. He made out alright.

1971 - David Bowie arrived in the U.S. for the first time but was not allowed to play anywhere due to work permit restrictions. But it was a journey that broadened his universe and inspired his first great artistic statement. “The whole Hunky Dory album reflected my newfound enthusiasm for this new continent that had been opened up to me,” Bowie said in 1999. “That was the first time a real outside situation affected me so 100 percent that it changed my way of writing and the way I look at things.” It was also on this trip where he dreamed up his next career move: Ziggy Stardust.

1973 - 'Superstition' the lead single from Stevie Wonder's Talking Book album became his second No.1 single in the US. Jeff Beck created the original drum beat while in the studio with Wonder. After writing the song, Wonder offered it to Beck to record, but at the insistence of Berry Gordy, Wonder himself recorded it first. Beck was instead offered 'Cause We've Ended As Lovers', which he recorded on his Blow by Blow album in 1975. He would eventually record 'Superstition' with his trio, Beck, Bogart, and Appice. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for ASCAP )

1984 - At the peak of his popularity, Michael Jackson films an ad for Pepsi that goes horribly wrong when some stray pyro sets his hair on fire.

1985 - Bruce Springsteen wraps up the first leg of his Born in the U.S.A. tour with a show at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York. The next day, he flies to Los Angeles, rents a car, and drives to A&M Recording Studios, where he takes part in the "We Are The World" sessions.

2014 - American folk singer and activist Pete Seeger died at the age of 94. He had a string of hit records during the early 1950s as a member of the Weavers, most notably their recording of Lead Belly's 'Goodnight, Irene'. Members of the Weavers were blacklisted during the McCarthy Era. In the 1960s, he re-emerged on the public scene as a prominent singer of protest music in support of international disarmament, civil rights, counterculture and environmental causes.

2015 - Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne were given a songwriting credit on Sam Smith's hit "Stay With Me" because of the similarities to the 1989 track "I Won't Back Down".


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on this day in 1756.

Elmore James, blues guitarist and singer, known as the King of the Slide Guitar, was born today in 1918.

Bobby Bland was born on this day in 1930.

Nick Mason, drummer for Pink Floyd, is 77.

Nedra Talley of The Ronettes is 75.

Brian Downey of Thin Lizzy is 70.

Seth Justman of The J. Geils Band is 70.

Mike Patton of Faith No More is 53.

On This Day In Music History is sourced from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts and Wikipedia.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content