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. Most famously Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" and LL Cool J's "Mama Said To Knock You Out".
1971 - Isaac Hayes 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. Interesting 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. What happened is still the subject of speculation. Spiked drink? Horse tranquilizers? An audience member, 19-year-old Scot Halpin, filled in for the final three songs of The Who's set.
In some interviews Halpin claimed the last thing he remembered was swallowing a shot of brandy and being introduced to the crowd by Roger Daltrey. That, and the size of Keith Moon’s kit: “It was ridiculous. The tom-toms were as big as my bass drum. I only played three numbers, and I was dead.”
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."
Earlier in the year, the show's producer Lorne Michaels offered The Beatles $3000 to reunite. In the opening sketch, he is seen arguing with Harrison over how much of that money he should get.
1995 - The Beatles Anthology 1 was released in the US, featuring 60 tracks covering the late '50s to the end of 1964, mixing studio outtakes, live performances, primitive recordings from the Quarrymen/Silver Beatles days. Includes the track 'Free As A Bird', a song originally composed and recorded in 1977 as a home demo by John Lennon.
2007 - The debut album from Amy Winehouse, Frank, was finally released in the US. Although critically acclaimed and massively influential in her native UK, it fails to set the American charts on fire, reaching its peak of #33 only after the singer's untimely death in 2011.
Norman Greenbaum, known for his one-hit wonder, "Spirit in the Sky," is 81.
Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers was born today in 1946. Duane Allman went from musical unknown to one of rock's most revered guitar virtuosos, only to die a legend, all in about 24 months. He barely had time to establish his legacy, much less his name. The bulk of his reputation and legacy rests, understandably, with the Allman Brothers Band -- two finished studio albums (1969's The Allman Brothers Band and 1970's Idlewild South, a live album (1971's landmark At Fillmore East), and a posthumously released studio/live album (1972's Eat a Peach) -- along with lots of shows with them (some of which, off radio, later surfaced on bootlegs). But given his pairing with Eric Clapton on 1970's Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek & the Dominos and his voluminous session work in which he played behind other artists (along with songs from a busted solo album project). In 2013 the Rounder label gave due respect to the scope of Allman's contributions with the massive seven-disc box set Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective. (Photo by Cory Schwartz/Getty Images)
Guitarist Joe Walsh is 76. From his early hits with the James Gang through to his tenure with the Eagles -- as well as a successful solo career -- Joe Walsh remained one of the most colorful characters in rock & roll, lending his distinctively reedy vocals, off-the-wall lyrics, and expansive guitar leads to a series of AOR staples including "Funk #49," "Rocky Mountain Way," and "Life's Been Good."
Did you know this, Duane allman taught Joe how to play slide guitar? In an interview with Music & Musicians, Walsh said, "The James Gang played lots of shows with the Allman Brothers Band. At some point I sat down with Duane backstage, and he showed me the basics and things like proper tunings to use, based on what you're trying to accomplish. He showed me how you put the slide directly over the fret, instead of between them, like you do when you're normally playing. And he stressed using a very light touch".
Joe is in the Colorado Music Hall Of Fame as a member of Barnstorm.
Dr John, (Malcolm John Rebennack), was born on this day in 1941. Dr. John first became a star by taking the sounds and traditions of New Orleans blues, jazz, and R&B and twisting them into new forms, as evidenced by his run of early Atlantic and Atco albums from 1969's Gris Gris to 1974's hit In the Right Place. As time went by, he would become one of the strongest proponents of the Crescent City's musical heritage, celebrating the songs that made the city -- as well as the men and women who made them -- great
On This Day In Music History was sourced from This Day in Music, Louder, XXLmag, Anti Music, Song Facts and Wikipedia.