What Happened in May 1979

Historical Events

Music History

May 1 Elton John performs for 1st time in Israel, kicking off a mini-tour of 5 shows in six nights

  • May 1 Home rule introduced to Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland)
  • May 1 Marshall Islands (in Pacific) become self-governing
  • May 2 "Quadrophenia" premieres in London
  • May 2 -May 10] Vivekananda (Sri Lanka) begins nonstop ride, cycling 187 hrs, 28 min, around Vihara Maha Devi Park, Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • May 3 1979 NFL Draft: Tom Cousineau from Ohio State first pick by Buffalo Bills
  • May 3 Martin Sherman's "Bent" premieres in London
  • May 3 MLB Cleveland Indian Bobby Bonds hits his 300th HR (2nd to have 300 HRs & 300 stolen bases)

Election of Interest

May 4 Margaret Thatcher becomes the first woman to be elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

  • May 4 NASA launches Fltsatcom-2
  • May 5 105th Kentucky Derby: Ron Franklin on Spectacular Bid wins in 2:02.4
  • May 5 Masterpiece Radio Theater begins broadcasting
  • May 5 Voyager 1 fly-bys Jupiter
  • May 6 Fred Markham set a bicycle speed record of 818 kph over 200 m
  • May 6 Louis LaRusso II's "Knockout" premieres in NYC
  • May 6 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • May 7 5th UNCTAD-conference opens in Manila
  • May 7 Gary Roenicke hits into Orioles 13th triple play (Oakland)
  • May 8 Radio Shack releases TRSDOS 2.3

Album Release

May 8 The Cure release their debut album "Three Imaginary Boys" (Boys Don't Cry in US, Australia)

  • May 9 Iranian-Jewish businessman Habib Elghanian is the 1st Jew executed by the Islamic government firing squad in Tehran, prompting the mass exodus of the once 100,000-strong Jewish community of Iran
  • May 10 Federated States of Micronesia becomes self-governing
  • May 10 John McMullen becomes CEO of Houston Astros
  • May 10 Vivekananda (Sri Lanka) completes nonstop cycle ride of 187 hrs, 28 min, around Vihara Maha Devi Park, Colombo, Sri Lanka [From May 2]

Sports History

May 12 Chris Evert's 125-match winning streak on clay comes to an end

  • May 13 "Utter Glory... Morrissey Hall" opens & closes at Mark Hellinger NYC

Historic Event

May 13 Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and family sentenced to death in Tehran

  • May 14 "Kids Are All Right" rockumentary film featuring The Who premieres at the Cannes Film Festival
  • May 14 "Stalker", Russian film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, starring Alexander Kaidanovsky and Anatoli Solonitsyn, is released
  • May 16 FC Barcelona of Spain wins 19th European Cup Winner's Cup against Fortuna Düsseldorf of West Germany 4-3 in Basel
  • May 16 NL approves Astros sales from Ford Motors to John J McMullen for $19M
  • May 17 Coldest temperature ever recorded in Hawaii - 12°F (-11°C), on top of Mauna Kea
  • May 17 Emmy 6th Daytime Award presentation, "Ryan's Hope" wins Outstanding Daytime Drama Series
  • May 17 Phillies beat Cubs, 23-22, on 50 hits with 11 HRs
  • May 19 "In The Navy" by Village People hits #3
  • May 19 104th Preakness: Ron Franklin aboard Spectacular Bid wins in 1:54.2
  • May 20 "I Love My Wife" closes at Barrymore Theater NYC after 864 performances
  • May 20 Elton John is the 1st western pop star to tour USSR

White Night Riots

May 21 Dan White convicted of the voluntary manslaughter of San Francisco mayor George Moscone and openly gay councilor Harvey Milk. The conviction on a lesser charge outraged the gay community and led to the White Night riots.

  • May 21 National Volksraad installed in Namibia
  • May 21 Stanley Cup Final, Montreal Forum, Montreal, Quebec: 4 consecutive titles for Montreal Canadiens; beat NY Rangers, 4-1 for a 4 games to 1 series win

Film & TV History

May 22 1st ACE Cable Awards: "Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas" by Jim Henson and HBO

Election of Interest

May 22 Canadians elect conservatives, Joseph Clark replaces Pierre Trudeau as the 16th Prime Minister of Canada

  • May 22 Commencement of 1st ICC Trophy (PNG v East Africa & Singapore v Argentina)
  • May 23 1st edition of "Wisden Cricket Monthly"
  • May 23 American rock singer-songwriter Tom Petty files for chapter 11 bankruptcy
  • May 23 West-Germany elects Karl Carstens president

Cannes Film Festival

May 24 32nd Cannes Film Festival: "Apocalypse Now" directed by Francis Ford Coppola and "Die Biechtrommel" directed by Volker Schlondorff jointly awarded the Palme d'Or

Sports History

May 24 Billy Martin issues a public apology to Reno sportswriter Ray Hagar

  • May 24 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • May 25 American Airlines DC-10 crashes on takeoff from Chicago killing 273 including 2 on the ground

Film Release

May 25 Horror film "Alien", directed by Ridley Scott and starring Sigourney Weaver is released

  • May 25 Israel begins to return Sinai to Egypt
  • May 25 Raul Gonzales of Mexico completes 50,000 m walk in record 3:41:38.4

Music History

May 26 "Dancin' Fool" by Frank Zappa hits #45

  • May 27 Indianapolis 500: Polesitter Rick Mears takes lead for the final time with 18 laps to go, to win his first of four Indy 500 races

Historic Event

May 27 Pope John Paul II ordains John J O'Connor as a bishop

Television Premiere

May 28 ABC premiere of TV's "The House on Garibaldi Street", based on the 1960 capture of Adolf Eichmann in Argentina

  • May 28 European Market accepts Greece as member
  • May 29 Bishop Abel Muzorewa is sworn in as Zimbabwe's 1st black Prime Minister
  • May 29 CBS premiere of Melissa Anderson's modern "Survival of Dana", her first "bad girl" role, in which Anderson's title character leaves her North Dakota town for Los Angeles after her parents' divorce
  • May 29 Radio's 1st rock network "Source" premieres
  • May 30 23rd European Cup: Nottingham Forest beats Malmo FF 1-0 at Munich
  • May 30 Pat Underwood makes his pitching debut for Detroit beats brother Tom
  • May 30 Percom Data Company Inc release Microdos for Radio Shack's TRS-80
  • May 30 Ted Coombs begins a 5,193 mile roller skate from LA to NYC
  • May 31 "I Remember Mama" opens at Majestic Theater NYC for 108 performances
  • May 31 Radio City Music Hall (NYC) reopens

Famous Birthdays

  • May 1 Ben Easter, American actor
  • May 1 Daniel Letterle, American actor (Camp), born in Northfield, Ohio
  • May 1 Jennifer Botterill, Canadian ice hockey forward (Olympic gold 2002, 06, 10; Toronto Aeros, Harvard), born in Ottawa, Canada
  • May 1 Mauro Bergamasco, Italian rugby union flanker (Italy 106 caps; Benetton Treviso, Stade Français), born in Padova, Italy
  • May 2 Jason Chimera, Canadian ice hockey player, born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • May 2 Roman Lyashenko, Russian ice hockey player, born in Murmansk, Russia (d. 2003)
  • May 3 Genevieve Nnaji, Nigerian actress and director (Lionheart), born in Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria
  • May 3 Monsta Mack [Steven Carrasquillo], American professional wrestler, born in Brooklyn, New York
  • May 4 Lance Bass, American pop singer (NSYNC - "Bye, Bye, Bye"), born in Laurel, Mississippi
  • May 4 Lesley Vainikolo, Tongan born rugby union and rugby league player, born in Nukuʻalofa, Tonga
  • May 4 Wes Butters, British broadcaster, born in Salford, England
  • May 5 Bodek Janke, Polish jazz drummers, percussionist, and tabla player, born in Warsaw Poland
  • May 5 Vincent Kartheiser, American actor (Mad Men), born in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • May 6 Nikki Hayes, Irish radio personality
  • May 7 Katie Douglas, American basketball player
  • May 9 Andrew W.K. [Wilkes-Krier], American rock singer, musician, songwriter ("Party Hard"), motivational speaker, and advice columnist, born in Stanford, California
  • May 9 Brandon Webb, American baseball player
  • May 9 Pierre Bouvier, Canadian singer and bass player (Simple Plan - "Perfect"; "Welcome To My Life"), born in Montreal, Quebec
  • May 9 Rosario Dawson, American actress
  • May 10 Lee Hyori, South Korean R&B and K-pop singer, born in Cheongwon, South Korea
  • May 11 Erin Lang, Canadian alternative rock musician (Feral & Stray; The Tail Lights), born in Montreal, Quebec
  • May 12 Andre Carter, American football player and coach, born in Denver, Colorado
  • May 12 Steve Smith, American football player, orn in Los Angeles, California
  • May 13 Carl Philip, Prince of Sweden, son of Carl XVI Gustaf, born in Stockholm Palace, Stockholm, Sweden
  • May 13 Michael Madden, American rock bassist (Maroon 5, 1994-2020), born in Austin, Texas
  • May 14 Carlos Tenorio, Ecuadorian soccer forward (50 caps; LDU Quito, Al-Sadd), born in Esmeraldas, Ecuador
  • May 14 Clinton Morrison, English-born Irish footballer
  • May 15 Adolfo "Bofo" Bautista, Mexican professional footballer, 1998-2016, born in Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico
  • May 16 Barbara Nedeljakova, Slovak horror movie actress (Hostel), born in Banská Bystrica, Czechoslovakia
  • May 16 Evan Ferrante, American actor (Owen-Swan's Crossing), born in Armonk, New York
  • May 17 Wayne Thomas, English footballer, born in Gloucester, England
  • May 18 (Jens} "Jeb" Bergensten, Swedish video game designer (Minecraft), born in Orebro, Sweden
  • May 18 Julián Speroni, Argentine footballer (Crystal Palace), born in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • May 18 Mariusz Lewandowski, Polish footballer (Shakhtar Donetsk), born in Legnica, Poland
  • May 18 Milivoje Novakovič, Slovenian footballer, born in Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • May 19 Andrea Pirlo, Italian footballer
  • May 19 Diego Forlán, Uruguayan footballer
  • May 21 Damián Ariel Álvarez, Argentinian Mexican footballer, born in Morón, Argentina
  • May 21 Fayçal Salhi, French-Algerian jazz guitarist and oud player, born in Khenchela, Algeria
  • May 21 Gaspard Augé, French electronic-rock musician (Justice), born in Besançon, France
  • May 21 James Clancy Phelan, Australian novelist, born in Melbourne, Australia
  • May 21 Jamie Hepburn, Scottish politician, Member of the Scottish Parliament, born in Glasgow, Scotland
  • May 21 Scott Smith, mixed martial arts fighter, born in Reno, Nevada
  • May 22 Maggie Q [Margaret Quigley], American actress (Mission Impossible III, Nikita), born in Honolulu, Hawaii
  • May 22 Nadia Khan, TV Presenter
  • May 23 Brian Campbell, Canadian ice hockey player
  • May 23 Josh Cooley, American animator, screenwriter (Inside Out), and Academy Award-winning director (Toy Story 4), born in Berkeley, California
  • May 23 Kirk Saarloos, American baseball player
  • May 24 Frank Mir, American UFC fighter and professional wrestler, born in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • May 24 Tracy McGrady, American Basketball Hall of Fame forward (NBA All-Star 2001–07; NBA scoring champion 2003, 04; Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets), born in Bartow, Florida
  • May 25 Carlos Bocanegra, American sports executive and footballer, born in Alta Loma, California
  • May 25 Caroline Ouellette, French Canadian ice hockey player, born in Montreal, Quebec
  • May 25 Jonny Wilkinson, English international and Newcastle Falcons rugby player, born in Frimley, England
  • May 25 Sam Sodje, Nigerian footballer, born in Greenwich, London
  • May 26 Ashley Massaro, American model and professional wrestler
  • May 26 Elisabeth Harnois, American actress (CSI), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • May 26 Mehmet Okur (Memo), Turkish basketball player
  • May 27 Mile Sterjovski, Australian footballer
  • May 28 Jesse Bradford, American actor
  • May 28 Joeri Jansen, Belgian athlete
  • May 28 Monica Keena, American actress
  • May 29 Arne Friedrich, German soccer defender, coach (Germany 82 caps, Hertha BSC), born in Bad Oeynhausen, Germany
  • May 29 Brian Kendrick, American pro wrestler (WWE cruiserweight tag team champion), born in Fairfax, Virginia
  • May 29 Casey Sheehan, American soldier; son of Cindy Sheehan (d. 2004)
  • May 30 Kugimiya Rie, Japanese seiyuu (voice actress)
  • May 30 Mike Bishai, Canadian ice hockey player
  • May 31 Vir Das, Indian comedian and actor, born in Dehradun, India

Famous Weddings

Edward W. Brooke

May 12 US Senator Edward W. Brooke (59) weds second wife Anne Lee Fleming

Eric Clapton

May 19 British guitarist Eric Clapton (34) marries model and George Harrison's ex-wife Pattie Boyd (35); divorce in 1989


Famous Deaths

  • May 1 Taisto Mäki, Finnish athlete (WR 2 miles, 5,000m and 10,000m simultaneously 1939-42), dies at 68
  • May 2 Giulio Natta, Italian chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1903)
  • May 3 Erin O'Brien-Moore, actress (Nurse Choate-Peyton Place), dies at 76
  • May 5 Shirley O'Hara, actress (Wild Party), dies at 68
  • May 8 Talcott Parsons, American sociologist, dies at 76

Cyrus Eaton

May 9 Cyrus Eaton, Canadian-American financier, industrialist and steel magnate, dies at 95

  • May 9 Lan Adomian, Russian-born American composer, dies at 73
  • May 10 John Cameron Andrieu Bingham Morton, satirist (Beachcomber), dies
  • May 10 Louis Paul Boon, Flemish writer (Eros & the Lonely Man), dies at 67
  • May 11 Joan Chandler, American actress, dies at 55
  • May 11 Lester Flatt, American bluegrass guitarist (Flatt & Scruggs - "Foggy Mountain Breakdown"; "Ballad of Jed Clampett"), dies at 64
  • May 14 Paul van 't Veeer, Dutch journalist/writer (Vrije Volk), dies at 57
  • May 15 Curtis Stevens, American bobsledder (Olympic gold 2-man 1932), dies at 80
  • May 16 A. Philip Randolph, American labor leader (Railroad Porter's Union) dies at 90
  • May 21 Blue [Richard Allen] Mitchell, American jazz musician (Riverside, Blue Note), dies of cancer at 79
  • May 23 Hubert van Doorne, auto manufacturer (DAF Trucks), dies at 79
  • May 24 Jan Arvan, actor (Red Skelton Show, Zorro), dies
  • May 25 John Arthur Spenkelink, American murderer (b. 1949)
  • May 26 George Brent, American actor (Baby Face, Dark Victory, 42nd St), dies at 75
  • May 28 William Edmonson, American bass harmony and gospel vocalist (Southernaires), radio, stage and screen actor (Thirty Years Later), dies at 76
  • May 29 John H. Wood, Jr., American federal judge (b. 1916)
  • May 30 Jack Raine, British actor (Quartet), dies at 82
  • May 31 Nigel Howard, English cricket batsman and captain (4 Tests; Lancashire, MCC), dies at 54