On This Day

Historical Events in May 1979

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 MLB Cleveland Indian Bobby Bonds hits his 300th HR (2nd to have 300 HRs & 300 stolen bases)
  • May 3 Martin Sherman's "Bent" premieres in London
  • May 3 1979 NFL Draft: Tom Cousineau from Ohio State first pick by Buffalo Bills

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 passes 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

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)

Film & TV History

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

  • 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

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

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

  • May 25 American Airlines DC-10 crashes on takeoff from Chicago killing 273 including 2 on the ground
  • 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

Film Release

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

Music History

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

Historic Event

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

  • 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
  • May 28 European Market accepts Greece as member

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 29 Bishop Abel Muzorewa is sworn in as Zimbabwe's 1st black Prime Minister
  • May 29 Radio's 1st rock network "Source" premieres
  • 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 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 30 23rd European Cup: Nottingham Forest beats Malmo FF 1-0 at Munich
  • May 31 "I Remember Mama" opens at Majestic Theater NYC for 108 performances
  • May 31 Radio City Music Hall (NYC) reopens