February 1981 in Music History

Events in Music

Music Premiere

Feb 1 Duke Ellington's musical "Sophisticated Ladies," premieres in NYC

  • Feb 5 "Piaf" opens at Plymouth Theater NYC for 165 performances

Hall of Fame

Feb 5 Joni Mitchell inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame

Music History

Feb 6 Beatles George Harrison & Paul McCartney record vocals to a Ringo Starr track written by George, and re-worked as a tribute to John Lennon - "All Those Years Ago"

  • Feb 8 "5 O'Clock Girl" closes at Helen Hayes Theater NYC after 12 performances

Musical Finale

Feb 8 Revival of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's musical "Brigadoon" closes at Majestic Theater, NYC, after 133 performances

Music History

Feb 19 George Harrison is ordered to pay ABKCO Music $587,000 for "subconscious plagiarism" of his song "My Sweet Lord" from Ronnie Mack's song "He's So Fine"

  • Feb 23 People magazine features drug ordeal of Mackenzie & Papa John Phillips

Grammy Awards

Feb 25 23rd Grammy Awards: "Sailing" - Christopher Cross; and Billy Joel win

Seven Year Ache

Feb 28 Columbia Records releases "Seven Year Ache", the third studio album by Rosanne Cash; it is her commercial break-through and goes to #1 on the country music chart

Birthdays in Music

  • Feb 3 Alisa Reyes, American actress and singer
  • Feb 6 Jens Lekman, Swedish musician, born in Angered, Sweden
  • Feb 8 Myriam [Montemayor Cruz], Mexican Latin-pop singer, born in Monterrey, Mexico
  • Feb 9 Carmen Staaf, American jazz pianist, composer, and accordion player, born in Seattle, Washington
  • Feb 9 Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, American drummer and songwriter (Avenged Sevenfold), born in Huntington Beach, California (d. 2009)
  • Feb 10 Natasha St-Pier, Canadian pop singer, born in Bathurst, New Brunswick
  • Feb 10 The Rev [James Owen Sullivan], American musician (Avenged Sevenfold), born in Huntington Beach, California
  • Feb 11 (Kelendria) "Kelly" Rowland, American pop and R&B singer (Destiny's Child - "Say My Name"), and television personality (The X Factor; The Voice Australia), born in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Feb 15 Matt Hoopes, American rock guitarist (Relient K), born in Canton, Ohio
  • Feb 15 Olivia Longott, American hip-hop and R&B singer (G-Unit), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Feb 18 Kamasi Washington, American jazz tenor saxophonist, born in Los Angeles, California
  • Feb 19 (Mary) Beth Ditto [Patterson], American rock singer (The Gossip), and actress, born in Judsonia, Arkansas,
  • Feb 19 Vitas [Vitaly Grachev], Russian operatic-pop singer (Opera #2), born in Daugavpils, Latvian SSR (now Latvia)
  • Feb 20 Chris Thile, American folk and progressive bluegrass mandolin player, songwriter (Nickel Creek; Punch Brothers), and broadcaster (Live From Here), born in Oceanside, California

Josh GrobanJosh Groban (42 years old)

Feb 27 American singer ("You Raise Me Up"), born in Los Angeles, California

Deaths in Music

  • Feb 1 Ernst Pepping, German composer, dies at 79
  • Feb 1 Nils Geirr Tveitt, Norwegian composer, dies at 72
  • Feb 6 Hugo Montenegro, American composer, arranger, and orchestra leader, dies of emphysema at 55

Bill HaleyBill Haley (1925-1981)

Feb 9 American rock vocalist known as the father of Rock 'n' Roll (Rock Around the Clock), dies of a heart attack probably caused by alcoholism at 55

  • Feb 15 Karl Richter, German composer and conductor, dies at 54
  • Feb 15 Mike Bloomfield, American musician (Electric Flag), dies of a drug overdose at 37
  • Feb 15 Thomas Beversdorf, American classical composer ("Of Walruses, Cheesecake, and Morse Code"), and educator (Indiana University, 1949-80), dies of asthma complications at 56
  • Feb 19 Frank Merrick, English composer, dies at 94

Howard HansonHoward Hanson (1896-1981)

Feb 26 American classical music composer and conductor (Nordic), dies at 84