On This Day

January 1981 in Music History

Events in Music

  • Jan 4 Musical "Peter Pan", starring Sandy Duncan, closes at Lunt-Fontanne Theater NYC after 578 performances
  • Jan 8 "Pirates of Penzance" opens at Uris Theater NYC for 772 performances

Pirate Attack

Jan 8 Linda Ronstadt opens in "The Pirates of Penzance" at the Uris Theater, NYC

  • Jan 11 "Tintypes" closes at John Golden Theater NYC after 93 performances

Music Single

Jan 16 John Lennon's single "Woman" is posthumously released in the UK

  • Jan 18 Punk singer Wendy O. Williams arrested in Milwaukee for on-stage obscenity (later cleared)
  • Jan 21 "Shakespeare's Cabaret" opens at Bijou Theater New York City for 54 performances
  • Jan 28 "5 O'Clock Girl" opens at Helen Hayes Theater NYC for 12 performances
  • Jan 31 "The Tide Is High" by Blondie hits #1

Birthdays in Music

  • Jan 6 Mike Jones, American rapper, born in Houston, Texas
  • Jan 10 Brian Joo, Korean-American K-pop and R&B singer ("Fly to the Sky"), born in Absecon, New Jersey
  • Jan 11 Jamelia Niela Davis, English singer, born in Birmingham, England
  • Jan 11 Tom Meighan, British singer (Kasabian), born in Leicester, United Kingdom
  • Jan 13 Jason James, Welsh heavy metal bassist (Bullet for My Valentine, 2003-15)
  • Jan 14 Rosa López, Spanish pop singer, born in Láchar, Spain
  • Jan 15 Pitbull [Armando Christian Perez], American rapper, born in Miami, Florida
  • Jan 15 Howie Day, American singer, born in Bangor, Maine
  • Jan 16 Nick Valensi, American rock guitarist (The Strokes), born in New York City
  • Jan 17 Ray J [William Ray Norwood Jr.], American singer and actor (Everything You Want), born in McComb, Mississippi
  • Jan 21 Gillian Chung Yan-tung, Hong Kong singer (Twins)
  • Jan 21 Andy Lee, Korean singer (Shinhwa)
  • Jan 22 Willa Ford [Amanda Lee Williford], American pop singer, and actress, born in Ruskin, Florida
  • Jan 25 Toše Proeski, Macedonian pop-rock singer, born in Prilep, Macedonia (d. 2007)

Alicia Keys

Jan 25 Alicia Keys [Cook], American pop and R&B singer-songwriter, and pianist ("Girl On Fire"; 'No One"), born in NYC, New York

  • Jan 26 Gustavo Dudamel, Venezuelan Spanish conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic), born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela
  • Jan 29 Jonny Lang, American blues musician, born in Fargo, North Dakota
  • Jan 29 Álex Ubago, Spanish-Basque pop-rock singer-songwriter and guitarist (¿Qué pides tú?), born in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Álava, Spain
  • Jan 30 Josh Kelley, American musician, born in Augusta, Georgia

Justin Timberlake

Jan 31 Justin Timberlake, American singer-songwriter ("Can't Stop The Feeling!"; "Sexyback"), and actor (Friends With Benefits) born in Memphis, Tennessee


Weddings in Music

Davy Jones

Jan 24 Singer Davy Jones (35) weds Anita Pollinger

Divorces in Music

James Brown

Jan 10 Singer James Brown (47) divorces Deidre Jenkins after 10 years of marriage

Deaths in Music

  • Jan 1 Hephzibah Menuhin, American-Australian concert pianist, dies at 60
  • Jan 2 David Lynch, American singer (Platters-My Prayer), dies at 51
  • Jan 4 Ruth Lowe, Canadian pianist and composer (I'll Never Smile Again), dies at 66
  • Jan 5 Guy Paquinet, French jazz trombonist, and bandleader, dies at 77
  • Jan 7 Jose Ardevol, Cuban composer, dies at 69
  • Jan 9 Kazimierz Serocki, Polish composer and co-founder of the Warsaw Autumn Festival, dies at 58
  • Jan 23 Bobby Sherwood, American orchestra leader (Milton Berle Show), dies at 66

Samuel Barber

Jan 23 Samuel Barber, American composer (School for Scandal), dies of cancer at 70

  • Jan 29 (William Randolph) "Cozy" Cole, American jazz drummer ("Topsy I"; "Topsy II"), and educator, dies of cancer at 71