On This Day

May 1981 in Music History

Events in Music

  • May 3 "Can-Can" closes at Minskoff Theater NYC after 5 performances
  • May 6 "Inacent Black" opens at Biltmore Theater NYC for 14 performances

Music Premiere

May 11 Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Cats" (based on poetry by T. S. Eliot) directed by Trevor Nunn first premieres in the West End, London

Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber
Composer
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Poet, Author and Nobel Laureate T. S. Eliot
Poet, Author and Nobel Laureate
T. S. Eliot
  • May 12 "Lena Horne: Lady, Music" opens at Nederlander, NYC: runs for 333 performances

Music History

May 15 George Harrison releases "All Those Years Ago" in UK

Singer-Songwriter George Harrison
Singer-Songwriter
George Harrison

#1 in the Charts

May 16 "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes hits #1 for next 9 weeks

Actress Bette Davis
Actress
Bette Davis
  • May 17 "Inacent Black" closes at Biltmore Theater NYC after 14 performances

Music History

May 21 Reggae musician Bob Marley receives a Jamaican state funeral

Reggae Musician Bob Marley
Reggae Musician
Bob Marley

Birthdays in Music

  • May 1 Daniel Letterle, American actor (Camp), and singer, born on Northfield, Ohio
  • May 3 Farrah Franklin, American singer (former member of Destiny's Child), born in Los Angeles, California

Craig David

May 5 Craig David, English singer (7 Days, Insomnia), born in Southampton, Hampshire

Singer-songwriter Craig David
Singer-songwriter
Craig David
  • May 6 Matthew Leone, bassist of Madina Lake
  • May 6 Nathan Leone, lead singer of Madina Lake
  • May 6 Mark O'Connell, American drummer (Taking Back Sunday)
  • May 8 Björn Dixgård, Swedish rock guitarist and singer (Mando Daio), born in Falun, Sweden
  • May 12 Kentaro Sato, Japanese television, video game, classical, and choral composer (Requiem Pacis - Requiem of Peace), and conductor, born in Hamamatsu, Japan

Rami Malek

May 12 Rami Malek, American actor (Bohemian Rhapsody), born in Los Angeles, California

Actor Rami Malek
Actor
Rami Malek
  • May 14 Sarbel [Michael Maronitis], British-Cypriot pop singer ("Se Pira Sovara"), born in London, England
  • May 17 Shiri Maimon, Israeli singer
  • May 18 Vincent Houdijk, Dutch jazz vibraphonist and bandleader (VinnieVibes), born in The Netherlands
  • May 19 Nate Cole, American singer
  • May 20 Rachel Platten, American singer-songwriter (“Fight Song”), born in New York City
  • May 21 Maximilian [Max] Mutzke, German singer, born in Waldshut-Tiengen, Germany
  • May 23 Gwenno Saunders, Welsh dancer and singer (The Pipettes)
  • May 26 Eda-Ines Etti, Estonian singer
  • May 26 Irini Merkouri, Greek singer
  • May 26 Isaac Sladen, American vocalist, pianist, and songwriter (The Fray - "How To Save A Life"; "You Found Me"), born in Boulder, Colorado
  • May 27 Özgür Çevik, Turkish pop singer (Star Academy), and actor, born in Ankara, Turkey
  • May 28 Adam Green, American anti-folk singer-songwriter, born in Mount Kisco, New York
  • May 30 Devendra Banhart, Venezulan-American singer-songwriter (Cripple Crow), born in Houston, Texas

Deaths in Music

  • May 7 Mieczyslaw Kolinski, Polish-Canadian composer (Encounterpoint), educator, and ethno-musicologist, dies at 79

Bob Marley

May 11 Bob Marley, Jamaican reggae musician ("One Love"; "Three Little Birds"; "No Woman, No Cry"), dies of brain and lung cancer at 36

Reggae Musician Bob Marley
Reggae Musician
Bob Marley
  • May 13 Carl Weinrich, American organist and composer, dies at 76
  • May 16 Ernie Freeman, American musician (Raunchy), pianist and arranger, dies at 58
  • May 17 Hugo Friedhofer, American composer, dies at 80
  • May 25 Rosa Ponselle [Ponzillo], American soprano opera diva ("Casta Diva"; La Forza del Destino - "Leonora"; Metropolitan Opera, 1918-37), dies at 84
  • May 25 Roy Brown, American R&B singer, songwriter ("Good Rockin' Tonight"), dies of a heart attack at 55
  • May 28 Mary Lou Williams, American jazz pianist and composer (Zodiac Suite), dies at 71