On This Day

Events in Music in 1979

Murder of Interest

Jan 2 Sid Vicious' trial for murder of girlfriend Nancy Spungen begins

  • Jan 6 The Village People's Y.M.C.A becomes their only UK #1 single. At its peak it sold over 150,000 copies a day.
  • Jan 11 "Grand Tour" opens at Palace Theater NYC for 61 performances
  • Jan 26 Music Center Vredenburg opens in Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Jan 28 Charlie Smalls' musical "The Wiz", an updated take on "The Wizard of Oz", starring Stephanie Mills, Stu Gilliam, and Dee Dee Bridgewater, closes at Majestic Theater in NYC, after 1,672 performances, 7 Tony and 6 Drama Desk Awards
  • Feb 3 "YMCA" by Village People peaks at #2 on pop singles chart
  • Feb 9 ABC airs "Heroes of Rock N Roll" special, featuring archival performances of 62 artists

#1 in the Charts

Feb 10 "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" by Rod Stewart peaks at #1

Theater Premiere

Feb 11 Marvin Hamlisch, Carole Bayer Sager, and Neil Simon's musical "They're Playing Our Song", starring Robert Klein and Lucie Arnaz opens at Imperial Theatre, NYC; runs for 1082 performances

  • Feb 14 "Whoopee!" opens at ANTA Theater NYC for 204 performances

Grammy Awards

Feb 15 21st Grammy Awards: Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are"; A Taste of Honey win

  • Feb 15 Temple City Kazoo Orchestra appears on Mike Douglas Show

Music Single

Feb 16 George Harrison releases single "Blow Away"

  • Feb 23 "Sarava" opens at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC for 140 performances
  • Feb 23 George Harrison releases "George Harrison" album, featuring the single "Blow Away"
  • Mar 1 "Sweeney Todd" opens at Uris Theater NYC for 557 performances
  • Mar 4 "Grand Tour" closes at Palace Theater NYC after 61 performances

Music History

Mar 16 CBS-TV airs "Wings Over the World" with Paul McCartney

  • Mar 18 "On the 20th Century" closes at St James Theater NYC after 460 performances
  • Mar 23 Wings release "Goodnight Tonight"
  • Mar 24 "Ballroom" closes at Majestic Theater NYC after 116 performances
  • Mar 28 Frank Lazarus & Dick Vosburgh's stage musical comedy "A Day in Hollywood/A Night in Ukraine" premieres at the Mayfair Theatre, London, England
  • Mar 31 24th Eurovision Song Contest: Gali Atari and Milk and Honey for Israel wins singing "Hallelujah" in Jerusalem
  • Apr 8 "Carmelina" opens at St James Theater NYC for 17 performances
  • Apr 21 "Carmelina" closes at St James Theater NYC after 17 performances

Music Concert

Apr 22 The Rolling Stones play two benefit concerts for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, in Oshawa, Ontario; performance part of guitarist Keith Richards’ sentence for heroin conviction on heroin charges

Music History

Apr 24 US State of Georgia designates Ray Charles' rendition of "Georgia On My Mind" (written by Hoagy Carmichael) as official state song

Music History

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

Album Release

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

  • May 14 "Kids Are All Right" rockumentary film featuring The Who premieres at the Cannes Film Festival
  • May 19 "In The Navy" by Village People hits #3
  • 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
  • May 23 American rock singer-songwriter Tom Petty files for chapter 11 bankruptcy

Music History

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

  • May 31 "I Remember Mama" opens at Majestic Theater NYC for 108 performances
  • May 31 Radio City Music Hall (NYC) reopens
  • Jun 1 Wings release "Old Siam, Sir"
  • Jun 3 33rd Tony Awards: "Elephant Man" and "Sweeny Todd" win

Music History

Jun 7 Rock 'n' Roll singer-songwriter and guitar legend Chuck Berry is charged with tax evasion

  • Jun 8 Wings release "Back to the Egg" album
  • Jun 11 Chuck Berry pleads guilty to income tax evasion, sentenced to 4 months
  • Jun 13 Phyllis Newman's semi-autobiographical one-woman musical comedy "The Madwoman of Central Park West" opens at the 22 Steps Theater, NYC; runs for 85 performances on Broadway
  • Jun 13 "Madwoman of Central Park West" opens at 22 Steps NYC for 86 performances

Album Release

Jun 13 Asylum Records releases "Mingus", Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell's 10th studio album

  • Jun 14 Rock group "Little Feat" disbands
  • Jun 16 Single "Logical Song" by Supertramp peaks at #6
  • Jun 17 "Sarava" closes at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC after 140 performances

Glastonbury Festival

Jun 21 Glastonbury Festival in Pilton, England opens: Tim Blake and Peter Gabriel headline; other performs include: Steve Hillage, The Alex Harvey Band, and Sky

Music History

Jun 22 Little Richard quits rock & roll for religious pursuit

  • Jun 23 "My Sharona" single released by The Knack
  • Jun 25 "Got Tu Go Disco" opens at Minskoff Theater NYC for 8 performances
  • Jun 26 Rocker Nigel Olsson runs a stop sign, accidentally crashes & kills a driver
  • Jun 30 "Got To Go Disco" closes at Minskoff Theater NYC after 8 performances

TV Show Appearance

Jun 30 British punk rocker johnny rotten and British actress Joan Collins appear together on BBC TV's "Juke Box Jury"

  • Jun 30 "Good Times" single released by Chic (Billboard Song of the Year 1979)
  • Jul 10 Chuck Berry sentenced to 4 months for $200,000 in tax evasion
  • Jul 13 George Harrison releases single "Faster"
  • Jul 27 "Broadway Opry '79" opens at St James Theater NYC for 6 performances
  • Jul 31 "But Never Jam Today" opens at Longacre Theater NYC for 7 performances
  • Aug 2 "Broadway Opry '79" closes at St James Theater NYC after 6 performances
  • Aug 2 "Gilda Radner: Live From New York" opens at Winter Garden Theater, NYC; runs for 52 performances
  • Aug 5 "But Never Jam Today" closes at Longacre Theater, NYC, after 7 performances
  • Aug 10 Wings release single "Getting Closer" & "Baby's Request"

Album Release

Aug 10 "Off the Wall" 5th studio album by Michael Jackson is released (Billboard Album of the Year 1980)

  • Aug 12 "Whoopee!" closes at ANTA Theater NYC after 204 performances
  • Aug 19 "My Sharonna" by the Knack hits #1, stays at top for 6 weeks
  • Aug 20 American singer Vikki Carr (39) weds businessman Michael Nilsson
  • Aug 21 Russian Bolshoi Ballet dancer Alexander Godunov defects in NYC; joins the American Ballet Theatre, and works as a film actor

Film Release

Aug 24 Musical film "Rock 'n' Roll High School" directed by Allan Arkush featuring the Ramones is released in NYC (released throughout the US 20 days later)

  • Aug 24 Rock band "The Cars" play concert at the Wollman Rink in NYC's Central Park
  • Aug 25 "Madwoman of Central Park West" closes at 22 Steps NYC after 86 performances

Music History

Sep 1 U2 releases 1st record, an EP titled 'U2-3', available only in Ireland

  • Sep 2 "I Remember Mama" closes at Majestic Theater NYC after 108 performances
  • Sep 6 Musical "Peter Pan", starring Sandy Duncan, opens at Lunt-Fontanne Theater NYC for 578 performances
  • Sep 7 5 day MUSE concert against nuclear energy opens at Madison Square Garden, New York
  • Sep 14 The film "Quadrophenia", loosely based on The Who's 1973 rock opera of the same name, is released.
  • Sep 18 Bolshoi Ballet dancers Leonid & Valentina Kozlov defect
  • Sep 18 The Who opens NYC concerts at Madison Square Garden

Music Concert

Sep 19 No Nukes Concert at Madison Square Garden includes Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band; Bonnie Raitt; Crosby, Stills & Nash: Jackson Browne; and The Doobie Brothers

  • Sep 25 "Evita" opens at Broadway Theater NYC for 1568 performances
  • Sep 27 Elton John, sick with flu, collapses in the Hollywood Universal Amphitheater
  • Sep 29 "Ain't That A Shame" by Cheap Trick peaks at #35
  • Sep 29 "Bad Case Of Loving You" by Robert Palmer peaks at #14
  • Sep 29 "Boom Boom (Out Go Lights)" by Pat Travers peaks at #56
  • Sep 29 "Born To Be Alive" by Patrick Hernandez peaks at #16
  • Sep 29 "Cruel To Be Kind" by Nick Lowe peaks at #12

Music History

Sep 29 "Different Worlds" by Maureen McGovern peaks at #18

  • Sep 29 "Driver's Seat" by Sniff 'n' the Tears peaks at #15
  • Sep 29 "Girls Talk" by Dave Edmunds peaks at #65
  • Sep 29 "Lonesome Loser" by Little River Band peaks at #6
  • Sep 29 "Message In A Bottle" by Police peaks at #1 in UK
  • Sep 29 "What Cha Gonna Do With My Lovin'" by Stephanie Mills peaks at #22
  • Oct 7 "1940s Radio Hour" opens at St James Theater NYC for 105 performances
  • Oct 7 Musical review "Eubie!", based on the songs of composer Eubie Blake, closes at Ambassador Theater, NYC, after 439 performances
  • Oct 8 Jimmy McHugh, Dorothy Fields and Al Dubin's musical "Sugar Babies" opens at Mark Hellinger Theater, NYC; runs for 1208 performances
  • Oct 10 Rock band Fleetwood Mac gets a star in Hollywood
  • Oct 11 "Most Happy Fella" opens at Majestic Theater NYC for 53 performances
  • Oct 17 "Beatlemania" closes at Winter Garden Theater NYC after 920 performances
  • Oct 18 "Beatlemania" opens in London

Music History

Oct 20 Bob Dylan appears on "Saturday Night Live"

  • Oct 24 Guinness Book of Records presents Paul McCartney with a rhodium disc as all-time best selling singer-songwriter

Film Release

Oct 30 Tamla/Motown releases Stevie Wonder's documentary film soundtrack "Journey Through The Secret Life of Plants"

Music Premiere

Nov 2 Peter Shaffer's musical "Amadeus" premieres in London

  • Nov 16 Paul McCartney releases "Wonderful Christmas"
  • Nov 19 Chuck Berry released from prison for income tax evasion conviction
  • Nov 25 "Most Happy Fella" closes at Majestic Theater NYC after 53 performances
  • Nov 28 "King of Schnorrers" opens at Playhouse Theater NYC for 63 performances

Music History

Nov 30 Pink Floyd's "The Wall" released, sells 6 million copies in 2 weeks

  • Dec 3 11 members of the audience trampled to death during a stampede to claim unreserved seats for a concert by The Who at The Riverfront Coliseum, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Dec 13 Revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical "Oklahoma!" opens at Palace Theater, NYC,;runs for 301 performances
  • Dec 20 Garry Sherman and Peter Udell's musical "Comin' Uptown", based on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", and starring Gregory Hines, opens at Winter Garden Theater, NYC; runs for 45 performances

Album Release

Dec 27 Sire Records releases "Pretenders", the debut album of The Pretenders, in US

  • Dec 30 Rock group, Emerson, Lake & Palmer break up
  • Dec 31 Winterland Rock Concert Hall in San Francisco closes after 556 concerts