Events in Music in 1980

  • Jan 6 "1940's Radio Hour" closes at St James Theater NYC after 105 performances


Jan 7 Real Records releases "Pretenders", the debut album of The Pretenders, in UK

  • Jan 13 Judd Woldin's musical "King of Schnorrers", based on Israel Zangwill's novel, closes at Playhouse Theater, NYC, after 63 performances

Music History

Jan 16 Paul McCartney is arrested at Tokyo International Airport for possession of marijuana; he is sent to jail for nine days before being deported

Music Premiere

Jan 17 Roger Sessions' 9th Symphony, his last, premieres in Syracuse, New York with Christopher Keene conducting the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra

Music History

Jan 26 175,000 pay to hear Frank Sinatra sing in Rio de Janeiro

  • Jan 27 "Comin' Uptown" closes at Winter Garden Theater NYC after 45 performances
  • Feb 1 "Call Me" single released by Blondie (Billboard Song of the Year 1980)

Music Concert

Feb 7 Pink Floyd premiere their live version of "The Wall" at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California

  • Feb 12 "Canterbury Tales" opens at Rialto Theater NYC for 16 performances
  • Feb 18 Billy Wyman said he will leave Rolling Stones in 1983 (Sure!)
  • Feb 24 "Canterbury Tales" closes at Rialto Theater NYC after 16 performances

Music History

Feb 24 Revival of Brian Clark's stage drama "Whose Life is it Anyway?" starring Mary Tyler Moore and James Naughton, and directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, opens at the Royale Theatre, NYC; runs for 96 performances

Grammy Awards

Feb 27 22nd Grammy Awards: Song of the Year - Kenny Loggins' "What A Fool Believes"; Best Album - Billy Joel's "52nd Street"

  • Feb 28 "The Well-Tuned Piano" by La Monte Young premieres (takes 4 h 12 m)
  • Mar 1 American poet-singer Patti Smith (32) weds MC5 guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith (31) in Detroit, Michigan
  • Mar 8 The first festival of rock music kicks off in the Soviet Union
  • Mar 12 Columbia Records releases "Glass Houses", singer-songwriter Billy Joel's seventh studio album; it features his 1st No.1 single - "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me"
  • Mar 24 Capitol Records releases some rare Beatles tracks on the LP "Rarites"
  • Mar 26 Bombay gets its 1st rock concert in 10 years (The Police)
  • Mar 27 "Happy New Year" opens at Morosco Theater NYC for 17 performances
  • Mar 27 "Reggae" opens at Biltmore Theater NYC for 21 performances
  • Apr 11 Paul McCartney releases single "Coming Up"
  • Apr 13 Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey's musical "Grease" closes at Majestic Theatre, NYC, after 3,388 performances (including Broadhurst and Royale Theatre runs)
  • Apr 13 Musical "Reggae", starring Philip Michael Thomas, closes at Biltmore Theater, NYC, after 21 performances
  • Apr 19 25th Eurovision Song Contest: Johnny Logan for Ireland wins singing "What's Another Year" in The Hague
  • Apr 30 "Barnum" opens at St James Theater NYC for 854 performances
  • May 1 "Day in Hollywood, A Night..." opens at John Golden NYC for 588 performances

Academy of Country Music Awards

May 1 15th Academy of Country Music Awards: Larry Gatlin and Crystal Gayle win

  • May 2 Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in Wall (Part II)" is banned in South Africa
  • May 10 "Happy New Year" closes at Morosco Theater NYC after 17 performances
  • May 14 "Musical Chairs" opens at Rialto Theater NYC for 15 performances

Music History

May 16 Brian May of rock band Queen collapses on stage with hepatitis

Music History

May 17 Paul & Linda McCartney appear in remote segment from England, after being awakened by Father Guido Sarducci, on "Saturday Night Live"

  • May 19 "Blackstone" opens at Majestic Theater NYC for 104 performances
  • May 20 Drummer Peter Criss quits rock band Kiss

Music History

May 21 "Star Wars Episode V - Empire Strikes Back", produced by George Lucas opens in cinemas in UK and North America

Cannes Film Festival

May 23 33rd Cannes Film Festival: "All That Jazz" directed by Bob Fosse and "Kagemusha" directed by Akira Kurosawa jointly awarded the Palme d'Or

  • May 24 "Rock Lobster" by B-52s hits #56
  • May 25 "Musical Chairs" closes at Rialto Theater NYC after 15 performances
  • May 29 John MacLachlan Gray's musical "Billy Bishop Goes to War" opens at Morosco Theater, NYC; runs for 12 performances, then moves to Off-Broadway
  • May 31 "Love Stinks" by J. Geils Band peaks at #38

Music Concert

Jun 1 Barbra Streisand appears at an ACLU Benefit in California

  • Jun 2 "Your Arm's Too Short To Box With God" opens at Ambassador NYC for 149 performances
  • Jun 3 Micki Grant's musical "It's So Nice to Be Civilized" opens at Martin Beck Theater, NYC; runs for 8 performances
  • Jun 7 "Billy Bishop Goes to War" closes at Morosco NYC after 12 performances
  • Jun 7 "Cars" by Gary Numan hits #9
  • Jun 8 34th Tony Awards: "Children of a Lesser God" (play) & "Evita" (musical) win
  • Jun 8 Micki Grant's musical "It's So Nice to Be Civilized" closes at Martin Beck Theatre, NYC, after 8 performances

Music City News Awards

Jun 9 14th Music City News Country Awards: Statler Brothers & Loretta Lynn win


Jun 13 Deborah Harry and Meat Loaf film "Roadie" premieres

  • Jun 13 Paul McCartney releases "Waterfall"
  • Jun 14 "Theme From New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra spreads to #32 on the charts
  • Jun 15 "Fearless Frank" opens at Princess Theater NYC for 12 performances

The Blues Brothers

Jun 16 Musical comedy film "The Blues Brothers", starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, and directed by John Landis, premieres in Chicago, Illinois

The River

Jun 17 Columbia Records releases Bruce Springsteen's fifth studio album "The River"; the 2-record set becomes a global smash, going top five in 8 countries

  • Jun 20 Musical comedy film "The Blues Brothers", starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, and featuring appearances by Aretha Franklin; Cab Calloway; and Ray Charles opens in 594 theaters
  • Jun 25 "Fearless Frank" closes at Princess Theater NYC after 12 performances
  • Jun 29 "Sweeney Todd" closes at Uris Theater NYC after 557 performances
  • Jul 1 'O Canada' officially becomes the national anthem of Canada
  • Jul 2 Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir, drummer Mickey Hart, and manager Danny Rifkin arrested for "suspicion of inciting a riot" after a concert in San Diego, California
  • Jul 18 Billy Joel's "Glass Houses" album tops US charts, featuring "It's Still Rock 'n' Roll to Me"

Music History

Jul 29 David Bowie stars in dramatic stage play "The Elephant Man" at the Auditorium Theater in Denver, Colorado

  • Jul 31 John Phillips of Mamas and Papas is arrested on drug charges

Double Fantasy

Aug 7 John Lennon and Yoko Ono begin recording sessions for their "Double Fantasy" album at the Hit Factory, NYC

One-Trick Pony

Aug 12 Warner Bros, Records releases "One-Trick Pony", the fifth solo studio album by American singer-songwriter Paul Simon; it features the song "Late in the Evening" and was accompanied by a dramatic film of the same name, written by and starring Simon

  • Aug 16 British rock keyboardist Jools Holland quits band Squeeze to pursue a solo career
  • Aug 17 "Blackstone" closes at Majestic Theater NYC after 104 performances
  • Aug 21 British drummer and band co-sounder Bill Ward quits Black Sabbath for the first time
  • Aug 24 Revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical "Oklahoma!" closes at Palace Theater, NYC, after 293 performances

42nd Street

Aug 25 Stage adaptation of Harry Warren and Al Dubin's film musical "42nd Street", directed and choreographed by Gower Champion, with additional songs by Warren and Johnny Mercer, opens at Winter Garden Theater, NYC; runs for 3486 performances and 2 Tony Award wins

  • Aug 26 Pete Comita replaces Tom Peterson as bassist of American rock band Cheap Trick
  • Sep 4 Progressive rock group Yes performs its last concert at Madison Square Garden, NYC


Sep 5 Philip Glass and Constance DeJong's opera "Satyagraha", loosely based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi, premieres the Schouwburg, in Rotterdam, Netherlands

  • Sep 14 "Charlie & Algernon" opens at Helen Hayes Theater NYC for 17 performances
  • Sep 15 Paul McCartney releases single "Temporary Secretary"

Divine Madness

Sep 17 Bette Midler's concert film "Divine Madness", directed by Michael Ritchie, premieres

  • Sep 18 'Les Miserables' opens at Palais des Sports, Paris

Blizzard of Ozz

Sep 20 "Blizzard of Ozz", the debut solo album by English rock musician Ozzy Osbourne, is released in the United Kingdom

Music History

Sep 21 Reggae singer Bob Marley collapses while jogging in New York City's Central Park; medical exam finds his cancer had spread to his brain, lungs, and liver

  • Sep 22 John Lennon and Yoko Ono sign a recording contract with Geffen Records
  • Sep 23 Reggae legend Bob Marley's final concert at Stanley Theatre in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Sep 28 "Charlie & Algernon" closes at Helen Hayes Theater NYC after 17 performances

Music History

Oct 6 John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols) sentenced to 3 months imprisonment on assault charges

  • Oct 12 "Your Arm's Too Short to Box With God" closes at Ambassador Theater, NYC, after 149 performances
  • Oct 12 7 stabbed at Blood, Sweat & Tears concert in Los Angeles


Oct 16 Revival of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's musical "Brigadoon" opens at Majestic Theater, NYC; runs for 133 performances

The Wanderer

Oct 20 Geffen Records release their first album, Donna Summer's "The Wanderer"

  • Oct 21 "Banjo Dancing" opens at Century Theater NYC for 38 performances
  • Oct 23 "Tintypes" opens at John Golden Theater NYC for 93 performances
  • Oct 24 John Lennon releases single "(Just Like) Starting Over" in UK
  • Oct 25 Barbra Streisand's "Guilty" album goes #1 for 3 weeks & her single "Woman In Love," goes #1 for 3 weeks

Double Fantasy

Nov 17 Geffen Records releases John Lennon and Yoko Ono's album "Double Fantasy"

9 to 5 and Odd Jobs

Nov 17 RCA-Victor Records releases "9 to 5 and Odd Jobs", the 23rd studio album by country singer-songwriter Dolly Parton

Heaven's Gate

Nov 18 "Heaven's Gate" film directed by Michael Cimino, starring Kris Kristofferson and Christopher Walken premieres - one of the biggest box office bombs ever

  • Nov 21 John Lennon and Yoko Ono pose nude for photographer Allan Tannenbaum
  • Nov 30 "Banjo Dancing" closes at Century Theater NYC after 38 performances

Perfectly Frank

Nov 30 Musical revue "Perfectly Frank", featuring songs by Frank Loesser, opens at Helen Hayes Theater, NYC; runs for 16 performances

  • Nov 30 Revival of Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Jerome Robbins' musical "West Side Story" closes at Minskoff Theater, NYC, after 341 performances

Music History

Dec 4 Two months after death of drummer John Bonham, Led Zeppelin announces they will disband

  • Dec 8 Annie Leibovitz has a photo-shoot with John Lennon, the last person to professionally photograph him before he is murdered on the same day
  • Dec 13 Musical revue "Perfectly Frank", featuring songs by Frank Loesser, closes at Helen Hayes Theater, NYC, after 16 performances
  • Dec 14 At 2 PM EST there is 10 minutes of silence in memory of John Lennon
  • Dec 19 Comedy film "9 to 5" starring Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin is released
  • Dec 31 Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band's "The River Tour" concert at Nassau Coliseum (Uniondale, New York) clocks in at almost 4 hours