1981 in music


1981 in music

See also:
*
*
* list of 'years in music'

* where is "albums released?"

Events

* January 10 - Revival of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta "The Pirates of Penzance" opens at Broadway's Uris Theatre, starring Linda Ronstadt and Rex Smith
* February 14 - Billy Idol leaves the band Generation X to begin a solo career
* February 15 - Blues guitarist Mike Bloomfield is found dead in San Francisco. The cause of death was ruled an accidental drug overdose
* March 14 - Suffering from bleeding ulcers, Eric Clapton is admitted to United Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. Clapton's 60 city tour of the US is canceled.
* April 4 - British pop group Bucks Fizz win the Eurovision Song Contest with "Making Your Mind Up"
* April 7 - Former Who manager Kit Lambert dies after falling down a flight of stairs in his mother's home in London. Lambert managed the band between 1964 and 1967.
* April 11 - Van Halen's lead guitarist Eddie Van Halen marries actress Valerie Bertinelli.
* April 17 - Eric Clapton is released from St. Paul's Hospital in Minnesota following a month-long treatment for bleeding ulcers.
* April 18 - Yes announces that they're breaking up. (They would however reunite frequently in years to come).
* April 20 - The Mamas and the Papas' John Phillips is sentenced to five years in jail after pleading guilty to drug possession charges. Phillips' sentence would be suspended after thirty days in exchange for 250 hours of community service.
* April 22 - Eric Clapton is taken to the hospital suffering from bruised ribs and a lacerated shin, following a car accident in Seattle, Washington.
* April 25 - Paul McCartney's backing band, Wings, breaks up
* May 2 - Working as a local wedding singer 12 months previously, British vocalist Sheena Easton hits NO.1 in the US with "Morning Train (9 to 5)"
* May 11 - The musical "Cats" begins its 8949 performance run on London's West End.
* May 20 - Alice Cooper's daughter, Calico Cooper, is born.
* August 1 - MTV debuts on cable television in the United States, playing music videos 24 hours a day.
* August, UK - the success of Stars On 45 leads to a short-lived medley craze. The most successful imitator of the Stars On 45 format is, rather unexpectedly, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra whose "Hooked On Classics (Parts 1&2)" reaches number two in the charts.
* August 23 - The Violent Femmes are discovered by members of The Pretenders busking outside the Milwaukee venue where The Pretenders will be playing, and invited to play a 10-minute acoustic set as a second opening act that night.
* September 19 - Simon and Garfunkel perform a free reunion concert in New York City's Central Park attended by over 500,000 fans.
* September 25 - The Rolling Stones open their US tour in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
* November 18 - While sitting in Tom's Restaurant in New York City, Suzanne Vega composes the song "Tom's Diner".
*The organ at the famous Heinävesi Church in Finland is renewed, using locks from the original organ.
* Alice Cooper drastically changes his appearance, leaving behind his trademark make-up and donning a Military uniform.
* Synth pop enjoys mainstream popularity in the UK, with groups such as Ultravox, Depeche Mode, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark and Human League releasing hit singles and albums.
* Menudo's golden era (1981-1985) begins in Latin America, parts of Europe and Asia.
* Brad Whitford leaves Aerosmith and is replaced by Rick Dufay
* U2 appears on the "Tomorrow" show with Tom Snyder, their first U.S. television appearance
* Phil Collins releases his first solo album (although he won't leave the band Genesis until 1995)
* Hal Willner "invents" the modern tribute album with "Amacord Nino Rota"

Bands formed

* Agitpop
* Bananarama
* Barão Vermelho
* Bucks Fizz
* Fun Boy Three
* Great White
* Hunters & Collectors
* Metallica
* Mötley Crüe
* Pantera
* Slayer
* Sonic Youth
* Titãs
* Wham!
* Pet Shop Boys

Bands disbanded

* The Buzzcocks (they reform in 1989)
* Cluster (they reform in 1989)
* Josef K
* Generation X
* Good Rats
* Ian Dury and the Blockheads
* Toots & The Maytals (they reform in the early 90s)
* Klaatu
* Rockpile
* The Slits
* Wings
* MFSB
* Raydio
* Taveners
* Throbbing Gristle
* City Boy
* Luv' (they reform in 1989, 1993 and 2005)
* Steely Dan (They reform in 1993)

Biggest hit singles

The following songs achieved the highest [http://tsort.info/music/yr1981.htm chart positions] in the charts of 1981.

Chronological table of US and UK Number One hit singles

US Number One singles and artist
(Weeks at Number One)
UK Number One singles and artist
(Weeks at Number One)

" (Just Like) Starting Over " - John Lennon (4 weeks)
" The Tide Is High " - Blondie (1)
" Celebration " - Kool & The Gang (2)
" 9 To 5 " - Dolly Parton (2)
" I Love A Rainy Night " - Eddie Rabbitt (2)
" Keep On Loving You " REO Speedwagon (1)
" Rapture " - Blondie (2)
" Kiss On My List " - Daryl Hall & John Oates (3)
" Morning Train (9 To 5) " - Sheena Easton (2)
" Bette Davis Eyes " - Kim Carnes (9)
" Stars on 45 Medley " - Stars On 45 (1)
"The One That You Love " - Air Supply (1)
"Jessie's Girl" - Rick Springfield (2)
"Endless Love" - Diana Ross & Lionel Richie (9)
"Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" - Christopher Cross (3)
"Private Eyes" - Daryl Hall & John Oates (2)
"Physical" - Olivia Newton-John (6)

"There's No-one Quite Like Grandma" - St Winifred's School Choir (1)
"Imagine" - John Lennon (4)
"Woman" - John Lennon (2)
"Shaddup You Face" - Joe Dolce Music Theatre (3)
"Jealous Guy"- Roxy Music (2)
"This Ole House" - Shakin' Stevens (3)
"Making Your Mind Up" - Bucks Fizz (3)
"Stand and Deliver" - Adam & The Ants (5)
"Being With You" - Smokey Robinson (2)
"One Day in Your Life" - Michael Jackson (2)
"Ghost Town" - Specials (3)
"Green Door"- Shakin' Stevens (4)
"Japanese Boy" - Aneka (1)
"Tainted Love" - Soft Cell (2)
"Prince Charming" - Adam & The Ants (4)
"It's My Party" - Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin (4)
"Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" - The Police (1)
"Under Pressure" - Queen & David Bowie (2)
"Begin the Beguine" - Julio Iglesias (1)
"Don't You Want Me" - Human League (3)

Chronological table of US and UK Number One hit albums

US Number One album and artist
(Weeks at Number One)
UK Number One album and artist
(Weeks at Number One)

"Double Fantasy" - John Lennon and Yoko Ono (7)
"Hi Infidelity" - REO Speedwagon (15)
"Paradise Theater" - Styx (3)
"Mistaken Identity" - Kim Carnes (4)
"Long Distance Voyager" - The Moody Blues (3)
"Precious Time" - Pat Benatar (1)
"4" - Foreigner (7)
"Bella Donna" - Stevie Nicks (1)
"Escape" - Journey (1)
"Tattoo You" -Rolling Stones (9)
"For Those About to Rock We Salute You" - AC/DC (1)

Super Trouper - ABBA (3)
"Kings of the Wild Frontier" - Adam & the Ants (12)
"Double Fantasy" - John Lennon & Yoko Ono (2)
"Face Value" - Phil Collins (3)
"Stars on 45"- Stars on 45 / Starsound (5)
"No Sleep 'til Hammersmith" - Motörhead (1)
"Disco Daze and Disco Nites" - Various Artists (1)
"Love Songs" - Cliff Richard (5)
"The Official BBC Album of the Royal Wedding" - Various Artists (2)
"Time" - Electric Light Orchestra (2)
"Dead Ringer" - Meat Loaf (2)
"Abacab" - Genesis (2)
"Ghost in the Machine" - The Police (3)
"Dare" -Human League (1)
"Shaky" - Shakin' Stevens (1)
"Greatest Hits" - Queen (4)
"Chart Hits '81" - Various Artists (1)
"The Visitors" - ABBA (3)

Published popular music

* "9 To 5" w.m. Dolly Parton from the film "Nine to Five"
* "All Those Years Ago" w.m. George Harrison
* "Allentown" w.m. Billy Joel
* "Allergies" w.m. Paul Simon
* "America" w.m. Neil Diamond from the film "The Jazz Singer"
* "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" w. Tom Eyen m. Henry Krieger from the musical "Dreamgirls"
* "Arthur's Theme" w.m. Carole Bayer Sager, Burt Bacharach, Christopher Cross & Peter Allen from the film "Arthur"
* "At This Moment" w.m. Billy Vera
* "Baby, Come To Me" w.m. Rod Temperton
* "Being With You" w.m. William "Smokey" Robinson
* "Believe it or Not (Theme From The Greatest American Hero)" w. Stephen Geyer m. Mike Post
* "The Best Of Times" w.m. Dennis DeYoung
* "Bette Davis Eyes" w. Donna Weiss m. Jackie DeShannon
* "Black Limousine" w.m. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood
* "Bruce" w.m. Rick Springfield
* "Chariots of Fire" w. Jon Anderson m. Vangelis
* "Dynasty theme song" m. Bill Conti
* "The First Time it Happens" w.m. Joe Raposo, from the film "The Great Muppet Caper"
* "Good Thing Going (Going Gone)" w.m. Stephen Sondheim
* "Hill Street Blues theme song" m. Mike Post
* "Key Largo" w.m. Bertie Higgins & Sonny Limbo
* "One Of The Girls" w. Fred Ebb m. John Kander introduced by Lauren Bacall in the musical "Woman Of The Year"

Classical music

* Milton Babbitt - Don for four-hand piano, "Ars Combinatoria" for small orchestra
* George Crumb - "Gnomic Variations" for piano
* Peter Maxwell Davies - Piano Sonata
* Joël-François Durand - String Trio
* Bengt Hambraeus - "Voluntary on a Swedish Hymn Tune from Dalecarlia"
* George Lloyd - "Tenth Symphony" (for brass)
* Steve Reich - "Tehillim"
* Roger Sessions - "Concerto for Orchestra" (recorded by Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and for which the composer receives the Pulitzer Prize for Music)
* Robert Simpson - Quintet for clarinet and Strings; "Symphony No. 8"
* Stanislaw Skrowaczewski - "Clarinet Concerto"

Opera

* Conrad Susa and Richard Street - "Black River"

Musical theater

* "Barnum" London production opened at the Palladium on June 11 and ran for 655 performances
* "Bring Back Birdie" Broadway production
* "Cats" (Andrew Lloyd Webber) - London production opened at the New London Theatre on May 11 and ran for 8949 performances
* "Dreamgirls" Broadway production opened on December 20 at the Imperial Theatre and ran for 1522 performances
* "March of the Falsettoes" off-Broadway production
* "Merrily We Roll Along" - Broadway production opened at the Alvin Theatre on November 16 and ran for 16 performances
* "Pirates Of Penzance" Broadway revival
* "Song and Dance" London production
* "Woman Of The Year" Broadway production opened at the Palace Theatre on March 29 and ran for 770 performances

Musical films

* "The Great Muppet Caper"
* "The Jazz Singer"
* "Pennies from Heaven"

Births

*January 5 - Carmen Monarcha, operatic soprano
* January 29 - Jonny Lang, blues artist
* January 31 - Justin Timberlake, former member of boy band *NSYNC
* February 11 - Kelly Rowland, Destiny's Child
* February 27 - Josh Groban, David Foster prodigy
* March 9 - Chad Gilbert, New Found Glory
* March 11
**Russell Lissack, Bloc Party
**LeToya Luckett, Destiny's Child
* April 1
**Theresa Sokyrka, Canadian Idol 2 runner-up
**Hannah Spearritt, S Club 7
* May 3 - Farrah Franklin, Destiny's Child
* June 8 - Alex Band, The Calling
* June 21 - Brandon Flowers, The Killers
* July 21 - Blake Lewis, American Idol 6 runner-up
* 31 July - Matt Shadows, Avenged Sevenfold
* August 8
**Vanessa Amorosi, rock singer
**Bradley McIntosh, S Club 7
* August 28 - Iracema Trevisan, Cansei de Ser Sexy
* September 4 - Beyoncé Knowles, Destiny's Child
* September 14 - Ashley Roberts, The Pussycat Dolls
* September 26 - Christina Milian, singer
* October 1 - Jamelia, British singer
* October 13 - Kele Okereke, Bloc Party
* October 15 - Nick White, Tilly and the Wall
* October 31 - Frank Iero, My Chemical Romance
* November 1 - LaTavia Roberson, Destiny's Child
* November 17 - Sarah Harding, Girls Aloud
* November 20 - Kimberley Walsh, Girls Aloud
* November 26 - Natasha Bedingfield, British singer
* December 2 - Britney Spears
* December 11 - Zacky Vengeance, Avenged Sevenfold
* December 13 - Amy Lee, Evanescence

Deaths

* January 23 - Samuel Barber
* January 25 - Adele Astaire, US dancer, actress and singer
* February 1
**Geirr Tveitt, Norwegian composer
**Ernst Pepping, composer
* February 9 - Bill Haley, rock and roll pioneer, heart attack
* February 15 - Mike Bloomfield, blues guitarist
* April 5
**Bob Hite, Canned Heat, heart attack
**Maurice Zbriger, violinist, composer and conductor
* April 7 - Kit Lambert, former manager and producer for The Who
* April 8 - Bert Shevelove, librettist
* April 14 - Ivan Galamian, violin teacher
* April 28 - Steve Currie, 33, bassist for T. Rex
* May 11 - Bob Marley
* July 16 - Harry Chapin, US singer, automobile accident
* August 18 - Robert Russell Bennett, composer and arranger
* September 15 - Chick Bullock, US singer
* October 13 - Marius Casadesus, violinist and composer
* October 15 - Elsie Randolph, English actress, dancer and singer
* October 29 - Georges Brassens, singer-songwriter
* November 27 - Lotte Lenya, actress and singer, wife of Kurt Weill
* December 13 - Cornelius Cardew, avant-garde composer
* December 27 - Hoagy Carmichael

Awards

Grammy Awards

* Grammy Awards of 1981

Country Music Association Awards

Eurovision Song Contest

* Eurovision Song Contest 1981

Charts

List of No. 1 Hits

* Hot 100 No. 1 Hits of 1981

KROQ

* KROQ Top 106.7 Countdown of 1981


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