Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

1980 in British music

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1980 in British music

This is a summary of 1980 in music in the United Kingdom, including the official charts from that year.



  • unknown date – John Rutter is made an honorary Fellow of Westminster Choir College, Princeton.
  • 1 January - Cliff Richard is appointed an MBE by Elizabeth II.
  • 16 January - Paul McCartney is arrested in Tokyo for possession of a half pound of marijuana. The remaining part of McCartney's tour has to be cancelled.
  • 25 January - Paul McCartney is released from a Japanese jail and ejected from the country by Japanese authorities.
  • 8 February - David Bowie and his wife of nearly 10 years, Angie, file for divorce. Bowie gets custody of their 9-year-old son, Zowie
  • 30 April - The Roger Daltrey film, McVicar, opens in London.
  • 18 May - Ian Curtis, vocalist of pioneering post-punk group Joy Division, hangs himself in his Macclesfield home. His death comes just days before Joy Division are scheduled to begin their first U.S. tour.
  • 16 September - Kate Bush becomes the first British female artist to reach No.1 in the album charts.
  • 20 September - Ozzy Osbourne's breakthrough debut album Blizzard of Ozz is released in the UK.
  • 25 November - ABBA score the last of their nine number one singles in the UK Charts.
  • December - Duran Duran signs with EMI after finalizing its lineup and touring as a support act for Hazel O'Connor.
  • 4 December - Led Zeppelin disbands following the death of drummer John Bonham.
  • 8 December - John Lennon is shot dead outside his apartment building in New York City. His latest single, "(Just Like) Starting Over", subsequently becomes a number one hit.
  • Pop music

    The 1980s got off to an odd start with a very varied list of artists reaching No. 1 in the singles chart. Kenny Rogers, The Jam and Odyssey were among those vying for the top position. The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums stated that the year had a very dated appearance, because of a number of songs reaching No. 1 which had been recorded years previously, such as the "Theme from M*A*S*H*" and Don McLean's cover of Roy Orbison's "Crying". The Ska and Mod revivals reached their peak this year, with strong chart showings by The Jam, The Specials and Madness. 1970s favourites ABBA and Blondie both had their last years as chart heavyweights, clocking up 5 No.1 singles between them. David Bowie scored his second No.1 this year, while the death of John Lennon at the end of the year gave him his first chart topper (and would dominate the early months of 1981). Kate Bush became the first British female artist to have a No.1 album, and The Police finished the year as the top selling act. "Brass in Pocket" by The Pretenders became the first number 1 single of the 80s (not counting "Another Brick in the Wall" by Pink Floyd" which was a holdover from 1979).

    Year-end charts

    The tables below include sales between 31 December 1979 and 31 December 1980: the year-end charts reproduced in the issue of Music Week dated 27 December 1980 and played on Radio 1 on 4 January 1981 only include sales figures up until 6 December 1980.

    Classical music: new works

  • George Benjamin - Ringed by the Flat Horizon
  • Lennox Berkeley - Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, Op.99
  • Harrison Birtwistle - Clarinet Quintet
  • Jonathan Harvey - Mortuos Plango, Vivos Voco
  • Alun Hoddinott - The Heaventree of Stars
  • Robert Simpson - String Quartet No. 8
  • Malcolm Williamson - Ode for Queen Elizabeth
  • Opera

  • William Mathias - The Servants
  • Peter Maxwell Davies - The Lighthouse
  • Musical theatre

  • Suburban Strains, book and lyrics by Alan Ayckbourn with music by Paul Todd
  • Births

  • 1 January - Richie Faulkner, rock guitarist (Judas Priest)
  • 29 March - Andy Scott-Lee, singer (3SL)
  • 4 April - Johnny Borrell, singer and musician with Razorlight
  • 12 April - Brian McFadden, Irish singer (Westlife)
  • 29 April - Kian Egan, Irish singer (Westlife)
  • 8 May - Michelle McManus, singer and TV presenter
  • 28 May - Mark Feehily, Irish singer (Westlife)
  • 23 June - Jessica Taylor, singer (Liberty X)
  • 29 June - Katherine Jenkins, soprano
  • 7 July - Fyfe Dangerfield, singer-songwriter and guitarist (Guillemots and Senseless Prayer)
  • 19 July - Michelle Heaton, singer (Liberty X)
  • 28 July - Noel Sullivan, pop singer (Hear'Say)
  • 19 August - Darius Danesh, singer-songwriter and actor
  • 5 September - Kevin Simm, singer (Liberty X)
  • 6 September - Kerry Katona, TV presenter and pop star (Atomic Kitten)
  • 3 October - Danny O'Donoghue, Irish singer-songwriter (The Script)
  • 15 December - Sergio Pizzorno, guitarist with Kasabian
  • date unknown - Catrin Finch, harpist
  • Deaths

  • 25 January - Queenie Watts, actress and singer, 53 (cancer)
  • 18 February - Muriel Brunskill, operatic contralto, 80
  • 19 February - Bon Scott, lead singer of AC/DC, 33 (alcohol poisoning)
  • 4 May - Joe "Mr Piano" Henderson, pianist, 60
  • 18 May - Ian Curtis, musician and singer (Joy Division), 23 (suicide)
  • 5 July - A. J. Potter, composer (born 1918)
  • 6 July - Frank Cordell, composer, arranger and conductor, 62
  • 25 September - John Bonham, drummer (Led Zeppelin), 32 (asphyxiation)
  • 30 September - Horace Finch, pianist and organist, 74
  • 27 October - Steve Peregrin Took, bongo player for Tyrannosaurus Rex, frontman for Shagrat and Steve Took's Horns, solo artist, 31 (asphyxiation)
  • 8 December - John Lennon, singer, songwriter, and guitarist (The Beatles), 40 (murdered)
  • References

    1980 in British music Wikipedia