This is a summary of 1981 in music in the United Kingdom, including the official charts from that year.
9 February - Phil Collins releases his first solo album (although he will not leave the band Genesis until 1995)
14 February - Billy Idol leaves Generation X to begin a solo career
4 April - Bucks Fizz win the Eurovision Song Contest with "Making Your Mind Up"
7 April - Former Who manager Kit Lambert dies after falling down a flight of stairs in his mother's home in London.
17 April - Eric Clapton is released from St. Paul's Hospital in Minnesota following a month-long treatment for bleeding ulcers.
18 April - Yes announce that they are breaking up. (They would however reunite frequently in years to come).
25 April - Paul McCartney's band, Wings, breaks up
2 May - Working as a local wedding singer 12 months previously, Scottish vocalist Sheena Easton hits No.1 in the US with "Morning Train (9 to 5)"
11 May - The musical Cats begins its 8,949 performance run on London's West End.
August - 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.
14 September - Emma Kirkby and Gothic Voices record the album A Feather on the Breath of God in St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London.
17 October - Performance artist Laurie Anderson achieves a surprise #2 hit when her eight-minute experimental song O Superman is championed by Radio 1 DJ John Peel. To date, this remains the only avant-garde song to enter the British music charts.
1981 in British music Wikipedia
The tables below include sales between 1 January and 31 December 1981: the year-end charts reproduced in the issue of Music Week dated 26 December 1981 and played on Radio 1 on 3 January 1982 only include sales figures up until 12 December 1981.
Notes:Peter Maxwell Davies - Piano Sonata
George Lloyd - Symphony No 10, November Journeys (for brass)
Adrian Williams - String Quartet No. 2
Iain Hamilton - Anna Karenina
11 May - Cats, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, opens in London's West End.
16 December - Alan Ayckbourn's Making Tracks, with music by Paul Todd, opens at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.
Concert for Kampuchea
Urgh! A Music War
Tom Meighan, lead singer of Kasabian
19 January - Thaila Zucchi, English singer (allSTARS*) and actress
24 February - Gwilym Simcock, pianist and composer
11 March - Russell Lissack, guitarist with Bloc Party
13 March - Ivo Neame, jazz pianist and saxophonist
26 March - Jay Sean, singer
1 April - Hannah Spearritt, actress and singer (S Club 7)
7 April - Kelli Young, singer (Liberty X)
10 April - Liz McClarnon, singer (Atomic Kitten)
21 April - Mike Christie, baritone (G4)
26 April - Ms Dynamite, singer
5 May - Craig David, singer
20 May - Sean Conlon, musician (5ive)
23 May - Gwenno Saunders, singer
22 June - Chris Urbanowicz, guitarist (Editors)
23 June - Antony Costa, singer (Blue)
12 July - Rebecca Hunter, singer (allSTARS*)
19 July - Didz Hammond, English singer and bass player (Dirty Pretty Things and The Cooper Temple Clause)
8 August - Bradley McIntosh, singer (S Club 7)
11 August - Sandi Thom, singer-songwriter
2 September - Paul Jennings, drummer
29 September - Suzanne Shaw, British singer (Hear'Say) and actress
10 October - Una Healy,Irish singer (The Saturdays)
13 October -Kele Okereke, English singer (Bloc Party)
17 November - Sarah Harding, British singer (Girls Aloud)
20 November - Kimberley Walsh, British singer (Girls Aloud)
26 November - Natasha Bedingfield, singer
19 December - Sam Bloom, singer (allSTARS*)
19 February – Olive Gilbert, actress and singer, 82
21 February – Ron Grainer, Australian-born electronic music pioneer and composer involved with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, 58 (spinal cancer)
10 March - Bill Hopkins, pianist, composer and critic, 37 (heart attack)
7 April - Kit Lambert, manager and producer, 45
8 April - Eric Rogers, composer, 59
14 April - Christian Darnton, composer, 75
21 April - Ivor Newton, pianist and accompanist, 88
12 May - Frank Weir, orchestra leader and jazz musician, 70
15 October – Elsie Randolph, actress, dancer and singer, 77
13 December - Cornelius Cardew, experimental music composer, 45 (hit-and-run car accident)
Frank Merrick, pianist, 95
Albert Ernest Sims, composer, conductor and music director of The Central Band of H.M. Royal Air Force, 85