1979 in British music
|1970s in music in the UK|
This is a summary of 1979 in music in the United Kingdom, including the official charts from that year. 1979 saw the beginning of a few trends in British music. Electropop reached number one in both the singles and albums charts in the form of Gary Numan and Tubeway Army, and synthesiser bands began to gather momentum which would come to dominate music in the early 1980s. The first rap hit in the UK came from the Sugar Hill Gang. The 2 Tone movement also emerged with early work from bands like The Specials and Madness. Disco music was still the most popular music of the year, although showed signs of dying out in later months. 1979 remains the biggest-selling year ever for physical format singles sales in the UK.
- 23 February - Dire Straits begin their first American tour, in Boston.
- 27 March - Eric Clapton marries Patti Boyd, ex-wife of Clapton's friend George Harrison.
- 31 March - In the Eurovision Song Contest, UK representatives Black Lace finish 7th.
- 2 April - Kate Bush begins her first live tour.
- 6 April - Rod Stewart marries Alana Hamilton.
- 1 May - Elton John becomes the first overseas pop music artist to perform in Israel.
- 2 May - The Who perform their first concert following the death of drummer Keith Moon. The band performed with new drummer Kenney Jones.
- 11 August - Led Zeppelin play their last ever British concert at Knebworth in Hertfordshire.
- 21 August - Cliff Richard achieves his tenth UK No.1 and the first for over 11 years.
- August - Brotherhood of Man members Martin Lee and Sandra Stevens marry.
- 26 November - Bill Haley & His Comets perform at the Drury Lane Theatre in London in a command performance for The Queen. This was Haley's final recorded performance of "Rock Around the Clock".
- date unknown
Number one singles
|6 January||"Y.M.C.A."||Village People|
|27 January||"Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick"||Ian Dury and the Blockheads|
|3 February||"Heart of Glass"||Blondie|
|3 March||"Tragedy"||Bee Gees|
|17 March||"I Will Survive"||Gloria Gaynor|
|14 April||"Bright Eyes"||Art Garfunkel|
|26 May||"Sunday Girl"||Blondie|
|16 June||"Ring My Bell"||Anita Ward|
|30 June||"Are 'Friends' Electric?"||Tubeway Army|
|28 July||"I Don't Like Mondays"||The Boomtown Rats|
|25 August||"We Don't Talk Anymore"||Cliff Richard|
|22 September||"Cars"||Gary Numan|
|29 September||"Message in a Bottle"||The Police|
|20 October||"Video Killed the Radio Star"||The Buggles|
|27 October||"One Day at a Time"||Lena Martell|
|17 November||"When You're in Love with a Beautiful Woman"||Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show|
|8 December||"Walking on the Moon"||The Police|
|15 December||"Another Brick in the Wall Part II"||Pink Floyd|
Number one albums
|6 January||Greatest Hits||Showaddywaddy||2|
|20 January||Don't Walk - Boogie||Various artists||3|
|10 February||Action Replay||Various artists||1|
|17 February||Parallel Lines||Blondie||4|
|17 March||Spirits Having Flown||Bee Gees||2|
|31 March||Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits Vol. 2||Barbra Streisand||4|
|28 April||The Very Best of Leo Sayer||Leo Sayer||3|
|16 June||Discovery||Electric Light Orchestra||5|
|21 July||Replicas||Tubeway Army||1|
|28 July||The Best Disco Album in the World||Various artists||6|
|8 September||In Through the Out Door||Led Zeppelin||2|
|22 September||The Pleasure Principle||Gary Numan||1|
|29 September||Oceans of Fantasy||Boney M||1|
|6 October||The Pleasure Principle||Gary Numan||1|
|=13 October||Eat to the Beat||Blondie||1|
|=13 October||Reggatta De Blanc||The Police||4|
|10 November||Tusk||Fleetwood Mac||1|
|17 November||Greatest Hits Vol. 2||ABBA||3|
|8 December||Greatest Hits Vol.1||Rod Stewart||4|
1979 appears to be the only year since 1977 for which "full year" year-end charts do not exist. The British Market Research Bureau (BMRB), which compiled the official UK charts from 1969 to 1982, used a cut-off date for the collection of sales data sometime in early December each year, in order for the "end of year" chart to be published in the year's final issue of Music Week and to be broadcast on BBC Radio 1. However, from 1977 to 1982 BMRB produced updated charts a few months later which included the missing final weeks' sales for each year.
No updated chart appears to exist for 1979, so the tables below include only sales between 1 January and 8 December 1979. The two singles most affected by the lack of a full year chart are the records that were at number one and number two for the final three weeks of the year, "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" by Pink Floyd and "I Have a Dream" by ABBA: neither of these records appear in the end of year list for 1979.
- Reached number 5 in 1978
- Reached number 9 in 1981
- Reached number 4 in 1977
- Reached number 1 in 1980
- Reached number 6 in 1978
- Reached number 3 in 1978
Classical music: new works
Film and Incidental music
- Richard Rodney Bennett - Yanks directed by John Schlesinger, starring Richard Gere and Vanessa Redgrave.
- Geoffrey Burgon - Monty Python's Life of Brian.
- Andrew Lloyd Webber - Tell Me on a Sunday
- Stephen Sondheim & Hugh Wheeler - Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (premièred on Broadway)
- 20 January - Will Young, singer and winner of Pop Idol (series 1)
- 8 March - Tom Chaplin, singer (Keane)
- 12 March - Pete Doherty, singer and guitarist (The Libertines and Babyshambles)
- 30 March-Simon Webbe, English singer (Blue)
- 10 April - Sophie Ellis-Bextor, singer
- 13 April - Tony Lundon, Irish singer (Liberty X)
- 29 April
- 3 May - Danny Foster, English singer (Hear'Say)
- 31 May - Sarah Class, composer
- 8 June - Adam de la Cour, musician and composer
- 29 June - Abz Love, English singer (5ive)
- 5 July – Shane Filan, Irish singer (Westlife)
- 20 July – Charlotte Hatherley, English singer-songwriter and guitarist (Ash and Nightnurse)
- 20 August - Jamie Cullum, jazz pianist and singer
- 23 August - Ritchie Neville, English singer (5ive)
- 22 November - Scott Robinson, English singer (5ive)
- 28 November - Dane Bowers, singer (Another Level, 5th Story)
- 3 December - Daniel Bedingfield, pop singer and songwriter
- 15 December - Edele and Keavy Lynch, Irish singers (B*Witched)
- 2 February - Sid Vicious, punk rocker, 21 (drug overdose)
- 4 March - Mike Patto, rock vocalist, 36 (throat cancer)
- 24 May - Sir Ernest Bullock, organist and composer, 88
- 16 July - Alfred Deller, countertenor, 67
- 25 August - Stan Kenton, bandleader, 67
- 4 September - Guy Bolton, librettist, 94
- 6 September - Ronald Binge, composer and arranger, 69
- 9 September - Norrie Paramor, record producer, composer, arranger, and orchestral conductor, 65
- 27 September - Gracie Fields, actress and singer, 81
- 13 October - Rebecca Helferich Clarke, viola player and composer, 93
- 6 November - Hugh Ottaway, music writer, 54
- 30 November - Joyce Grenfell, actress and musical performer, 69
- December - Terence Judd, pianist, 22 (probable suicide)
- 21 December - Nansi Richards, harpist, 91
- 1979 in British radio
- 1979 in British television
- 1979 in the United Kingdom
- List of British films of 1979
- Zachary Woolfe "Richard Rodney Bennett, British Composer, Dies at 76", New York Times, 30 December 2012
- The Independent, 13 May 2003
- "Top Singles 1979". Music Week. London, England: Spotlight Publications. 22 December 1979. p. 27.
- "Top Albums 1979". Music Week. London, England: Spotlight Publications. 22 December 1979. p. 30.
- Hampton, Wilborn.Hugh Wheeler obituary, New York Times, July 28, 1987.
- "Patto". Alexgitlin.com. 1979-03-03. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
- 'Hugh Ottaway', The Musical Times, Vol. 121, No. 1643 (January 1980), p. 48
- The Glasgow Herald, 25 January 1980