1980 in British music

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

Events[edit]

Pop music[edit]

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).

Charts[edit]

Number-one singles[edit]

Chart date
(week ending)
Song Artist(s)
5 January "Another Brick in the Wall" Pink Floyd
12 January
19 January "Brass in Pocket" The Pretenders
26 January
2 February The Special AKA Live! The Specials
9 February
16 February "Coward of the County" Kenny Rogers
23 February
1 March "Atomic" Blondie
8 March
15 March "Together We Are Beautiful" Fern Kinney
22 March "Going Underground / Dreams of Children" The Jam
29 March
5 April
12 April "Working My Way Back to You" The Detroit Spinners
19 April
26 April "Call Me" Blondie
3 May "Geno" Dexys Midnight Runners
10 May
17 May "What's Another Year" Johnny Logan
24 May
31 May "Suicide Is Painless (Theme from M*A*S*H)" Johnny Mandel
7 June
14 June
21 June "Crying" Don McLean
28 June
5 July
12 July "Xanadu" Olivia Newton-John/Electric Light Orchestra
19 July
26 July "Use It Up and Wear It Out" Odysssey
2 August
9 August "The Winner Takes It All" ABBA
16 August
23 August "Ashes to Ashes" David Bowie
30 August
6 September "Start!" The Jam
13 September "Feels Like I'm in Love" Kelly Marie
20 September
27 September "Don't Stand So Close to Me" The Police
4 October
11 October
18 October
25 October "Woman in Love" Barbra Streisand
1 November
8 November
15 November "The Tide Is High" Blondie
22 November
29 November "Super Trouper" ABBA
6 December
13 December
20 December "(Just Like) Starting Over" John Lennon
27 December "There's No-one Quite Like Grandma" St. Winifred's School Choir

Number-one albums[edit]

Chart date
(week ending)
Album Artist
5 January Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 Rod Stewart
12 January Greatest Hits Vol. 2 ABBA
19 January Pretenders The Pretenders
26 January
2 February
9 February
16 February Last Dance Various Artists
23 February
1 March String of Hits The Shadows
8 March
15 March
22 March Tears and Laughter Johnny Mathis
29 March
5 April Duke Genesis
12 April
19 April Greatest Hits Rose Royce
26 April
3 May Sky 2 Sky
10 May
17 May The Magic of Boney M. – 20 Golden Hits Boney M.
24 May
31 May McCartney II Paul McCartney
7 June
14 June Peter Gabriel Peter Gabriel
21 June
28 June Flesh and Blood Roxy Music
5 July Emotional Rescue The Rolling Stones
12 July
19 July The Game Queen
26 July
2 August Deepest Purple Deep Purple
9 August Back in Black AC/DC
16 August
23 August Flesh + Blood Roxy Music
30 August
6 September
13 September Telekon Gary Numan
20 September Never for Ever Kate Bush
27 September Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) David Bowie
4 October
11 October Zenyatta Mondatta The Police
18 October
25 October
1 November
8 November Guilty Barbra Streisand
15 November
22 November Super Trouper ABBA
29 November
6 December
13 December
20 December
27 December

Year-end charts[edit]

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.

Best-selling singles[edit]

[1]

No. Title Artist Peak
position
1 "Don't Stand So Close to Me" The Police 1
2 "Woman in Love" Barbra Streisand 1
3 "Feels Like I'm in Love" Kelly Marie 1
4 "Super Trouper" ABBA 1
5 "D.I.S.C.O." Ottawan 2
6 "The Tide Is High" Blondie 1
7 "Geno" Dexys Midnight Runners 1
8 "Together We Are Beautiful" Fern Kinney 1
9 "Coward of the County" Kenny Rogers 1
10 "(Just Like) Starting Over" John Lennon 1
11 "Working My Way Back to You" The Detroit Spinners 1
12 "9 to 5" Sheena Easton 3
13 "Baggy Trousers" Madness 3
14 "Ashes to Ashes" David Bowie 1
15 "Theme from M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless)" MASH 1
16 "Going Underground"/"Dreams of Children" The Jam 1
17 "Crying" Don McLean 1
18 "The Winner Takes It All" ABBA 1
19 "Dance Yourself Dizzy" Liquid Gold 2
20 "There's No One Quite Like Grandma" St Winifred's School Choir 1
21 "Atomic" Blondie 1
22 "Upside Down" Diana Ross 2
23 "Use It Up and Wear It Out" Odyssey 1
24 "Start!" The Jam 1
25 "Master Blaster (Jammin')" Stevie Wonder 2
26 "Funkytown" Lipps Inc. 2
27 "I'm in the Mood for Dancing" The Nolans 3
28 "If You're Lookin' for a Way Out" Odyssey 6
29 "One Day I'll Fly Away" Randy Crawford 2
30 "The Special AKA Live!" EP The Specials 1
31 "What You're Proposing" Status Quo 2
32 "Take That Look Off Your Face" Marti Webb 3
33 "No Doubt About It" Hot Chocolate 2
34 "Stop the Cavalry" Jona Lewie 3
35 "Brass in Pocket" Pretenders 1
36 "Oops Up Side Your Head" The Gap Band 6
37 "What's Another Year" Johnny Logan 1
38 "Xanadu" Olivia Newton-John/Electric Light Orchestra 1
39 "Special Brew" Bad Manners 3
40 "King"/"Food for Thought" UB40 4
41 "And the Beat Goes On" The Whispers 2
42 "Turning Japanese" The Vapors 3
43 "When You Ask About Love" Matchbox 4
44 "I Could Be So Good for You" Dennis Waterman with the Dennis Waterman Band 3
45 "My Girl" Madness 3
46 "Never Knew Love Like This Before" Stephanie Mills 4
47 "Enola Gay" Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark 8
48 "Call Me" Blondie 1
49 "More Than I Can Say" Leo Sayer 2
50 "Embarrassment" Madness 4

Best-selling albums[edit]

[2]

No. Title Artist Peak position
(in 1980)[3]
1 Super Trouper ABBA 1
2 Zenyatta Mondatta The Police 1
3 Greatest Hits Rose Royce 1
4 Guilty Barbra Streisand 1
5 Pretenders Pretenders 1
6 Reggatta de Blanc The Police 2
7 Flesh and Blood Roxy Music 1
8 Manilow Magic: The Best of Barry Manilow Barry Manilow 4
9 Off the Wall Michael Jackson 6
10 Duke Genesis 1
11 Sky 2 Sky 1
12 Double Fantasy John Lennon and Yoko Ono 2
13 One Step Beyond... Madness 2
14 12 Gold Bars Status Quo 3
15 String of Hits The Shadows 1
16 The Last Dance Various Artists 1
17 Greatest Hits Vol. 2 ABBA 1
18 Outlandos d'Amour The Police 9
19 The Magic of Boney M. – 20 Golden Hits Boney M. 1
20 Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) David Bowie 1
21 Greatest Hits Dr. Hook 2
22 Tell Me on a Sunday Marti Webb 2
23 Absolutely Madness 2
24 Not the Nine O'Clock News Not the Nine O'Clock News Cast 5
25 Tears and Laughter Johnny Mathis 1
26 Signing Off UB40 2
27 Never for Ever Kate Bush 1
28 The Wall Pink Floyd 3
29 The Specials The Specials 4
30 I Just Can't Stop It The Beat 3
31 Greatest Hits Rod Stewart 1
32 Give Me the Night George Benson 3
33 Get Happy!! Elvis Costello and the Attractions 2
34 Me Myself I Joan Armatrading 5
35 Bat Out of Hell Meat Loaf 20
36 McCartney II Paul McCartney 1
37 Emotional Rescue The Rolling Stones 1
38 Back in Black AC/DC 1
39 Peter Gabriel Peter Gabriel 1
40 Eat to the Beat Blondie 7
41 Autoamerican Blondie 3
42 Parallel Lines Blondie 15
43 Hotter than July Stevie Wonder 2
44 Sometimes You Win Dr. Hook 14
45 Wheels of Steel Saxon 5
46 The Game Queen 1
47 Sound Affects The Jam 2
48 Kings of the Wild Frontier Adam and the Ants 3
49 Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds Jeff Wayne 32
50 Breaking Glass Hazel O'Connor 5

Classical music: new works[edit]

Opera[edit]

Musical theatre[edit]

Births[edit]

Deaths[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chart File". Record Mirror. London, England: Spotlight Publications. 21 March 1981. p. 37. 
  2. ^ "Chart File". Record Mirror. London, England: Spotlight Publications. 4 April 1981. 
  3. ^ Official UK Albums Chart, 1980
  4. ^ Allen, Paul (2004) A Pocket Guide to Alan Ayckbourn Plays, Faber & Faber ISBN 0-571-21492-4