1980 in music
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|Years in music:||1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983|
|Centuries:||19th century · 20th century · 21st century|
|Decades:||1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s|
|Years:||1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983|
This is a list of notable events in music that took place in the year 1980.
- 1 Specific locations
- 2 Specific genres
- 3 Events
- 4 Bands formed
- 5 Bands disbanded
- 6 Albums released
- 7 Awards
- 8 US Top 40 Hits
- 9 Classical music
- 10 Opera
- 11 Jazz
- 12 Musical theater
- 13 Musical films
- 14 Births
- 15 Deaths
- 16 References
- January 1
- January 5 – Donna Summer Brings her 3 double album in a 14-month period, to the top of the Billboard Albums charts; when Greatest Hits: On the Radio; Vol 1 & 2; reaches the top spot.
- January 7 – At the age of 44, songwriter Larry Williams is found dead in his Los Angeles, California, home of a gunshot wound to the head. Investigators are never able to determine whether his death was a murder or suicide.
- January 13 – The Beach Boys, Grateful Dead, and Jefferson Starship perform at a benefit concert at Oakland Coliseum for the people of Kampuchea.
- January 14 – Rush release Permanent Waves, which eventually becomes the band's fifth platinum album.
- January 16 – Paul McCartney is arrested in Tokyo for possession of a half pound of marijuana. The remaining part of McCartney's and Wings' tour was then canceled.
- January 19 – The first UK Indie Chart is published in Record Week, with Spizzenergi's "Where's Captain Kirk" topping the singles chart, and Adam and the Ants' Dirk Wears White Sox topping the album chart.
- January 25 – Paul McCartney is released from a Japanese jail and ejected from the country by Japanese authorities.
- February 7 – Pink Floyd's The Wall Tour opens at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.
- February 8 – David Bowie and his wife of nearly 10 years, Angie, file for divorce. Bowie gets custody of their 9-year-old son, Zowie.
- February 14 – Lou Reed marries Sylvia Morales in New York City's Greenwich Village.
- February 19 – Bon Scott, lead singer of AC/DC, dies in London. Although common folklore cites pulmonary aspiration of vomit as the cause of his death, the official cause is listed as "Acute alcohol poisoning" and "Death by Misadventure".
- February 23 – Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones and his wife are arrested for cocaine possession on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin. They are set free after spending five days in custody due to the inability of authorities to prove the cocaine in the apartment belonged to either of them.
- February 29 – Buddy Holly's trademark glasses and the Big Bopper's wristwatch are "rediscovered" in old police files by the Mason City, Iowa, sheriff (both were killed in a plane crash on February 3, 1959, along with singer Ritchie Valens).
- March 1 – Patti Smith marries former MC5 member Fred "Sonic" Smith.
- March 3 – Sotheby's auction house in London auctions off a Rivera Hotel, Las Vegas, napkin signed by Elvis Presley for ₤500. Other items auctioned included four American dollar bills autographed by the Beatles, for £220 and a collection of personal letters belonging to the Rolling Stones, also for £220.
- March 8–16 – Tbilisi Rock Festival (1980): the first state-sanctioned rock music festival in the Soviet Union.
- March 14 – Record producer Quincy Jones receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- March 19 – Elvis Presley's autopsy was subpoenaed during the trial of Dr. George Nichopoulous, who would later be found guilty of over-prescribing drugs to Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and other clients.
- March 20 – Radio Caroline shuts down in the UK after radio ship Mi Amigo sinks in a storm.
- April 1 – Brian Johnson is made the new lead singer of AC/DC replacing the late Bon Scott.
- April 13 – The Broadway musical Grease closes its run of 3,388 performances, making it the longest running show on Broadway up until that time.
- April 14
- April 17 – As the "official guests of State", Bob Marley and the Wailers perform at Zimbabwe's Independence festival. Marley calls the event the "greatest honor of my life."
- April 19 – Johnny Logan wins the 25th Eurovision Song Contest for Ireland, with the song "What's Another Year".
- April 25 – Black Sabbath release Heaven and Hell, their first album to feature Ronnie James Dio on vocals.
- April 30 – The Roger Daltrey film, McVicar, opens in London.
- May 4 – America's Top 10, the television version of radio's American Top 40 and hosted by Casey Kasem, debuts this week in syndication.
- May 18 – Ian Curtis, vocalist of pioneering post-punk group Joy Division, hangs himself in his Macclesfield home, just one day before Joy Division are scheduled to begin their first U.S. tour.
- June 25
- Rock and Roll pioneer Bill Haley performs for the last time during a tour of South Africa. After this tour, his health deteriorates and he dies in February 1981. July 1980 marks the 25th anniversary of Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" reaching No. 1 on the American singles charts.
- The Sony Walkman goes on sale in the United States.
- Kiss plays its first show with new drummer Eric Carr at the New York Palladium.
- June 27 – John Lydon and Keith Levene of Public Image Ltd make an appearance on The Tomorrow Show with host Tom Snyder. In a famously uncomfortable interview, Lydon gives curt and vague responses to most of Snyder's questions.
- July 18 – The documentary and concert film No Nukes opens in New York.
- July 25 – AC/DC release Back in Black which later becomes the highest selling album by any band to date.
- July 31 – The Eagles end their tour with a contentious show in Long Beach, California. They would not play together again until 1994.
- August 4 – John Lennon and Yoko Ono begin the recording of the Double Fantasy album.
- August 16 – The first Monsters of Rock heavy metal festival is held at Donington Park in England. Rainbow headlines, and Judas Priest, Scorpions, April Wine, Saxon, Riot and Touch also perform.
- August 19 – Fans at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto stage a riot after Alice Cooper cancels because of illness.
- August 23 – The Heatwave festival near Toronto features The B-52's, Talking Heads, The Pretenders, Elvis Costello and many others.
- August 26 – Pete Comita replaces Tom Petersson in Cheap Trick.
- August 31 – Karen Carpenter marries Thomas Burris. "Because We Are in Love" is played at their wedding.
- September 13
- September 25 – John Bonham, drummer of Led Zeppelin, is found dead by bandmate John Paul Jones.
- October 9 – A riot breaks out at a Black Sabbath concert in Milwaukee after bassist Geezer Butler is hit in the head by a bottle and the band quits the stage.
- October 26 – Paul Kantner of Jefferson Starship is rushed to hospital following a cerebral hemorrhage. He soon recovers without surgery, defying medical odds.
- October – Iron Maiden replaces guitarist Dennis Stratton with Urchin guitarist Adrian Smith.
- November 21
- The Eagles' Don Henley is arrested when cocaine, Quaaludes, and marijuana are found in his hotel room after a 16-year-old prostitute has drug-related seizures. Henley is also subsequently charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. After pleading no contest, he was fined $2,500 and put on two years' probation.
- Iron Maiden play their first gig with new guitarist Adrian Smith in Uxbridge, London, England.
- December 4
- December 7 – Darby Crash, leader of seminal L.A. punk band the Germs, dies of a heroin overdose in a suicide pact.
- December 8 – John Lennon was shot to death outside his apartment building in New York City at 10:50 pm. Lennon's single, "(Just Like) Starting Over", subsequently becomes a number one hit in many countries, including the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.
- December 14 – Over 100,000 mourners attend a public vigil for John Lennon in Central Park. 10 minutes of silence are observed at 2pm.
- December 31 – The ninth annual New Year's Rockin' Eve special airs on ABC, with appearances by The Charlie Daniels Band, Billy Preston, Syreeta, Chuck Berry and Barry Manilow.
Also in 1980
- The Roland Corporation releases the Roland TR-808 drum machine, which became a cornerstone of the emerging electronic, dance, and hip hop genres. The machine went on to become one of the most influential instruments in popular music, comparable to the Fender Stratocaster's influence on rock.
- Record labels established in 1980
- Record labels disestablished in 1980
- The single "Groovy Ghost Show" by Casper is one of the first recorded hip hop songs from Chicago.
- British comedy group The Hee Bee Gee Bees release "Meaningless Songs (in Very High Voices)", a parody of a Bee Gees' disco-style single. Though not a hit in the UK, it is a huge success elsewhere, especially in South Africa, and helps to encourage the Gibb brothers to diversify stylistically.
- Phil Collins signs a contract with Atlantic Records to distribute his solo records in the US and in Europe outside the UK (on WEA label).
Release Date Unknown
- BBC Young Musician of the Year: Nicholas Daniel, oboist
- Boy Edgar Award: Rein de Graaff
- Country Music Association Awards
- Eurovision Song Contest 1980
- Grammy Awards of 1980
- Harriet Cohen International Music Award
Biggest hit singles
The following songs achieved the highest chart positions in the charts of 1980.
|1||Pink Floyd||Another Brick in the Wall (part 2)||1980||UK 1 – Dec 1979, US BB 1 – Feb 1980, Canada 1 – Jan 1980, Sweden (alt) 1 – Feb 1980, France 1 – Feb 1980, Austria 1 – Feb 1980, Switzerland 1 – Jan 1980, Norway 1 – Jan 1980, Germany 1 – Jan 1980, Éire 1 – Dec 1979, Poland 1 of all time, US CashBox 3 of 1980, Netherlands 3 – Dec 1979, Australia 4 of 1980, KROQ 6 of 1980, POP 7 of 1980, South Africa 8 of 1980, Germany 9 of the 1980s, Europe 11 of the 1970s, Italy 12 of 1980, US BB 15 of 1980, RYM 18 of 1979, TheQ 28, Virgin 39, Belgium 50 of all time, Scrobulate 51 of live, RIAA 296, Rolling Stone 375, Acclaimed 392, OzNet 594|
|2||Barbra Streisand||Woman in Love||1980||UK 1 – Oct 1980, US BB 1 – Sep 1980, Netherlands 1 – Sep 1980, Sweden (alt) 1 – Oct 1980, Austria 1 – Dec 1980, Switzerland 1 – Oct 1980, Norway 1 – Nov 1980, Germany 1 – Jan 1981, Éire 1 – Oct 1980, Australia 1 for 2 weeks Sep 1981, South Africa 2 of 1980, Italy 3 of 1981, France 7 – Oct 1980, US CashBox 9 of 1980, Australia 21 of 1980, Germany 36 of the 1980s, RYM 157 of 1980|
|3||John Lennon||(Just Like) Starting Over||1980||UK 1 – Nov 1980, US BB 1 – Nov 1980, Canada 1 – Nov 1980, Switzerland 1 – Dec 1980, Australia 1 for 4 weeks Dec 1981, Austria 2 – Feb 1981, Norway 2 – Dec 1980, Sweden (alt) 3 – Nov 1980, Germany 6 – Jan 1981, France 9 – Nov 1980, US BB 12 of 1980, Australia 18 of 1981, Italy 29 of 1981, RYM 32 of 1980, POP 49 of 1980, US CashBox 57 of 1980, Germany 298 of the 1980s, OzNet 683, Acclaimed 1637|
|4||Lipps Inc||Funkytown||1980||US BB 1 – Apr 1980, Netherlands 1 – Apr 1980, Austria 1 – Jul 1980, Switzerland 1 – May 1980, Norway 1 – Jul 1980, Germany 1 – Jun 1980, UK 2 – May 1980, Sweden (alt) 2 – Jun 1980, US BB 4 of 1980, POP 5 of 1980, Scrobulate 7 of disco, Australia 9 of 1980, US CashBox 10 of 1980, Germany 14 of the 1980s, Italy 30 of 1980, RYM 73 of 1979, Acclaimed 520|
|5||Diana Ross||Upside Down||1980||US BB 1 – Aug 1980, Sweden (alt) 1 – Aug 1980, France 1 – Aug 1980, Switzerland 1 – Aug 1980, Norway 1 – Aug 1980, New Zealand 1 for 3 weeks Oct 1980, Australia 1 for 4 weeks Aug 1981, UK 2 – Jul 1980, Netherlands 2 – Jul 1980, Austria 2 – Oct 1980, US CashBox 4 of 1980, Germany 4 – Sep 1980, Canada 8 – Sep 1980, Italy 8 of 1980, South Africa 11 of 1980, Australia 15 of 1980, POP 22 of 1980, US BB 30 of 1980, Scrobulate 42 of disco, RYM 83 of 1980, Germany 87 of the 1980s, Acclaimed 1364|
US and UK #1 hit singles
(in chronological order)
US Top 40 Hits
- Against The Wind, Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
- All Night Long, Joe Walsh
- All Out Of Love, Air Supply
- All Over the World, ELO
- An American Dream, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
- Better Love Next Time, Dr. Hook
- Biggest Part of Me, Ambrosia
- Breakdown Dead Ahead, Boz Scaggs
- Broken Hearted Me, Anne Murray
- Cars, Gary Numan
- Come Back, J. Geils
- Cool Change, Little River Band
- Coward of the County, Kenny Rogers
- Cruisin', Smokey Robinson
- Cupid (I've Loved You For A Long Time), The Spinners
- Daydream Believer, Anne Murray
- Deja Vu, Dionne Warwick
- Desire, Andy Gibb
- Dim All the Lights, Donna Summer
- Don't Do Me Like That, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
- Don't Fall in Love with a Dreamer, Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes
- Don't Let Go, Isaac Hayes
- Dreamin', Cliff Richard
- Drivin' My Life Away, Eddie Rabbitt
- Emotional Rescue, The Rolling Stones
- Fame, Irene Cara
- Fire Lake, Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band
- Give Me the Night, George Benson
- He's So Shy, The Pointer Sisters
- Heartbreaker, Pat Benatar
- Him, Rupert Holmes
- How Do I Make You, Linda Ronstadt
- Hungry Heart, Bruce Springsteen
- Hurt So Bad, Linda Ronstadt
- I Can't Tell You Why, Eagles
- I Pledge My Love, Peaches & Herb
- I Wanna Be Your Lover, Prince
- In America, Charlie Daniels Band
- Into The Night, Benny Mardones
- Jojo, Boz Scaggs
- Let Me Love You Tonight, Pure Prairie League
- Let My Love Open The Door, Pete Townshend
- Let's Get Serious, Jermaine Jackson
- Little Jeannie, Elton John
- Longer, Dan Fogelberg
- Lookin' For Love, Johnny Lee
- Lost In Love, Air Supply
- Love the World Away, Kenny Rogers
- Misunderstanding, Genesis
- More Love, Kim Carnes
- Never Knew Love Like This Before – Stephanie Mills
- Off the Wall, Michael Jackson
- On the Radio, Donna Summer
- One Fine Day, Carole King
- Pilot of the Airwaves, Charlie Dore
- Refugee, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
- Ride Like The Wind, Christopher Cross
- Romeo's Tune, Steve Forbert
- Sailing, Christopher Cross
- Sara, Fleetwood Mac
- Send One Your Love, Stevie Wonder
- September Morn', Neil Diamond
- Sequel (song), Harry Chapin
- Sexy Eyes, Dr. Hook
- She's Out Of My Life, Michael Jackson
- Shining Star, The Manhattans
- Ships, Barry Manilow
- Should've Never Let You Go, Neil Sedaka and Dara Sedaka
- Special Lady, Ray, Goodman & Brown
- Stand by Me, Mickey Gilley
- Steal Away, Robbie Dupree
- Still, Commodores
- Stomp! – The Brothers Johnson
- Take The Long Way Home, Supertramp
- Take Your Time (Do It Right), The S.O.S. Band
- The Long Run, Eagles
- The Second Time Around, Shalamar
- The Wanderer, Donna Summer
- This Is It – Kenny Loggins
- Tired of Toein' the Line, Rocky Burnette
- Too Hot, Kool & the Gang
- Tusk, Fleetwood Mac
- Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone – The Manhattan Transfer
- Wait for Me, Hall & Oates
- With You I'm Born Again, Billy Preston and Syreeta
- Working My Way Back To You, The Spinners
- Yes, I'm Ready, Teri DeSario and K.C.
- You Decorated My Life, Kenny Rogers
- You May Be Right, Billy Joel
- You're Only Lonely, J.D. Souther
- You're the Only Woman (You & I) – Ambrosia
- George Crumb – A Little Suite for Christmas, A.D. 1979, for piano
- Mario Davidovsky
- Consorts, for symphonic band
- String Quartet No. 4
- Peter Maxwell Davies
- Farewell to Stromness (interlude from The Yellow Cake Review), for piano, Op. 89, No. 1
- Symphony No. 2, Op. 91
- A Welcome to Orkney, for ensemble, Op. 90
- The Yellow Cake Revue, for singer or reciter and piano, Op. 88
- Yesnaby Ground (interlude from The Yellow Cake Review), for piano, Op. 89, No. 2
- Sofia Gubaidulina – Offertorium («Жертвоприношение»), concerto for violin and orchestra
- Helmut Lachenmann – Ein Kinderspiel, seven little pieces for piano
- Trygve Madsen – Sonata for Tuba and Piano
- Arvo Pärt – De profundis, for accompanied chorus; first performance 1981
- Krzysztof Penderecki – Symphony No. 2: "Christmas"'
- Simeon ten Holt
- Natalon in E for piano
- Bi-Ba-Bo for vocal quartet
- Lorenzo Ferrero – Marilyn
- Philip Glass – Satyagraha
- Kirke Mechem – Tartuffe
- William Mathias – The Servants (libretto by Iris Murdoch)
- Karlheinz Stockhausen – Donnerstag aus Licht
- David Warrack – Drummer
- Barnum – Broadway production opened at the St. James Theatre on April 30 and ran for 854 performances
- Brigadoon (Lerner & Loewe) – Broadway revival opened at the Majestic Theatre on October 16 and ran for 133 performances
- Camelot (Lerner & Loewe) – Broadway revival opened at the New York State Theater on July 8 and ran for 56 performances
- Colette – London production opened at the Comedy Theatre on September 24 and ran for 47 performances
- A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine – Broadway production opened at the John Golden Theatre on April 2 and transferred to the Royale Theatre on June 17 for a total run of 588 performances
- Forty-Second Street – Broadway production opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on August 25, transferred to the Majestic Theatre on March 30, 1981, and transferred to the St. James Theatre on April 7, 1987, for a total run of 3486 performances
- The Life and Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby – London production opened at the Aldwych Theatre on June 5
- On The Twentieth Century – London production opened at Her Majesty's Theatre on March 19 and ran for 165 performances
- Sweeney Todd (Stephen Sondheim) – London production opened at the Drury Lane Theatre on July 2 and ran for 157 performances
- The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg London production opened at the Phoenix Theatre on April 10
- West Side Story (Leonard Bernstein) – Broadway revival opened at the Minskoff Theatre on February 14 and ran for 333 performances
- The Blues Brothers
- Can't Stop the Music
- The Idolmaker
- The Jazz Singer
- Kallukkul Eeram
- La boum
- One Trick Pony
- Ram Balram
- Times Square
- January 14 – Hiroshi Tamaki, Japanese actor, model, and singer
- January 16 – Lin-Manuel Miranda, American playwright, singer, songwriter, rapper and composer
- January 17 – Zooey Deschanel, American actress and singer-songwriter.
- January 21 – Nana Mizuki, Japanese voice actress and singer
- January 28
- February 3 – Sarah Lewitinn, American record producer and journalist
- February 15 – Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes)
- February 18 – Regina Spektor, Russian-born American singer-songwriter and pianist
- February 22 – Shamari Fears, American singer-songwriter and actress (Blaque)
- February 27 – Cyrus Bolooki, New Found Glory
- February 26 – Alex Fong Lik-Sun, Hong Kong singer and actor
- March 2
- March 8 – Charli Robinson, Australian actress, singer and dancer
- March 13 – Flavia Cacace, Italian dancer
- March 19 – Agnes Pihlava, Finnish pop singer
- March 20 – Mikk Murdvee, violinist and conductor
- March 21 – Deryck Whibley, Canadian musician and producer (Sum 41)
- March 22 – Shannon Bex, American singer, reality show personality, professional dancer (Danity Kane. Dumblonde)
- March 27 – Tai Orathai, Luk Thung singer
- March 28 – Rasmus Seebach, Danish singer-songwriter and record producer
- March 30 – Yalin, Turkish pop singer and songwriter
- March 31 – Maaya Sakamoto, Japanese singer
- April 10 – Bryce Soderberg, Canadian musician (Lifehouse)
- April 12 – Brian McFadden, (Westlife)
- April 14 – Win Butler, American/Canadian musician
- April 15 – Patrick Carney, American musician and producer (The Black Keys)
- April 16 – Jake Andrews, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
- April 24 – Danny Gokey, American Idol season 8 finalist
- April 26 – Channing Tatum, American dancer, performer, actor
- April 29 – Kian Egan (Westlife)
- May 5 – Maia Hirasawa, Swedish pop singer
- May 6 – Taebin, Korean hip-hop artist (1TYM)
- May 12 – Romina Arena, Italian-American singer-songwriter
- May 16 – Harmony Samuels, English record producer, composer and songwriter.
- May 17 – Ariën van Weesenbeek, Dutch drummer, screamer, keyboardist, percussion (Epica, MaYaN)
- May 21 – Gotye, Australian multi-instrumental musician and singer-songwriter
- May 28 – Mark Feehily (Westlife)
- May 31 – Andy Hurley, American drummer (Fall Out Boy and The Damned Things)
- June 2 – Orish Grinstead, American R&B singer (d. 2008)
- June 5 – Brandi Shearer, American singer-songwriter
- June 6 – Peter Mosely, American bass player (Yellowcard and Inspection 12)
- June 7 – Henkka Seppälä, Finnish bassist (Children of Bodom)
- June 13 – Sarah Connor, German singer
- June 16 – Joey Yung, Hong Kong singer
- June 17 – Kimeru, Japanese singer
- June 18 – Colin Munroe, Canadian singer-songwriter and producer
- June 20 – Tony Lovato (Mest)
- June 23 – Jessica Taylor, English singer, television personality, and dancer (Liberty X)
- June 26 – Jason Schwartzman (Phantom Planet)
- June 27 – Jennifer Goodridge, American keyboard player (Your Enemies Friends)
- June 29 – Katherine Jenkins, Welsh soprano
- July 3 – Kid Sister, American rapper
- July 5
- July 10 – Jessica Simpson, American singer-songwriter, designer and actress
- July 13
- July 15 – JW-Jones, Canadian blues artist
- July 17 – Kaya (Japanese musician), Japanese visual kei musician, EDM artist
- July 19 – Michelle Heaton, English pop singer, actress, television personality and personal trainer. (Liberty X)
- July 20 – Mike Kennerty (The All-American Rejects)
- July 21 – Really Doe, American rapper
- July 22 – Kate Ryan, Belgian singer-songwriter
- July 23 – Michelle Williams, Gospel singer-songwriter (Destiny's Child)
- July 26 – Dave Baksh (Sum 41)
- July 28
- July 30 – Diam's, French rapper
- August 12
- August 16
- August 19
- August 29 – Richa Sharma, playback singer
- August 30 – Alicia Warrington, American drummer (Lillix)
- September 5 – Kevin Simm, English singer (Liberty X)
- September 6 – Kerry Katona, English singer, author, model (Atomic Kitten)
- September 11 – Mikey Way, Former member of My Chemical Romance
- September 13 – Teppei Teranishi (Thrice)
- September 14 – Ayọ, singer-songwriter and actress
- September 19 – Tegan and Sara Quin (Tegan And Sara), Canadian singer-songwriters, musicians, multi-instrumentalists
- September 25 – T.I., American rapper
- September 29 – Dallas Green (musician), Canadian singer/songwriter
- October 5 – Paul Thomas (Good Charlotte)
- October 8 – Nick Cannon, American actor and rapper
- October 10 – Sherine, Egyptian singer
- October 12 – Soledad Pastorutti, Argentine folklore singer and The Voice coach
- October 13 – Ashanti, American singer-songwriter, actress, dancer
- October 24
- October 27 – Tanel Padar, Estonian singer-songwriter and guitarist
- October 31 – Isabella Summers, English musician, songwriter, producer, remixer, DJ (Florence and the Machine).
- November 3 – Dan Marsala, American musician
- November 7 – Karthik, playback singer
- November 10 – Calvin Chen, Taiwanese pop singer
- November 12 – Shaun Cooper, American bass player
- November 15 – Ace Young, American singer and reality show finalist
- November 17 – Isaac Hanson (Hanson)
- November 18 – Dustin Kensrue (Thrice)
- November 26 – Satoshi Ohno, Japanese singer
- November 28 – Lisa Middelhauve, German singer (Xandria)
- November 29 – Janina Gavankar, American musician and actress
- December 3 – Jenna Dewan, American dancer, performer, choreographer, producer, actor
- December 5 – Ibrahim Maalouf, trumpeter
- December 6 – Kei Yasuda, Japanese singer
- December 8 – Kate Voegele, American singer-songwriter and actress
- December 9 – Simon Helberg, American actor, comedian, singer and pianist
- December 10
- December 14 – Tata Young, Thai-American singer and actress
- December 16 – Axle Whitehead, Australian singer, musician, tv host and actor
- December 18 – Christina Aguilera, American
- December 19 – Verbal Jint, South Korean musician, rapper and record producer
- December 24 – Tomas Kalnoky, American musician (Streetlight Manifesto)
- January 1 – Adolph Deutsch (82), American composer
- January 2 – J. Mayo Williams (85), African American blues music producer
- January 3 – Amos Milburn (52), African American R&B singer and pianist
- January 6
- January 7 – Larry Williams (44), singer, songwriter and pianist
- January 13 – Andre Kostelanetz (78), Russian-born conductor and arranger
- January 21 – Elvira de Hidalgo (88), coloratura soprano and singing teacher
- January 29
- January 30 – Professor Longhair (61), pianist
- February 17 – Jerry Fielding (57), American conductor and music director (heart failure)
- February 18
- February 19 – Bon Scott (33), lead singer of AC/DC (alcohol poisoning)
- February 28 – Dinorá de Carvalho (75), Brazilian pianist, conductor and composer
- March 5 – Winifred Wagner (82), daughter-in-law of Richard Wagner, close friend of Adolf Hitler (b. 1897)
- March 14 – Anna Jantar (29), Polish singer (air crash)
- March 18 – Jessica Dragonette (80), American singer
- March 23 – Jacob Miller (27), reggae artist
- March 25 – Walter Susskind (76), Czech conductor
- March 26
- March 28 – Dick Haymes, (63), Argentinian-born US singer and actor
- March 29 – Mantovani (74), Italian-born British orchestra leader and composer
- April 4 – Red Sovine (61), American country & folk singer & songwriter
- April 20 – Katherine Kennicott Davis (87), American composer
- April 28 – Tommy Caldwell (30), bassist of Marshall Tucker Band (car accident)
- May 4 – Joe "Mr Piano" Henderson (60), pianist (heart attack)
- May 18 – Ian Curtis (23), lead singer of Joy Division (suicide)
- May 30 – Carl Radle (37), rock bassist
- June 11 – Bolesław Woytowicz (80), Polish pianist and composer
- June 16 – Bob Nolan (72), country singer and songwriter
- June 20 – Allan Pettersson (68), Swedish composer
- June 21 – Bert Kaempfert (56), German composer, bandleader and arranger (stroke)
- June 27 – Barney Bigard (74), jazz clarinetist
- June 28 – José Iturbi (84), pianist
- July 5 – A. J. Potter (72), Irish composer
- July 14 – Malcolm Owen (26), Lead singer The Ruts (overdose)
- July 15 – Ben Selvin (82), "The Dean of Recorded Music"
- July 23 – Keith Godchaux (32), keyboardist with Grateful Dead (car accident)
- July 25 – Vladimir Vysotsky (42), Russian singer-songwriter, poet, actor (heart failure)
- July 31 – Mohammed Rafi (55), Indian singer (heart attack)
- August 11 – Jacques Singer (70), conductor
- August 17 – Harold Adamson (73), lyricist
- August 18 – John Sebastian (66), harmonica virtuoso
- August 20 – Joe Dassin (41), singer (heart attack)
- August 22 – Cosmé McMoon (79), pianist and composer
- August 26 – Miliza Korjus (71), Estonian-Polish opera singer
- September 2 – Marcel Ciampi (89), French pianist and teacher
- September 7 – Arvella Gray (74), blues and folk singer and guitarist
- September 12 – Lillian Randolph (81), actress and singer
- September 15 – Bill Evans (51), jazz pianist
- September 16 – Ludmila Červinková (72), operatic soprano
- September 17 – Waldemar Seidel (87), Australian pianist
- September 18 – Walter Midgley (67), English operatic tenor
- September 25 – John Bonham (32), drummer (Led Zeppelin) (alcohol poisoning)
- September 30 – Horace Finch (74), pianist and organist
- October 3 – Jerzy Żurawlew (93), pianist, conductor, teacher, and founder of the International Chopin Piano Competition.
- October 25 – Virgil Fox (68), organist (cancer)
- October 27 – Steve Peregrin Took (31), bongo player for Tyrannosaurus Rex later a solo artist/frontman (choking)
- November 15 – Bill Lee (64), American actor and playback singer
- December 7 – Darby Crash (22), singer of the (Germs) (suicide)
- December 8 – John Lennon (40), singer, guitarist and songwriter (The Beatles) (gunshot)
- December 24 – Siggie Nordstrom (87), American model, actress, entertainer, socialite and lead singer (The Nordstrom Sisters)
- December 29 – Tim Hardin (39), singer-songwriter (heroin overdose)
- December 31 – Robert Pete Williams (66), blues singer and guitarist
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