In Focus- 1981

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1981 (MCMLXXXI) was a common yearstarting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1981st year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 981st year of the 2nd millennium, the 81st year of the 20th century, and the 2nd year of the 1980s decade.

Music in Focus-

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.

 

Number 1 singles in 1981

 

PositionArtist/sTitleHighest PositionWeeks At #1
1Soft CellTainted Love12
2Adam And The AntsStand And Deliver15
3Adam And The AntsPrince Charming14
4Shakin’ StevensThis Ole Huse13
5UltravoxVienna2n/a
6Bucks FizzMaking Your Mind Up13
7Michael JacksonOne Day In Your Life12
8Joe DolceShaddup You Face13
9The TweetsThe Birdie Song2n/a
10Shakin’ StevensGreen Door14

 

Best selling singles of 1981

 

PositionArtist/sTitleHighest PositionWeeks At #1
1Soft CellTainted Love12
2Adam And The AntsStand And Deliver15
3Adam And The AntsPrince Charming14
4Shakin’ StevensThis Ole Huse13
5UltravoxVienna2n/a
6Bucks FizzMaking Your Mind Up13
7Michael JacksonOne Day In Your Life12
8Joe DolceShaddup You Face13
9The TweetsThe Birdie Song2n/a
10Shakin’ StevensGreen Door14

 

Movies of 1981

 

 

Television in 1981

 

January

February

  • 10 February – Alan Rogers animation Pigeon Street begins on BBC1. The series ran until December before repeats on BBC1 and BBC2 throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

March

April

May

June

  • 2 June – Razzamatazz debuts on ITV. The British music based series for children ran for 6 years.

July

August

  • 11 August – TSW takes over Westward Television but continues to use the Westward name until 1 January 1982.
  • 27 August – Moira Stuart, 29, is appointed the BBC‘s first black newsreader.

September

October

November

  • 2 November – The TV licence increases in price from £34 to £46 for a colour TV, and £12 to £15 for black and white.
  • 12 November – Noele Gordon, eight times winner of the TV Times award for best actress, leaves Crossroads after playing Meg Richardson since the series began in 1964. She had been sacked from the programme.

December

  • December – BBC1 and the BBC’s Open University broadcasts begin using computer generated clocks.
  • 31 December – The final day on air for the ITV regional stations ATV, Southern and Westward.

Comments are welcome on your 80s memories...