The Year The Music Died. Again.

John Lennon / Yoko Ono
Double Fantasy
Nov. 17, 1980
((( john’s last word )))

John Lennon on a rooftop in New York City. August 29, 1974. © Bob Gruen / www.bobgruen.com Please contact Bob Gruen’s studio to purchase a print or license this photo. email: info@bobgruen.com.

1969 — When Marvin Gaye sang it, Dion ‘s eulogy, “Abraham, Martin, and John,” was meant for Martin Luther King, John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK), and God’s own Abraham. December 8, 1980, the day before I walked in on my roommates, Bob Bartolotta and Dave Futch, sitting in the dark, quietly listening to a record I didn’t recognize. It was a brand new copy of John Lennon’s Double Fantasy, his last, as I understood when Dave told me he bought it after hearing the news that Lennon had been shot and killed the night before. That was as the reason for the unusual, mid-afternoon gloom.


Abraham, Martin, and John
((( december 8, 1980 )))


Debbie Harry made her name at CBGB, and on the darker side of New York City (THEY ONLY COME OUT AT NIGHT), and in 1978 she released Parallel Lines, appropriately titled, looking back to see how Blondie (Debbie’s band) brought Punk and a New, Hip-Hop Wave of Dance Music into the light.

STAR WARS (1977)
FM (1978)

Apocalypse Now (Soundtrack)


Not only was John Lennon assassinated, already in the year 1980, there had been … 

January 4, 1980 — President Jimmy Carter announces the embargo on sale of grain and high technology to the Soviet Union due to  The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

January 6 — Indira Gandhi’s Congress Party wins elections in India.

U.S. President Jimmy Carter authorizes legislation to bail out the Chrysler Corporation with a 1.5 billion dollar loan.

January 11 — Debut of The Pretenders’ album Pretenders.

January 16 — Paul McCartney is arrested at Tokyo International Airport for possession of marijuana. He is sent to jail for nine days before being deported.

January 17 — A Provisional Irish Republican Army bomb detonates prematurely on a passenger train near Belfast, killing three and injuring five, including the bombers.

January 18 — Pink Floyd The Wall #1. 

January 20 — U.S. President Jimmy Carter announces the U.S. boycott of the Moscow Summer Olympics. 

January 21 — The British record TV audience for a film is set when some 23,500,000 viewers tune in for the ITV showing of the James Bond film Live and Let Die (1973).

January 22 — 175,000 pay to hear Frank Sinatra sing in Rio de Janeiro. 

January 29 — The Rubik’s Cube makes its international debut at The British Toy and Hobby Fair, Earl’s Court, London. 

January 31 — The Spanish Embassy in Guatemala is invaded and set on fire, killing 36 people.

February 1 — Blondie releases Call MeBillboard magazine’s 1980 “Song Of The Year.”

February 2 — Members of Congress are targeted by FBI personnel in a sting operation. (ABSCAM) 

February 4 — Following his win of the presidential election on January 25, Abolhassan Banisadr is sworn in as the first President of Iran.

1980 Winter Olympic Games
February 13, 1980The opening ceremonies of the 1980 Winter Olympic Games are held in Lake Placid, New York. One of the most thrilling moments include the Miracle on Ice when a team of U.S. amateur ice hockey players defeated the vaunted Soviet Union professional all-star team in the semi-final game, then won the gold medal over Finland. U.S. speed skater Eric Heiden also concluded one of the most amazing feats in sports history when he won all five speed skating medals from the sprint at 500 meters to the marathon 10,000 meter event.

February 16 — In North Africa and West Asia, a total Solar Eclipse is seen. This is the 50th solar eclipse of Solar Saros 130. 

February 14 — West Side Story opens at Minskoff Theater in NYC, and runs 341 performances.

February 19 — AC/DC frontman Bon Scott passes away following a heavy night of drinking in London.

Miracle on Ice 
February 22 — In what became known as the “Miracle on Ice,” the U.S. hockey team beats the heavily favored Soviet Union 4-3 at Lake Placid in one of the biggest upsets in Olympic history. America goes on to win the gold medal.

Iranian Hostages
February 23 — It is stated by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that the parliament of Iran will decide the fate of the AMERICAN EMBASSY HOSTAGES. 

February 27 — The Dominican Embassy Siege is begun in Columbia by M-19 guerillas, keeping 60 people as hostages, including 14 ambassadors. 

March 1 — The Voyager 1 probe confirms the existence of Janus, another MOON OF SATURN.

 The Commonwealth Trade Union Council is founded. 

March 3 — Pierre Trudeau is sworn in as the 17th Prime Minister of Canada for the second time.

In West Germany, the Audi Quattro is launched, a four-wheel drive sporting coupe. 

In Kansas City, Missouri, the first ShowBiz Pizza Place restaurant opens.

March 4 — Robert Mugabe is elected to be the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.

March 5 — Earth satellites record gamma rays from remnants of supernova N-49.

March 8 — First Russian rock music festival opens.

March 13 — John Wayne Gacy receives the death sentence in Illinois for the murder of 12 people.

March 18 — At the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia, a Vostok-2M rocket explodes on its launch pad in the middle of a fueling operation, killing 50 people. 

March 19 — The MV Mi Amigo, The ship that houses Pirate Radio station Radio Caroline, sinks off the coast of England. The radio station would return on board a new ship in 1983. 

March 21 — After the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan, US President Ronald Reagan declares that the United States will boycott the 1980 SUMMER OLYMPICS. 

April 6 — Post-It Notes are first introduced.

April 7 — U.S. President Jimmy Carter breaks severs relations with Iran during the Iranian Hostage Crisis. 

April 13 — Grease closes at Broadhurst Theater, New York City after 3,388 performances.

The U.S. and its allies boycott the Summer Olympics in Moscow in protest against Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan.

MARIEL BOAT LIFT(Spanishéxodo del Mariel) was a mass emigration of Cubans who traveled from Cuba‘s Mariel Harbor to the United States between April 15 and October 31, 1980. The term “Marielito” (plural “Marielitos”) is used to refer to these refugees in both Spanish and English. While the exodus was triggered by a sharp downturn in the Cuban economy, it followed on the heels of generations of Cubans who had immigrated to the United States in the preceding decades. (FIDEL CASTRO‘S PURGING OF PRISONS) After 10,000 Cubans tried to gain asylum by taking refuge on the grounds of the Peruvian embassy, the Cuban government announced that anyone who wanted to leave could do so. The ensuing mass migration was organized by Cuban Americans, with the agreement of Cuban President Fidel Castro. The arrival of the refugees in the United States created political problems for U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The Carter administration struggled to develop a consistent response to the immigrants.
The Mariel boatlift was ended by mutual agreement between the two governments in late October 1980. By then, as many as 125,266 Cubans had reached Florida. (APRIL 2000 ELIAN GONZALEZ)

Jimmy Carter’s Doom
April 24-25, 1980 — Doom In The Desert: The attempt to rescue the American hostages held captive in the U.S. Embassy in Iran fails with eight Americans killed and five wounded in Operation Eagle Claw when a mid-air collision occurs.

April 24 — Six men rig the Pennsylvania Lottery, including the host of the live TV drawing Nick Perry, in what becomes known as the Pennsylvania Lottery Scandal. 

May 1 — An article written by journalist Dan Rottenberg in Chicago, “About that Urban Resistance…,” contains the first recorded use of the word “yuppie.”
May 2 — Pink Floyd (“Another Brick In The Wall”) is Banned In South Africa. “Teacher Leave Us Kids Alone.”
May 9 — Sunshine Skyway Bridge
Friday the 13th is released.
Miami Burns
May 17 — After a court in Tampa, acquits four white police officers of killing black insurance executive Arthur McDuffie, Three Days of Race Riots Erupted In Miami.
May 18 — Mt. St. Helens Volcano Erupts in Washington State, killing fifty-seven people and devastating the local economy, costing it near $3 billion. The blast was estimated to have the power five hundred times greater than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
May 21 — Star Wars Episode V
The Empire Strikes Back produced by George Lucas opens in the UK and North America.

May 22 — The Pac-Man video game is released in Japan, later becoming the best-selling arcade game of all time.

May 23 — The Shining based on Stephen King’s book is released. (CINEMA-DRAFT HOUSE)

May 24 — The International Court of Justice calls for U.S. Embassy hostages to be released in Tehran.

 May 29 — In the first major news story for CNN, Vernon Jordan is shot and badly injured in an assassination attempt by Joseph Paul Franklin which took place in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

June 1 — CNN sends its first transmission, making it the first 24-hour news channel. 

June 3 — U.S. President Jimmy Carter wins enough delegates for renomination. 

June 10 — In South Africa, the African National Congress publishes a statement written by their imprisoned leader, Nelson Mandela.
United Airlines president Percy Wood is injured by a Unabomber bomb in Lake Forest, Illinois. 

June 11 — The UEFA Euro 1980 begins, hosted by Italy. West Germany would go on to win. 

June 13 — UN Security Council calls for South Africa to Free Nelson Mandela from prison. (TACKHEAD) 

June 23 — Heat waves begin in the United States

June 27 — After the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, U.S. President Jimmy Carter signs proclamation 4771, which requires men between 18 and 25 to register for a PEACETIME MILITARY DRAFT.

June 30 — Queen releases their eighth studio album The Game.
Wimbledon (Fire & Ice)
July 5 — Four-time defending champion Björn Borg successfully defended his title, defeating John McEnroe  1–6, 7–5, 6–3, 6–7, 8–6 to win the gentlemen’s singles tennis title at the 1980 Wimbledon Championships. It was his fifth consecutive singles title at the Championships. The final has often been called one of the greatest and most exciting matches of all time, and was central to the Borg–McEnroe rivalry. A dramatic depiction of the final featured as the conclusion to the 2017 movie Borg vs McEnroe.

July 17 — At the 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit, Ronald Reagan formally accepts Republican nomination for U.S. President. Moderate republicans are also dismayed when the convention drops its long-standing support for the Equal Rights Amendment after being influenced by the Religious Right. 

July 18 — India becomes the 7th nation to launch satellites using its own rocket when the Rohini RS-1 satellite is launched by India’s SLV rocket. 

July 19-August 3 — Great Britain and Northern Ireland compete at the Olympics in Moscow and win 5 gold, 7 silver and 9 bronze medals. 82 countries boycotted the Games, and athletes from 16 participate under a neutral flag. 

July 25 — Australian band AC/DC release their album Back in Black. 

July 30 — American swimmers Mary T Meagher and Craig Beardsley both set 200m butterfly world records at the U.S. National Swimming Championship in Irvine, California.

July 31 — China’s population hits one billion people. 

August 4 — In Haiti, Hurricane Allen hits the area, killing 220 people. 

August 7 — Strikes begin at the Gdańsk Shipyard in the Polish People’s Republic, led by Lech Wałęsa.

August 10 — In the Pacific Ocean, an annular solar eclipse was visible and it’s the 37th solar eclipse of Solar Saros 135.  

August 14 — At the 1980 Democratic National Convention in New York City, Senator Edward Kennedy is defeated by President Jimmy Carter to win Carter his renomination. Editorial cartoon. Jimmy Carter with scuba gear, riding in the backseat of a taxi cab, driven by Ted Kennedy.

Playboy Playmate of the Year, Dorothy Stratten, is killed by her husband Paul Leslie Snider, who goes on to kill himself. 

Sept. 22 — Iran-Iraq War Begins with the command council of Iraq ordering its army to “deliver its fatal blow on Iranian military targets.” 

 Sept. 23 — Bob Marley’s Last Show at Stanley Theater, Pittsburgh.

Sept. 28 — Janet Cooke’s story about eight-year-old heroin addict Jimmy is published in The Washington Postbut it’s later proven to be fabricated.

(First questioned asked at the Alligator, would have been “Where are the photographs?”)

Oct. 1 — It is announced by Associated Newspapers in London that The Evening Standard will close and subsequently merge with the Evening Standard. 

Oct. 3 — The Police, release Zenyattà Mondatta, their third studio album.   

Oct. 9 — Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s The Phantom of the Opera premieres on London’s West End.

October 10, 1980 — President Carter signs legislation establishing Boston African American National Historic Site, which includes the oldest black church in America and other historic sites of the Black Heritage Trail in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Oct. 10 — Prime Minister of Britain, Margaret Thatcher, gives her famous ‘The lady’s not for turning’ speech. 

October 20 — Greece joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
October 21 — National League Philadelphia Phillies win the World Series, beating American League Kansas City Royals 4-1 in Game 6.

Oct. 21 — Mikhail Gorbachev is elected member of the Politburo. 

Oct. 24 — The Polish government legalizes independent labor union Solidarity.  

November 4, 1980 — Ronald Reagan, the former Republican governor of California, beats President Jimmy Carter and independent candidate John B. Anderson, also a Republican, in a landslide victory, ousting the incumbent from office. The victory in the Electoral College, 489 to 49, as well as an 8 million vote margin in the popular vote over Carter, ensured a mandate for the new president

November 10 — Voyager Ithe NASA space probe, makes its closest approach to Saturn when it flies within 77,000 miles (124,000 km) of the planet’s cloud-tops and sends the first high resolution images back to scientists on Earth. 

November 21 — For an entertainment program, a record number of viewers by this date turn on to watch the U.S. television show Dallas to discover who shot the lead character, J. R. Ewing. The event “Who shot J.R.?” was an international obsession. 

December 2 — Jean Donovan, a missionary, and three Roman Catholic nuns named Maura Clarke, Ita Ford and Dorothy Kazel are all killed by a military death squad in El Salvador. The women were all American and were doing charity work during El Salvador’s civil war. Oliver Stone 1986 movie, Salvador.

December 4 — Led Zeppelin Ends, two months after the death of drummer John Bonham.

John Lennon Assassinated
December 8 —  Photographer Annie Leibovitz has a photoshoot with John Lennon. She is the last person to professionally photograph him before he is murdered on the same day. He is shot and killed by Mark David Chapman in front of The Dakota apartment building in New York City.

December 12 — first bite of the Apple
Apple makes its first initial public offering on the U.S. stock market. Twenty eight years later, it would become the first U.S. company valued at over $1 trillion. 

December 14 — Thousands of music fans hold a 10-minute vigil in Liverpool for John Lennon.


Earl Slick / Charlie Sexton / dave.

Earl Slick was the guitarist on John and Yoko’s Double Fantasy album released just three weeks before Lennon was murdered (shot in the back by Mark David Chapman) as he entered the Dakota, his New York City residence. 


January 20, 1981 — The inauguration of Ronald Reagan as the 40th president of the United States occurs in Washington, D.C. It was followed by the release of the fifty-two Americans still held hostage in Tehran. The Iranian hostage crisis, which lasted four hundred and forty-four days, was negotiated for the return of $8 billion in frozen Iranian assets.

March 30, 1981 — President Ronald Reagan withstands an assassination attempt, shot in the chest while walking to his limousine in Washington, D.C.

April 12, 1981 — The first launch of the Space Shuttle from Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center occurs as Columbia begins its STS-1 mission. The Space Shuttle is the first reusable spacecraft to be flown into orbit, and it returned to earth for a traditional touch down landing two days later.

July 29, 1981 — Tax cut legislation proposed by President Ronald Reagan, the largest in history, is passed by both houses of the U.S. Congress. It would reduce taxes by $750 billion over the next five years.

August 12, 1981 — IBM introduces the IBM-PC personal computer, the IBM 5150. It was designed by twelve engineers and designers under Don Estridge of the IBM Entry Systems Division. It sold for $1,565 in 1981.

Sept. 21, 1981 — Sandra Day O’Connor is approved unanimously, 99-0, by the United States Senate to become the first female Supreme Court associate justice in history.


John Hall — No Nukes
The Muse Concerts for a Non-Nuclear Future
1984 — 
((( funky b-boy )))

keith haring


January 8, 1982 — ATT settles its lawsuit with the U.S. Justice Department. The agreement forced the independence of the twenty-two regional Bell System companies in return for expansion into the prohibited areas of data processing and equipment sales.

March 2, 1982 — The Senate passes a bill that virtually eliminated the practice of busing to achieve racial integration.

May 1, 1982 — The Knoxville World’s Fair opens on the topic of energy by President Reagan. A special category exposition sanctioned by the Bureau of International Exhibitions, the Knoxville event would draw over eleven million people to the Tennessee valley over the next six months.

November 5, 1982 — The highest unemployment rate since 1940 is recorded at 10.4%. By the end of November, over eleven million people would be unemployed.

November 13, 1982 — The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C., holding the names of the more than 58,000 killed or missing in action during the conflict.

1983Sally Ride, America’s first woman astronaut, communicates with NASA from the flight deck of the Challenger Space Shuttle, June 18-24, 1983. Photo: U.S. Information Agency.

March 23, 1983 — The initial proposal to develop technology to intercept incoming missiles, the Strategic Defense Initiative Program, or Star Wars, is made by President Ronald Reagan.

April 20, 1983 — President Reagan signs legislation meant to rescue the Social Security System from bankruptcy.

June 18, 1983 — Astronaut Sally Ride becomes the first American woman to travel into space.

Oct. 23, 1983 — A terrorist truck bomb kills two hundred and forty-one United States peacekeeping troops in Lebanon at Beirut International Airport. A second bomb destroyed a French barracks two miles away, killing forty there.

Oct. 25, 1983 — The United States invasion of Grenada occurs at the request of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to depose the Marxist regime.


February 7, 1984 — Navy Captain Bruce McCandless and Army Lt. Colonel Robert Stewart become the first astronauts to fly free of a spacecraft in orbit during a space shuttle flight that began four days earlier.

May 12, 1984 — The Louisiana World Exposition of 1984 opens along the Mississippi River waterfront in New Orleans. The event, the last world’s fair held in the United States, was plagued with financial trouble, and drew significantly fewer visitors than predicted over the next six months, 7.3 million, although it was regarded as the catalyst in the recovery of the waterfront and warehouse district to public use.

July 12, 1984 — Democratic candidate for President, Walter Mondale, selects Geraldine Ferraro as his Vice Presidential running mate, the first woman chosen for that position.

July 28, 1984 — The opening ceremony of the Los Angeles Olympic Games is held. The games run by Peter Ueberroth, prove a financial and U.S. success, despite a retaliatory boycott by most allies of the Soviet Union due to the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow games.

November 6, 1984 — President Ronald Reagan wins reelection over Democratic challenger Walter F. Mondale, increasing his Electoral College victory since the 1980 election to a margin of 525 to 13.


July 13, 1985 — A famine relief concert organized by British artist Bob Geldof and held simultaneously in London and Philadelphia is seen in one hundred and fifty-two countries. The seventeen hour concert raised $70 million for relief efforts in Ethiopia and other African nations.

Sept. 11, 1985 — Pete Rose breaks Ty Cobb’s record for most career hits in Major League Baseball history. He would be banned from baseball in 1989 for gambling, thus making him ineligible for election into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

November 19, 1985 — The first meeting in six years between the leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States occurs when Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan engage in a five hour summit conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

November 20, 1985 — The first version of the Windows operating system for computers is released.

December 11, 1985 — General Electric Corporation agrees to buy RCA Corporation for $6.28 billion in the largest corporate merger ever outside the oil industry.


January 20, 1986 — Martin Luther King Day is officially observed for the first time as a federal holiday in the United States.

January 28, 1986 — The Challenger Space Shuttle explodes after lift off at Cape Canaveral, Florida, killing seven people, including Christa McAuliffe, a New Hampshire school teacher.

May 25, 1986 — Five million people make a human chain across the United States in the Hands Across America campaign to fight hunger and homelessness.

September 18, 1986 — A tentative agreement on a world-wide ban on medium-range missiles is reached between the Soviet Union and the United States. This agreement would not be expanded to include long-range missiles when President Reagan refused capitulation to the demand from Mikhail Gorbachev to limit development of the Star Wars missile defense shield.

November 3, 1986 — The first reporting of the Iran-Contra affair, diverting money from arm sales to Iran to fund Nicaraguan contra rebels, begins the largest crisis in the Reagan tenure.


August 12, 1987 — Near the end of hearings into the Iran-contra affair, President Reagan admits to a policy that went astray, but denied knowledge of the diversion of funds to the contras.

October 19, 1987 — The stock market crash known as Black Monday occurs on the New York Stock Exchange, recording a record 22.6% drop in one day. Stock markets around the world would mirror the crash with drops of their own.

October 23, 1987 — The President’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Robert Bork, is rejected by the U.S. Senate, 58-42, in the largest margin of rejection for the role in history.

December 8, 1987 — The United States and the Soviet Union sign an agreement, the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, to dismantle all 1,752 U.S. and 859 Soviet missiles in the 300-3,400 mile range.

December 31, 1987 — El Malpais National Monument in New Mexico is established by legislation. It preserved a natural volcanic area, a seventeen mile lava tube system, and remains from the Pueblo Indian culture.


February 3, 1988 — The United States House of Representatives rejects the request of President Reagan for $36.25 million to fund the Nicaraguan Contras.

April 12, 1988 — The first patent for a genetically engineered animal is issued to Harvard University researchers Philip Leder and Timothy Stewart.

May 4, 1988 — The deadline for amnesty application by illegal aliens is met by 1.4 million applications. It is estimated that 71% of those who applied had entered the United States from Mexico.

October 31, 1988 — Poverty Point National Monument in Louisiana is established by President Ronald Reagan in order to preserve some of the most extensive earthworks from prehistoric times in North America.

November 8, 1988 — Vice President under Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, claims victory in the presidential election over Democratic challenger Michael S. Dukakis, Governor of Massachusetts. The Electoral College vote tallied 426 for Bush and 111 for Dukakis.


January 6, 1989 — Economic reports on the previous year from the Labor Department indicate a growth rate of 3.8%, the largest in four years and an unemployment rate of 5.3%, a low of fourteen years.

March 24, 1989 — The Exxon Valdez crashes into Bligh Reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, causing the largest oil spill in American history, eleven million gallons, which extended forty-five miles.

August 9, 1989 — The Savings and Loan Bailout is approved by Congress and signed into law by President George Herbert Walker Bush. The total cost of the bill would approach $400 billion over thirty years to close and merge insolvent Savings and Loans.

August 10, 1989 — Army General Colin Powell is elevated to the position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, becoming the first African American to be nominated to that post.

November 9, 1989 — The Berlin Wall, after thirty-eight years of restricting traffic between the East and West German sides of the city, begins to crumble when German citizens are allowed to travel freely between East and West Germany for the first time. One day later, the influx of crowds around and onto the wall begin to dismantle it, thus ending its existence.