January 1981 - Blondie's fifth album, Autoamerican, goes Top Ten in the US and UK led by two #1 singles, the reggae influenced "The Tide is High" and the Rap influenced "Rapture". February 1981 - UK based American band, The Stray Cats, capitalize on the UK Rockabilly revival with their debut album which goes to #6 UK and generates three UK Top Twenty singles. February 1981 - The debut solo album from Genesis lead singer Phil Collins goes to #1 UK and #7 US featuring the lead single "In The Air Tonight".February 1981 - Guitarist Michael Bloomfield dies of a drug overdose in San Francisco. Bloomfield played with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, helped Dylan go electric on Highway 61 Revisited, and led the band Electric Flag.March 1981 - UK rock band The Who release their first album following the death of drummer Keith Moon. The album, Face Dances, goes to #2 UK, #4 US.March 1981 - Champaign, IL rock band REO Speedwagon continue to move to a more pop sound and have a #1 single with "Keep On LovingYou" and a #1 album in the US (#7 UK) with Hi Infidelity.April 1981 - 1960's New Christy Minstrels alum, Kim Carnes, hits #1 US, #10 UK with the single "Bette Davis Eyes".April 1981 - American guitarist Eddie Van Halen and TV sitcom star Valerie Bertinelli wed.April 1981 - Scottish singer Sheena Easton goes to #1 in the US, #3 UK with the single "Morning Train".April 1981 - Diana Ross leaves Motown for RCA for $20 million, the most lucrative recording deal to date. May 1981 - Jacksonville, FL band .38 Special combine southern rock with arena rock and score a US Top 20 album led by the single "Hold on Loosely". May 1981 - On their fourth album, UK band Squeeze replace keyboardist Jools Holland with Paul Carrack and score their first US hit with "Tempted".May 1981 - British old timers, The Moody Blues, reach #1 US, #7 UK with their album Long Distance Voyager and an AOR friendly sound.May 1981 - Boston, MA  rocker Billy Squier has a US Top Five album Don't Say No led by the single "The Stroke".May 1981 - Reggae superstar Bob Marley dies of melanoma in a Miami hospital on May 11th.June 1981 - UK vocalist Kim Wilde's debut album, written and produced by her brother and father, goes to #3 UK (#86 US) led by the #2 UK single "Kids in America".June 1981 - The debut album by Birmingham, England band Duran Duran goes to #3 in the UK, but goes nowhere in the US.July 1981 - UK ska revivalists The Specials have a UK #1 single with the song "Ghost Town".July 1981 - The seventh album by San Francisco band Journey, Escape, goes to #1 US, #32 UK led by three US Top Ten singles including "Open Arms" #2.July 1981 - Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks releases her first solo album, Bella Donna. The album's three US Top 20 hits send it to #1 US, #11 UK in Sept.July 1981 - American singer Pat Benatar's third album, Precious Time, is released with hits "Promises in the Dark" and "Fire and Ice" the album goes to #1 US, #30 UK.July 1981 - The debut album from Los Angeles, CA band The Go Go's - Beauty and the Beat is released. It is the first album written and played by an all female band to top the US charts.July 1981 - Foreigner 4 is the band's first #1 US album (#5 UK) featuring the hits "Urgent" and "Jukebox Hero". July 1981 - UK post punk band the Psychedelic Furs hit #30 UK, #89 US with their second album Talk, Talk, Talk produced by Steve Lillywhite, along with the single "Pretty In Pink".August 1981 - American soft rock singer / songwriter Dan Fogleberg scores three US Top Ten hits off his sixth album Innocent Age.August 1981 - The Rolling Stones album Tattoo You goes to #1 US, #2 UK. This would be the last of a string of nine straight #1 albums in the US dating back to 1971's Sticky Fingers.August 1981 - Lionel Richie and Diana Ross team up on the single "Endless Love" #2 US, #3 UK.August 1981 - MTV (Music Television) launches its 24 hour music cable channel  on 300 US cable TV systems. By 1983 MTV is available on 2,000 US cable systems. August 1981 - American based, Australian actor and singer Rick Springfield has a #1 US, #43 UK hit with the song "Jessie's Girl". September 1981 - The 10th album from Philadelphia duo Hall and Oates, Private Eyes #5 US, #8 UK, generates two US #1 singles, the title track and "I Can't Go For That".September 1981 - American duo Simon and Garfunkel hold a free reunion concert in New York's Central Park with over 500,000 attending. September 1981 - UK synthpop duo Soft Cell have a #1 UK and #8 US hit with their cover of Gloria Jones song "Tainted Love".September 1981 - The Genesis album Abacab goes #1 UK, #7 US and continues their move away from progressive to a more pop sound. October 1981 - UK band Depeche Mode release their debut album, Speak and Spell, which goes Top Ten in the UK, led by two Top 20 singles. The album fails to dent the US charts.October 1981 - Ex-UK punk Billy Idol's debut solo effort generates MTV hits with"Dancing With Myself" and his cover of "Mony Mony".October 1981 - Rush release the live album Exit Stage Left recorded in Scotland and Montreal, which goes Top Ten in the US and UK. October 1981 - Veteran Boston, MA rockers The J.Geils Band release the album Freeze Frame which goes to #1 in the US, #12 UK driven by the #4 US title track and #1 US single "Centerfold".October 1981 - The Police release their fourth album Ghost In The Machine which is their 3rd straight #1 in the UK and reaches #2 US.November 1981 - L.A. metal band Motley Crue release their self produced debut album Too Fast For Love. It peaks at #77 US. November 1981 - AC/DC have their first #1 album in the US, #3 UK with "For Those About to Rock We Salute You".November 1981 - Former member of Los Angeles girl group The Runaways, Joan Jett's second solo album - I Love Rock and Roll - has a #1 US, #4 UK title track and goes to #2 on the US album charts.November 1981 - Canadian band Loverboy go Top Ten in the US with their second album Get Lucky fueled by the single "Working for the Weekend".December 1981 - Australian pop singer Olivia Newton John is #1 US for ten weeks (#7 UK) with the single "Physical". December 1981 - UK synthpop band The Human League release their album Dare which goes on to #1 UK, #3 US and generates the #1 worldwide smash single "Don't You Want Me".
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