1984 Rock Music Timeline
1984 Photo Gallery
1984 Jukebox Hits


1984 in Rock & Roll History

The first MTV Video Music Awards are held in New York City. Madonna's suggestive performance of "Like A Virgin" draws attention. Marvin Gaye is shot and killed in an argument with his father. Sting leaves the Police. The Band Aid single "Do They Know It's Christmas" organized by Bob Geldof and featuring Bono, Sting, Simon LeBon, Paul Weller and many others, is released to aid Ethiopian famine victims. Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen loses his left arm in a New Year's Eve car accident.

Top 40 Singles of 1984
Worldwide:

  1   Stevie Wonder
       I Just Called to Say I Love You
  2   George Michael - Careless Whisper
  3   Prince - When Doves Cry
  4   Cyndi Lauper
       Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
  5   Tina Turner
        What's Love Got to Do With It?
  6   Wham!
       Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
  7   Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Relax
  8   Phil Collins - Against All Odds
  9   Van Halen - Jump
10   Madonna - Like a Virgin
11   Ray Parker Jr - Ghostbusters
12   Kenny Loggins - Footloose
13   Lionel Richie - Hello
14   Michael Jackson - Thriller
15   Bruce Springsteen
       Dancing in the Dark
16   Prince - Purple Rain
17   Cyndi Lauper - Time After Time
18   Duran Duran - Wild Boys
19   Chaka Khan - I Feel For You
20   Frankie Goes To Hollywood
       Two Tribes
21   Laura Branigan - Self Control
22   Duran Duran - The Reflex
23   Queen - Radio Ga Ga
24   Rockwell - Somebody's Watching Me
25   U2 - Pride (In the Name of Love)
26   Yes - Owner of a Lonely Heart
27   The Cars - Drive
28   Denise Williams
       Let's Hear it For the Boy
29   Billy Ocean - Caribbean Queen
30   Wham! - Last Christmas
31   Alphaville - Big in Japan
32   Prince - Let's Go Crazy
33   Sade - Smooth Operator
34   Queen - I Want to Break Free
35   Wham! - Freedom
36   Madonna - Borderline
37   Cyndi Lauper - She Bop
38   Madonna - Holiday
39   Bronski Beat - Smalltown Boy
40   The Romantics
       Talking in Your Sleep 

Top 50 Albums of 1984
Worldwide:

1   Bruce Springsteen - Born In The USA
2   Prince - Purple Rain
3   Madonna - Like A Virgin
4   Bob Marley - Legend
5   Original Soundtrack - Footloose
6   U2 - The Unforgettable Fire
7   Wham! - Make It Big
8   Tina Turner - Private Dancer
9   Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual
10  Sade - Diamond Life
11   Van Halen - 1984 (mcmlxxxiv)
12   Huey Lewis & The News - Sports
13   Frankie Goes To Hollywood             Welcome To The Pleasuredome
14   Stevie Wonder & Dionne Warwick        The Woman In Red
15   The Smiths - The Smiths
16   Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense
17   The Pretenders - Learning To Crawl
18   Madonna - The First Album
19   Duran Duran - Arena
20   Queen - The Works
21   Elton John - Breaking Hearts
22   Metallica - Ride The Lightning
23   Deep Purple - Perfect Strangers
24   The Alan Parsons Project                Ammonia Avenue
25   Duran Duran
       Seven & The Ragged Tiger
26   Iron Maiden - Powerslave
27   Chicago - Chicago 17
28   Julio Iglesias - 1100 Bel Air Place
29   The Cars - Heartbeat City
30   John Lennon - Milk & Honey
31   David Bowie - Tonight
32   The Scorpions - Love At First Sting
33   Simple Minds - Sparkle In The Rain
34   The Thompson Twins - Into The Gap
35   Dire Straits
       Alchemy, Dire Straits Live
36   The Jackson 5 - Victory
37   Billy Idol - Rebel Yell
38   Don Henley
       Building The Perfect Beast
39   Mike Oldfield - Discovery
40   Echo & The Bunnymen - Ocean Rain
41   Culture Club
       Waking Up With The House On Fire
42   Depeche Mode - Some Great Reward
43   Original Soundtrack - Ghostbusters
44   REM - Reckoning
45   Alison Moyet - Alf
46   Bronski Beat - The Age Of Consent
47   Minutemen
       Double Nickels on the Dime
48   Matt Bianco
       Whose Side Are You On
49   Paul McCartney
       Give My Regards To Broad Street
50   Rush - Grace Under Pressure

All chart information above is from Tsort and uses a formula based on splitting the world into four regions based on sales, the USA (about 35%), other English speaking countries (about 20%), the rest of Europe (about 25%) and the rest of the world (about 20%).  We feel this is the best methodology available to show the global impact of a song or album. More detailed chart info is available on the Tsort website. Actual US & UK charts are linked at the bottom of each year timeline on this site.



Despite all of the cliches, rock & roll, when it's great, is amazing. It changes your life; it changed our life."
- U2 guitarist The Edge
Reformulated 1970's superstars Yes have a #1 US, #28 UK hit single with "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and the best selling album of their career.   (more)
Jan '84
Jan '84
Liverpool dance/pop band Frankie Goes To Hollywood have a #1 UK, #10 US hit single with "Relax" off their debut album.  (more)
Jan '84
The debut album from New Jersey band Bon Jovi is released and the single "Runaway" squeaks into the US Top 40 at #39. (more) 
Jan '84
Liverpool post-punk band Echo & the Bunnymen have their second UK Top Ten single with "Killing Moon" from the bands #4 UK LP Ocean Rain.  (more)
Jan '84
After losing two band members to drug overdoses, The Pretenders return with the #5 US, #11 UK album Learning To Crawl and have a #5 US, #17 UK single with "Back On The Chain Gang". (more)
Michael Jackson is rushed to the hospital after his hair catches fire from the pyrotechnics used during  the filming of a Pepsi commercial.  (more) 
Jan '84
Feb '84
Manchester UK band The Smiths release their debut album which goes to #2 in the UK. In the US their impact is limited to college radio.
(more)
Feb '84
Van Halen have the only #1 single of their career with the synth heavy "Jump". The album, 1984, is their sixth and goes to #2 US, #15 UK.  (more)
Feb '84
Wierd Al Yankovic hits #12 US with his single "Eat It". The shot-for-shot parody video of Michael Jackson's "Beat It" gets heavy MTV rotation.
(more)
The soundtrack to the movie Footloose is released, generating two US #1 singles. The album goes to #1 US for nine weeks. (more)
Feb '84
Mar '84
Queens, NY rappers Run DMC release their debut album which charts at #53 US. The album features a groundbreaking mix of hip-hop and hard rock that would prove influential.
(more)
Mar '84
The movie This Is Spinal Tap is released. The mockumentary about a fictional english band does poorly in initial release, but grows in popularity on video in the 90's. (more)
Mar '84
Essex, UK synth band Depeche Mode release the single "People are People" and have a worldwide hit #4 UK, #13 US. (more)
LA glam metal band Ratt have a US #12 single "Round and Round" and a US Top Ten album with their debut.  (more)
Mar '84
Mar '84
Boston, MA band The Cars release their fifth album Heartbeat City. The album goes to #3 in the US led by the #1 US single "Drive" (#5 UK).  (more) 
Apr '84
Soul singer Marvin Gaye is shot to death by his father in his Los Angeles home following an argument. (more)
May '84
Tina Turner releases her comeback album, Private Dancer, which goes to #3 US, #2 UK. She also becomes the oldest female artist to have a #1 single with "Whats Love Got to Do With It" at 44 years old.  (more)
May '84
The single "For All The Girls I've Loved Before" goes to #5 US and #1 on the country charts, in this unlikely collaboration between Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias.
(more) 
May '84
German heavy metal band The Scorpions hit #6 US, #17 UK with their album Love At First Sting, driven by the single "Rock You Like A Hurricane".  (more)
May '84
The third album by NY metal band Twisted Sister goes to #15 US, following heavy MTV play for the videos "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock".
(more)
Jun '84
Jun '84
Prince releases the soundtrack album from his film Purple Rain which goes #1 US for 25 weeks, #17 UK. The LP contains four US Top Ten singles, including two number ones, "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy".  (more)
Born In The USA is the seventh album by Bruce Springsteen and spends the year trading the #1 spot with the Prince album Purple Rain. The album generates seven Top Ten singles in the US. (more) 
Jul '84
The single "White Lines (Don't Do It)" is released by Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel and goes to #7 UK, #47 US R&B.   (more) 
Jul '84
Minneapolis, MN trio Husker Du release the two record concept album Zen Arcade. An influential album in the move from punk to alternative rock.
(more)
Jul '84
Jul '84
NYC band Scandal have a US Top Ten single with "The Warrior" off their second album. (more)
San Pedro, CA punk band The Minutemen release their fourth album on SST Records, Double Nickles On The Dime. (more)
Aug '84
LA band the Red Hot Chili Peppers release their debut album, produced by Gang of Four's Andy Gill. The album enjoys college radio success.
(more)
Aug '84
Canadian singer Corey Hart releases his debut album and has a US Top Ten hit with the single "Sunglasses at Night". (more)
Sep '84
The Stevie Wonder produced soundtrack for the movie The Woman in Red gives him a #1 hit in the US and UK with "I Just Called To Say I Love You".  (more) 
Sep '84
English rock veteran John Waite scores a #1 US, #7 UK single as a solo artist with "Missing You". (more)
Sep '84
The Talking Heads concert movie Stop Making Sense is released featuring lead singer David Byrne in an oversized suit.  (more)
Oct '84
Madonna causes a stir at the first annual MTV Video Music Awards with her suggestive performance of "Like a Virgin".   (more)
Oct '84
John Lennon's son Julian Lennon has two US Top Ten singles off his debut album "Valotte" and "Too Late For Goodbyes" #6 UK. (more)
Oct '84
Produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois , the fourth U2 album
Oct '84
English pop duo Wham! make it big with their second album #1 US and UK. They have three #1 singles and four top five in both the US and UK. (more) 
Oct '84
Minneapolis, MN punk band The Replacements diversify their sound on their third album Let It Be on Twintone(more)
Nov '84
Madonna's second album Like A Virgin is released and goes right to the top in both the US and UK.  (more)
Dec '84
Bob Geldof of the Boomtown Rats and Midge Ure of Ultravox organize a charity supergroup to raise money for Ethopian famine relief and score a #1 UK single with "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (more)
Nov '84
UK R&B singer Billy Ocean goes to #4 in the US and UK with the single "Caribean Queen".  (more)
Dec '84
Political wife Tipper Gore is offended by her young daughters Purple Rain album and organizes the Parents Music Resource Council to advocate for warning stickers on albums. (more)
Dec '84
Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen loses his arm in a car crash. He spends the next year learning to drum on a custom set with extensive foot pedals.(more)
Jul '84
Boston, MA boy band New Edition, break into the US Top Ten with their second album featuring the #4 US single "Cool It Now".
(more)
Unforgettable Fire goes #1 UK, #12 US. The single "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" hits #3 UK, #33 US. (more)
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