January 14 – The Sex Pistols play their final show (until a 1996 reunion) at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom
January 16 – Elton John appears on this week’s People Magazine without his trademark glasses. John would still wear glasses occasionally for the next ten years until wearing them permanently again
January 21 – As Saturday Night Fever becomes a cultural phenomenon, the soundtrack hits #1 on the Billboard Charts, where it will stay until July
January 25 – Electric Light Orchestra kick off their “Out of the Blue” world tour in Honolulu, Hawaii. Bob Dylan makes his directorial debut in the surrealist film Renaldo and Clara, shot during his Rolling Thunder Revue tour.
January 28 – By request, Ted Nugent autographs his name into a fan’s arm with a bowie knife in Philadelphia
February 4 – Elton John appears as the guest star on The Muppet Show.
February 10 – Van Halen debuts with self-titled album; Eddie Van Halen introduces a powerful new sound and technique to world, while David Lee Roth is ushered in as the front man
March 18 – California Jam II is held at the Ontario Motor Speedway in California. Over 300,000 fans come to see Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, Santana, Dave Mason, Foreigner, Heart and more
April 22 – In the Eurovision Song Contest in Paris, France, victory goes to Israel’s entry “A-Ba-Ni-Bi”, performed by Izhar Cohen & The Alphabeta
The “One Love Peace Concert” is held in Kingston, Jamaica, headlined by Bob Marley, making his first concert appearance since December 1976. Steve Martin performs the original “King Tut” on Saturday Night Live; also that night, The Blues Brothers make their first appearance on the show.
May 6 – The Knack is formed (first album released in 1979)
May 13 – Barry Gibb becomes the only songwriter in history to have written 4 consecutive #1 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart
May 18 – The Buddy Holly Story, starring Gary Busey, is released. It would win the Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Best Adaptation Score, and earn a nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Busey) and Best Sound
May 25 – In a performance used for The Kids Are Alright, The Who play their last show with Keith Moon
June 10 – The Rolling Stones begin their 25-date US summer tour in Lakeland, Florida
June 13 – The Cramps play a free concert for patients at the Napa State Mental Hospital
June 16 – The film adaptation of the musical Grease, opens in theaters and is a box office hit
June 20 – Grace Slick splits with Jefferson Starship the day after a disastrous concert in Hamburg, Germany, in which a heavily intoxicated Slick verbally abused the crowd and groped various fans and band mates
June 29 – Peter Frampton is nearly killed in a car accident in The Bahamas, suffering multiple broken bones, a concussion, and muscle damage
July 1 – The first Texxas Jam is held over the July 4 long weekend at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. The first day features Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush, Heart, Journey, Head East, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Eddie Money, Van Halen and Walter Egan. Sunday consists of Willie Nelson headlining his sixth annual Fourth of July picnic
July 19 – Dead Kennedys play their first concert, at the Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco, California
July 21 – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, a much-hyped musical film starring Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees performing the music of The Beatles, opens in theaters. The film is savaged by critics and proves a box office disappointment
July 30 – Thin Lizzy officially announces that Gary Moore has replaced Brian Robertson on guitar
August 26 – 80,000 concertgoers attend Mosport Speedway in Ontario for the first “Canada Jam Festival”, featuring sets by the Doobie Brothers, Commodores, Kansas, Village People, Dave Mason, the Atlanta Rhythm Section and Triumph
September 7 – The Who drummer Keith Moon dies in a central London flat after a prescription drug overdose at the age of 32
September 14–16 – The Grateful Dead perform three shows in Giza, Egypt, very close to the Sphinx and Great Pyramid
October 12 – Nancy Spungen, the American girlfriend of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious, is found dead in a hotel room of a stab wound. Sid is arrested and charged with her murder
October 24 – Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards pleads guilty to the charge of possessing heroin in Toronto in 1977
October 29 – Michael Schenker plays his final show with UFO in Stanford, California before leaving the group to rejoin Scorpions
November – A now sober Alice Cooper releases the album From the Inside, which tells of his stay in rehab for alcoholism
November 25 – Aerosmith cuts a concert short after Steven Tyler suffers cuts to his face from a bottle that shatters upon hitting a stage monitor
November 27 – Def Leppard’s permanent drummer Rick Allen joins the band at the age of 15
December – Matthias Jabs joins Scorpions, replacing Uli Jon Roth.
December 31 – The seventh annual New Year’s Rockin’ Eve special airs on ABC, with performances by Barry Manilow, Village People, Chuck Mangione, Tanya Tucker and Rick James
CBS airs New Year’s Eve with Guy Lombardo for the final time, nearly two years after the band leader’s death and ending a 22 year run that began in 1956
Kenny Rogers continues his highly successful solo career with the single (and album) “The Gambler” and will go on to star in no less than 5 movies based around the song.
In the UK, singles sales are at their all-time high this year, boosted by the simultaneous peak of the disco and punk phenomena and the success of singles from the movie Grease.
Mozambique holds its first National Dance Festival, involving half a million people.