January 23 – The first induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame takes place. The first artists to be honoured are Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley.
February 21 – The Dead Kennedys play their last concert at UC Davis in Davis, California, USA.
February 23 – In honor of the 20th anniversary of The Monkees‘ first appearance on television, MTV broadcasts Pleasant Valley Sunday, a 22-hour marathon of Monkees episodes.
March 15 – “Heartbeat ’86”, a charity concert for the Birmingham Children’s Hospital, is held at the NEC. Performers include Roy Wood, UB40, The Moody Blues, Electric Light Orchestra and Robert Plant. George Harrison makes a surprise appearance playing Johnny B. Goode with everyone at the end of the show.
March 27 – Van Halen opens its 5150 tour, the first with new lead singer Sammy Hagar.
April 5 – Jean-Michel Jarre performs his wide-scale open-air concert downtown Houston.
April 12 – Former Go’s-Go’s singer Belinda Carlisle marries actor Morgan Mason.
May 2 – Country music superstar Dolly Parton opens her Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, USA.
May 3 – At the age of 13, Sandra Kim becomes the youngest-ever performer to win the Eurovision Song Contest. The winning entry at the 31st annual contest (held in Bergen, Norway) is titled “J’aime la vie”, and is Belgium’s only winning entry to date.
May 5 – In New York, USA, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame chairman Ahmet Ertegün announces that Cleveland, Ohio has been chosen as the city where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will be built
May 10 – Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe marries actress Heather Locklear.
May 25 – Norwegian band a-ha wins a record-breaking eight awards at the MTV Video Music Awards show.
May 30 – The Monkees begin their highly successful 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour
June 4–15 – U2, Sting, Joan Baez, Jackson Browne, Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, the Neville Brothers, and Bryan Adams stage the A Conspiracy of Hope Tour in the United States on behalf of Amnesty International, playing five cities on the tour. The final show at New Jersey’s Giants Stadium is televised live, and the above-mentioned performers are joined by Joni Mitchell, Howard Jones, Yoko Ono, Third World, and Carlos Santana, as well as the other members of The Police.
June 30- Madonna releases her “True Blue” album, tops the charts in over 28 countries & becomes the best selling album of 1986.
June 6 – After 29 years, CHUM (AM) in Toronto, Canada drops its legendary Top 40 format in favor of gold-based adult contemporary music. Additionally, the final CHUM Chart is published (with Madonna’s “Live To Tell” the final number one song).
June 7 – Queen starts The Magic Tour which becomes their final tour with all original member and also their most successful tour.
June- Repulsion first records the demo ‘Slaughter of the Innocent, which would be remixed and released in 1989 as the landmark death metal/grindcore album “Horrified”.
June 27 – Black Flag play their last concert, in Detroit, Michigan, USA.
August 28 – Tina Turner receives a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.
September 27 – A tour bus carrying the heavy metal band Metallica crashes in Sweden, killing their influential bassist, Cliff Burton.
October – The Smiths play their final gig as a five-piece.
October 20 – Duran Duran begin their career as a three piece with the release of the “Notorious” single.
November 12 – John Farnham releases the album “Whispering Jack”, which becomes the highest selling album in Australia’s history, featuring the single from the previous year, “You’re the Voice”.
November 15 – The Beastie Boys release their first studio album Licensed To Ill, which goes onto become the first Hip Hop album to reach number one in the U.S.A. It eventually goes onto become one of the most influential and important Hip Hop albums of the 1980s.
December 31 – The fifteenth annual New Year’s Rockin’ Eve special airs on ABC, with appearances by The Bangles, Commodores, The Jets, Barry Manilow, Miami Sound Machine and Smokey Robinson.
Also in 1986
Jello Biafra/Dead Kennedys taken to court by the PMRC for content in their album Frankenchrist; Biafra wins.
Garth Brooks marries his first wife, Sandy.
Italian singer Ernesto Bonino loses his voice after a surgical intervention.
Alice Cooper returns to the mainstream after a two-year break. The Nightmare Returns Tour goes on to become one of the best selling tours of 1986.