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 bandmates.
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 29 – Glenn Goins, one of the lead vocalists for the band Parliament-Funkadelic dies of Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age of 24.
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 “Canada Jam Festival”, featuring sets by the Doobie Brothers, Commodores, Kansas, Village People, Dave Mason, the Atlanta Rhythm Section and Triumph.
August 28 – 67,000 Funk fans assembled at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois to attend the first annual Funk Festival, billed as “One Nation Under A Groove”, featuring A Taste of Honey (band), Parlet, Con Funk Shun, the Bar-Kays, and Parliament-Funkadelic.
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 New York hotel room of a stab wound. Sid is arrested and charged with her murder.
October 24 – Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards pleads guilty to a reduced charge of possessing heroin in Toronto in 1977. The more serious charge of drug trafficking is dropped and Richards is given a one-year suspended sentence as well as ordered to play a charity concert for the blind.
October 29 – Michael Schenker plays his final show with UFO in Stanford, California before leaving the group to rejoin Scorpions.
November 21 – French pop star Dalida performed a concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
A now sober Alice Cooper releases the album From the Inside, which tells of his stay in rehab for alcoholism.
Aerosmith cuts a concert short after Steven Tyler suffers cuts to his face from a bottle that shatters upon hitting a stage monitor.
Donna Summer becomes the first female artist of the modern rock era to have the number one single (Mac Arthur Park) and album (Live and More) on Billboard charts simultaneously.
November 27 – Def Leppard’s permanent drummer Rick Allen joins the band at the age of 15.
December 2 The seventh edition of the OTI Festival, the Latin American spin-off of the Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Santiago, Chile. The winning country is Brazil, represented by Denisse de Kalafe with her song “El amor…Cosa tan rara” (Love…Such a strange thing)
Matthias Jabs joins Scorpions, replacing Uli Jon Roth.
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.
The Winterland Ballroom venue in San Francisco closes with a New Year’s Eve performance by the Grateful Dead, New Riders of the Purple Sage and the Blues Brothers.
Iron Maiden records a demo, consisting of four songs, at Spaceward Studios in Cambridge which would eventually become The Soundhouse Tapes.
Also in 1978
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 five 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.
November – Iron Maiden hires lead singer Paul Di’Anno.
New Edition formed in 1978 in Massachusetts, USA.