January 11 – BBC Radio 1 DJ Mike Read announces on air that he will not play the single “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood because of its suggestive lyrics. The BBC places a total ban on the record at about the same time.
January 21 – “Relax” reaches number one in the UK singles chart, despite the BBC ban; it will spend a total of 42 weeks in the Top 40.
January 27 – Michael Jackson’s scalp is burned during the filming of a Pepsi commercial and he is admitted to hospital. Around this time, Jackson also releases the title track from his Thriller album as the LP’s final single.
February 14 – Elton John marries studio engineer Renate Blauel. Joe Perry and Brad Whitford attend an Aerosmith concert and re-join the band, which embarks on a reunion tour “Back In The Saddle” later in the year.
February 16 – Jerry Lee Lewis surrenders to federal authorities on charges of income tax evasion. Lewis is later acquitted.
February 28 – Recovering from the scalp burns sustained a month earlier, Michael Jackson wins eight Grammy Awards out of twelve nominations, breaking the record for the most Grammys won in a single year. He wins seven for the critically acclaimed album Thriller and the other for his work on the audiobook for the film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
February 29 – German industrial band KMFDM is founded, and holds its first performance at the Grand Palais in Paris, France.
March 1 – Sting plays his last concerts with The Police at the end of the Synchronicity tour; the band takes a “pause” after the tour and only play a few special events together after this, until 2007, when they would organize a reunion tour.
March – Alice Cooper, who has not toured for his last two albums, parts ways with his longtime label Warner Bros. and goes on hiatus from the music industry. Cooper begins mulling over plans for a comeback, which he would carry out in 1986.
April – New York rock and roll magazine Trouser Press folds after a decade, publishing its 96th and final issue.
April 1 – In Los Angeles, Marvin Gaye is shot and killed during an argument with his father.
May 1 – Mick Fleetwood, of Fleetwood Mac, files for bankruptcy in the United States.
May 2 – Lionel Richie’s hit “Hello” becomes Motown’s first ever UK million-selling single.
May 5 – The Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde marries Simple Minds singer Jim Kerr. In Luxembourg, the Eurovision Song Contest 1984 is won by the Swedish entry, “Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley”, performed by the Herreys.
June 8 – Billy Joel performs at Wembley Arena; the concert is later broadcast on BBC Television in two parts.
June 16 – Frankie Goes to Hollywood begin a nine-week stay at the top of the UK singles chart with “Two Tribes”.
June 18 – At the climax of a Judas Priest concert at Madison Square Garden, fans begin ripping out the cushions from the seats and throwing them on stage. Judas Priest pay damages through insurance and are banned from Madison Square Garden for life over the incident.
June 25 – Prince releases his sixth album Purple Rain; the album sells over 20 million copies and gives Prince two US number one singles with “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy”.
July 1 – During his performance at the first ever Cornerstone Festival in Grayslake, Illinois, Steve Taylor jumps off the stage, breaking his ankle. Taylor hops back on stage and finishes his show. The next few shows on Taylor’s tour were performed from a wheel chair.
July 10 – The last original member of Menudo, Ricky Meléndez, leaves the group and is replaced by Ricky Martin. Meanwhile, Menudomania reaches Asia in 1984.
July 14 – Eddie Van Halen makes a special guest appearance at a concert by The Jacksons in Dallas, Texas, playing the guitar solo for “Beat It” live. Selena y los Dinos release their first album Mis Primeras Grabaciones.
August 9 – Iron Maiden kicks off the World Slavery Tour in Warsaw, Poland, with shows in Hungary and Yugoslavia soon to follow. This marks the first time a Western band has ever brought a full concert production behind the Iron Curtain.
August 10 – Red Hot Chili Peppers release their debut album The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
August 25 – Kathleen Battle makes her solo recital debut at the Salzburg Festival.
August 31 – Canadian music video channel MuchMusic begins broadcasting. The first video played is Rush’s “The Enemy Within”.
September 2 – Van Halen concludes its 1984 world tour with a show in Nuremberg, Germany as part of the Monsters of Rock festival tour. This would be the band’s last concert with David Lee Roth as lead singer until 2007.
September 7 – Janet Jackson elopes with fellow singer James DeBarge. The marriage would be annulled in 1985.
September 11 – Country singer Barbara Mandrell suffers serious injuries in a head-on automobile collision on a Tennessee highway. She will make a comeback after spending over a year rehabilitating.
September 14 – The first annual MTV Video Music Awards are held in New York City. Herbie Hancock wins the most awards with five, and The Cars take the highest prize of Video Of The Year for “You Might Think”. Much attention is garnered by Madonna’s controversial performance of her hit single “Like a Virgin” in which she rolls around on the stage, revealing lacy stockings and garters, and grinds her crotch against her veil.
September 21 – The first compact disc manufacturing plant in North America opens in Terre Haute, Indiana. CDs have previously had to be expensively imported from Japan or West Germany. Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. is designated as the first CD ever made in the United States.
October 1 – The Canadian music video series Video Hits premieres on CBC Television.
October 23 – A report on the Ethiopian famine by BBC journalist Michael Buerk is broadcast in the UK and receives an unprecedented public response. Among those watching is Bob Geldof, who is inspired to release a charity record to raise money to help with famine relief.
October 26 – Turner Broadcasting System launches Cable Music Channel, a music video channel intended to compete directly with MTV. The first video played is “I Love L.A.” by Randy Newman. The channel would only last 34 days.
November 20 – Michael Jackson receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame directly in front of Mann’s Chinese Theater. Jackson leaves after only three minutes at the request of security, as the crush of 5,000 onlookers becomes a safety concern.
November 25 – The Band Aid single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” is recorded at SARM Studios in Notting Hill, London, by a gathering of performers that includes Paul Young, Simon Le Bon, Bono, Phil Collins, Paul Weller, Sting, Boy George and Tony Hadley.
November 28 – The Bring Me Sunshine charity concert at the London Palladium, in memory of Eric Morecambe, includes musical performances by Kenny Ball & His Jazzmen, Des O’Connor and Ernie Wise.
December – Tipper Gore forms the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) in response to the “filth” she hears on her daughter’s Prince album Purple Rain.
December 1 – Frankie Goes to Hollywood become the first act to take their first three singles to the UK #1 position since Gerry & The Pacemakers in 1963, when “The Power of Love” tops the chart.
December 3 – Bob Geldof and Band Aid release the single “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, which becomes the fastest- selling single of all time in the UK.
December 8 – Mötley Crüe member Vince Neil is involved in a serious car accident. He is drunk at the time, and Razzle (Nicholas Dingley) of Hanoi Rocks is killed in the accident.
December 8 – Cyndi Lauper with fourth single from She’s So Unusual, “All Through the Night”, becoming the first woman in the 26-year history of Billboard Hot 100 to have four singles in the top five from the one album.
December 9 – The Jacksons conclude their Victory Tour with the last of six concerts at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The tour, which consisted of 55 shows over five months, has reportedly grossed $75 million, a new industry record.
December 11 – While on tour, Bucks Fizz’s tour bus crashes. All members of the group are injured and member Mike Nolan suffers brain damage after falling into a coma.
December 13 – George Harrison makes a rare public appearance, joining Deep Purple on stage in Sydney, Australia for their encore rendition of “Lucille”.
December 31 – Def Leppard’s drummer Rick Allen loses his left arm in a car wreck. The thirteenth annual New Year’s Rockin’ Eve special airs on ABC, with appearances by Jermaine Jackson, Ronnie Milsap, Night Ranger, Scandal, John Waite and Barry Manilow. UK singles sales this year are the second highest ever, after 1978.