Curtis Ousley (a.k.a. King Curtis) is born in Fort Worth, Texas.
Nesuhi Ertegun, Ahmet's brother, joins Atlantic and proceeds to develop a legendary jazz roster that includes John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus and the Modern Jazz Quartet.
Phil Everly serves as a pallbearer at Buddy Holly's funeral.
Pete Seeger is signed to Columbia Records by his friend and A&R man, John Hammond. His first album for the label is 'Story Songs.'
Neil Sedaka hits #4 in the US with "Calendar Girl".
The Beatles arrive in America
One Bad Apple (The Osmond) was a hit.
"50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," by Paul Simon, reaches #1 for the first of three weeks. It is the biggest single of his career.
Queen hits #9 with "Bohemian Rhapsody".
David Bowie's 'Station to Station' enters the album charts. It is the highest-charting album of Bowie's career, peaking at #3.
"The News That Rocked '81" is MTV's first year-end hour-long special with interviews and concert specials.