Home Decades 1980s 1980


8 December - John Lennon is shot dead outside the Dakota Building, his home in New York.


01 – In Northern Quebec (Canada), a fire kills 45 people at the Opemiska Club after a young man sets fire to party decorations as a prank.

02President Jimmy Carter tells the Senate it should not ratify the SALT nuclear arms treaty with the USSR until the Soviets withdraw from Afghanistan.

02 – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission reports that 38 of the 68 functioning nuclear power plants in the US have failed to meet the January 1 deadlines for changes in equipment and procedures. These improvements were mandated in response to the accident at Three Mile Island.

02 – Early Rock & Roll artist Larry Williams dies in Los Angeles from a single gunshot through his right temple. Police say Williams took his own life, but friends think he was murdered (b. 10 May 1935).

03 – Author of Born Free and naturalist Joy Adamson is murdered at a game park near Nairobi, Kenya.

03 – Director Alfred Hitchcock receives a knighthood.

04President Carter responds to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan by reneging on a deal to send 17,000,000 metric tons of grain to Russia.

07Indira Gandhi is re-elected in India by a landslide vote.

08Soviet troops reportedly in control of most of Afghanistan. President Carter describes the situation as the greatest threat to peace since World War II.

09 – 63 people are beheaded in Saudi Arabia for attacking the Grand Mosque in Mecca last November.

14 – Two hijackers hold hostages aboard an Alitalia airliner in Palermo.

15 – The UN General Assembly, NATO and the European Community call for the immediate withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. The USSR remains unmoved.

16Paul McCartney begins ten days in a Japanese prison after half a pound of marijuana is found in his suitcase at Tokyo airport. After the ten days behind bars, he is deported back to Britain.

17 – IRA claims responsibility for the bombing of a commuter train near Belfast.

18 – The price of gold rockets to $100 US an ounce.

19 – On trial for printing $1 million in counterfeit $100 US bills, Sunny Brunson swears he intended to wallpaper his bathroom walls with the funny money, not spend it.

20 – The Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Los Angeles Rams 31-19 in Super Bowl XIV. Steelers QB Terry Bradshaw is named MVP.

20 – Many people die after a grandstand collapses at a bullring in Sincelejo, Colombia.

20 – President Carter announces a US boycott of the Summer Olympics in Moscow in protest at the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

20 – Yugoslav President Tito has left leg amputated.

22 – Dissident Russian nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov is stripped of honours and exiled from Moscow after criticising the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

23 – Yuri Stefanov of the Soviet Gitlis Academic Ballet defects during a performance in Italy.

25 – Several men claiming to be Black Muslims hijack Delta Flight 1116 from Atlanta to New York City and reroute the plane to Cuba, where they are arrested.

26Frank Sinatra performs in Rio de Janeiro to a crowd of 175,000.

27 – Rhodesia opposition leader Robert Mugabe makes a triumphant return to his home country after five years in exile.

29 – After hiding for three months, six Americans escape Tehran, Iran. The US Embassy had been seized leaving the Americans trapped in Iran. In collaboration with the Canadian Embassy, the Americans were able to leave posing as Canadian diplomats.

29 – Comedian Jimmy Durante dies at age 86 in Los Angeles.

30 – Professor Longhair, King of New Orleans piano, dies (b. December 19 1918).

31 – Terrorists seize the Spanish embassy in Guatemala City. 41 are killed when police storm the compound and fire sweeps through the building.


01 – After a drug overdose, Ann Beverly (mother of Sid Vicious) is hospitalised.

01Wishbone Ash appear live at Croydon Fairfield Halls.

02 – A Senator from New Jersey, a representative from Pennsylvania, and the governor-elect of Louisiana are among the politicians accused of accepting bribes in two FBI undercover operations known as Abscam and Brilab.

02Iggy Pop plays Aylesbury Friars.

04Studio 54 owners Rubell and Schrager enjoy a big farewell bash before surrendering to authorities to begin 3½ year prison sentences for tax evasion.

05 – An avalanche buries the Italian alpine village of Cervinia.

06 – Bolshoi Ballet teacher Sulamith Messerer and son Mikhail defect while on tour in Japan.

07 – Already convicted of two murders, Ted Bundy is convicted today of the murder of Kimberly Diane Leach.

07 – Police wind up a £1 million publicity campaign to catch the Yorkshire Ripper after little useful information has been collected.

08 – Two small planes collide in midair over LAX.

08David Bowie and his wife Angie are granted a divorce under Swiss law after 10 years of marriage. Angie’s settlement is $750,000 over ten years.

08Joy Division and Killing Joke at London University.

08The Ramones appear at Colchester SU Dance Hall.

10 – Police raid the Queen’s Hotel in Southsea (UK) where The Clash are staying. They take away various ‘substances’ for analysis. Joe Strummer is found in bed reading The Bible.

12 – US Serial killer Ted Bundy is given a third death sentence by an Orlando judge.

12 – In Italy, the Red Brigade murder Judge Vittorio Bachelet after he gives a lecture on terrorism.

12 – Actress Christina Ricci is born.

13Thin Lizzy leader Phil Lynott marries Caroline Crowther, daughter of entertainer Leslie Crowther.

13 – Actor David Janssen, star of The Fugitive and Harry O, dies.

13 – The Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, NY, formally open.

13 – Kristy Powell, American Olympic gymnast, is born.

13The Clash at Southampton Top Rank.

14 – With atypical St Valentine’s Day romance, Lou Reed marries Sylvia Morales at a ceremony in his Greenwich Village apartment in New York. It is Reed’s second marriage.

14The Tourists perform at the Ipswich Gaumont.

17 – Buddy Baker wins the Daytona 500.

17Ringo Starr heads to Mexico City to start filming Caveman and is strip-searched by customs officials. There is no script for Ringo to learn as the movie contains only 15 words of dialogue.

17 – Composer Jerry Fielding dies.

18 – PM Pierre Trudeau retains power in Canada.

18 – Alison Rachel Fitch, New Zealand Olympic swimmer, is born.

18The Pretenders at Tiffanys, Edinburgh.

19AC/DC vocalist Bon Scott, dies in London. He had spent the night on a drinking spree watching Protex at a Camden Town Music Machine gig and had fallen asleep in a car in Dulwich, South London. Cause of death is given as “acute alcoholic poisoning”. Scott is flown back to Australia and cremated.

19Squeeze play the Shrewsbury Music Hall.

20 – Alice Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of President Teddy Roosevelt, dies at age 96.

20 – Nicholas Roeg’s Bad Timing movie opens in New York. It stars Art Garfunkel in his third major film role.

21 – 13 killed in crash at Sydney Airport, Australia.

21Dexy’s Midnight Runners perform at Demelza’s in Penzance.

22 – Martial law is declared in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, following protests against the Soviet invasion.

23 – Canadian Olympic gymnast Yvonne Tousek is born.

23 – Jacob “killer” Miller, vocalist with reggae band Inner Circle, dies in a car accident.

24 – Greek tanker explodes and sinks in the Aeolian Sea, spilling 37 million gallons of oil.

27 – A Boeing 707 crashes and explodes at Manila airport.

27 – Chelsea Clinton, daughter of future US president Bill Clinton, is born.

29Buddy Holly‘s glasses and the Big Bopper‘s wristwatch, worn when their plane crashed in 1959, are discovered in old police files by the sheriff of Mason City, Iowa.


04 – Nationalist leader Robert Mugabe is elected prime minister after a landslide victory in the Rhodesian elections, ending white rule. Mugabe returned to the country only six weeks before the election, after spending 10 years in exile.

10 – “Scarsdale Diet” doctor, Herman Tarnower is murdered.

10 – The National Enquirer reveals that actor Steve McQueen has cancer. He will pass away on 7 November.

20 – The boat from which Radio Caroline – Britain’s first Pirate Radio station – transmitted its illegal programs during the 1960s, sinks after gales sweep her onto a sandbank in the Thames estuary.

24 – Archbishop Oscar Romero, a vocal defender of human rights in strife-torn El Salvador is assassinated while saying mass in a San Salvador church. Over 30 people are killed by bombs and sniper fire during his funeral six days later.

24 – The Italian Consulate in London is destroyed by fire, following an explosion.

25 – Jean Harris, the headmistress of a US private school, is indicted for the murder of Scarsdale Diet Dr Herman Tarnower.

1980alexanderkielland27 – An oil platform used as a floating hotel for North Sea rig workers capsizes with half the 200 men aboard feared dead. Most are trapped inside as one of five supporting legs buckles and the Alexander Kielland collapses into the sea.

27 – British Royal family receives increases in income

30 – Shooting breaks out at the funeral mass for Archbishop Romero in San Salvador. 39 people are killed

31 – Olympic gold medallist Jesse Owens dies, age 66


02 – Black youths riot after a raid on a club in the St Paul’s district of Bristol, England.

02Pink Floyd‘s Another Brick In The Wall is banned by the South African government after black children protesting against inferior education, adopt the song as an anthem.

05 – The world’s rarest stamp, the 1c black on magenta British Guiana of 1856, is sold in New York for $850,000 (approximately £500,000).

07President Carter breaks off diplomatic relations with Iran and bans trade between the two countries.

07 – A flood of Cuban refugees leave their homeland, with Fidel Castro‘s blessing. Over the next two months, over 100,000 enter the US, most of them through Florida. The US initially welcomes them, then – fearing Castro is using the exodus as a means to empty out his prisons – takes steps to screen the refugees.

10 – Soviet cosmonauts dock Soyuz 35 with Salyut 6 space station.

10 – The border between Spain and Gibraltar is opened again, having been closed since 1969.

18 – Following the troubled years after its declaration of independence, Zimbabwe becomes truly independent.

21 – Rosie Ruiz breaks marathon record for women in Boston Marathon.

24 – Desert fiasco ends the failed US hostage rescue bid in Iran as a helicopter collides with a C-130 troop transport. Eight crack American anti-terrorist troops die in the accident, and five are injured.

26 – US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance resigns in opposition to the military rescue attempt of the hostages. Senator Edmund Muskie takes his place.

29 – Rosie Ruiz is stripped of her Boston Marathon title after investigation shows she did not run the entire race. Jacqueline Gereau is named the new winner.

27 – The siege in the Dominican embassy ends when 16 guerrillas are flown to Havana with 11 diplomats, who are then released.

29 – A “Washington for Jesus” rally brings 200,000 evangelical Christians to the nation’s capital.

29 – Alfred Hitchcock, master of suspense, dies aged 88 at his home in Bel Air.

30 – Princess Beatrix is crowned Queen of the Netherlands.

30 – Terrorists seize the Iranian embassy in London and hold 26 people hostage, demanding the release of political prisoners in Iran.


03 – Richard Carter attempts robbery across the street from a Detroit police station and is promptly arrested.

03 – ‘Genuine Risk’ wins the 106th Kentucky Derby.

04 – Yugoslav President Marshal Tito dies at the age of 87.

05 – The SAS (Special Air Service) makes a spectacular assault on the terrorist-occupied Iranian embassy in Knightsbridge killing four of the five gunmen who took over the building six days ago and rescuing the surviving 19 hostages (pictured below).


08 – The World Health Organisation formally declares that smallpox has been eradicated.

09 – A cargo ship rams the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over the Tampa River in Florida. 33 lives are lost.

10 – A Bahamas gunboat detains a Cuban fishing boat and is then attacked by Cuban fighter planes which sink the gunboat, killing 4 people.

11 – Two men arrested after climbing Statue of Liberty in protest on behalf of convicted murderer and Black Panther Geronimo Pratt.

13 – A military coup in Uganda ousts President Godfrey Binaisa.

16 – L.A. Lakers win NBA Championship over Philadelphia 76ers, 4 games to 2.

17 – EPA says some residents of Love Canal, NY may have suffered chromosome damage (and higher risk of birth defects and cancer) due to toxic waste dumping there.

17 – Drummer Peter Criss leaves KISS (of which he was a founder member). He is replaced by Eric Carr.

17/19 – Race riots in the Liberty City area of Miami, Florida leave fourteen dead, 300 injured, and cause $100 million in damage. The riots erupt after an all-white jury acquits four former Miami policemen in the fatal beating of a black man.

18 – Mt St Helens, a Washington State volcano dormant since 1857, erupts with an explosion 2500 times greater than the Hiroshima bomb. The blast blows the top of the mountain completely off and sets off a series of fires, mudslides and floods in the 120-square-mile-area surrounding the volcano. Fifteen people are killed, and at least 40 are listed as missing.

18 – Ian Curtis, the vocalist with Joy Division, hangs himself in his Macclesfield (Manchester, UK) home.

20 – Irate residents of Love Canal, NY briefly take two federal officials hostage.

21President Carter declares Love Canal a disaster area and EPA proceeds with evacuation of residents.

21 – New government headed by Park Choong Hoon named in South Korea, as violence continues.

21 – Joe Strummer is arrested in Hamburg after a fracas at a Clash concert during which he hit a fan on the head with his Telecaster.

22 – TV talk show host Phil Donahue marries former That Girl star Marlo Thomas.

23 – Mt. St. Helens erupts again, in an explosion which is compared to a hydrogen bomb blast.

23 – Four men break into prison at Lorton, VA and kill inmate Douglas Boney.

24 – New York Islanders defeat Philadelphia Flyers to win pro hockey’s Stanley Cup, 4 games to 2.

25 – Johnny Rutherford wins the Indianapolis 500 for the third time.


06 – For the second time in a week US military forces are put on nuclear alert when a computer malfunction reports Soviet missiles are heading for America.

07 – US writer Henry Miller dies.

10 – Comedian Richard Pryor almost dies in a freebasing accident after a mixture of cocaine and ether explodes in his face.

12 – Japanese Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira dies.

12 – Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan says that if elected he would submit himself to periodic medical examinations and resign if serious evidence of senility or mental deterioration were detected.

13 – Mt. St. Helens in Washington state erupts for third time.

17 – American owned Cruise Missiles are to be based at a US Air Force airfield at Greenham Common, near Newbury in Berkshire and later at a disused military base at Molesworth, Cambridgeshire. This follows NATO’s decision to counter Soviet SS-20 rockets now being moved into Eastern Europe.

17 – Tennis star Venus Williams is born.

19 – Iraqi security forces shoot dead three gunmen who attack the British embassy in Baghdad. The unknown attackers, armed with automatic weapons and grenades, burst into the embassy grounds and set off explosions near the main entrances but fail to enter the building.

21 – Bert Kaempfert dies.

23 – Sanjay Gandhi (son and heir of Indira Gandhi) dies in an air crash in India.

27President Carter signs a law requiring draft registration by men nineteen to twenty years of age, although no draft is actually contemplated.

28 – Fred Astaire weds jockey Robyn Smith.


04 – Evonne Goolagong Cawley defeats Chris Evert Lloyd to win Wimbledon women’s singles title.

05 – Bjorn Borg of Sweden becomes the first tennis player to win five successive men’s singles titles at Wimbledon.

05 – John and Tracy Austin become first brother-sister team to win Wimbledon mixed doubles title.

11 – One American hostage in Teheran is freed on medical grounds.

14 – The Republican National Convention nominates Ronald Reagan for president and George Bush for vice-president.

14President Carter‘s brother Billy becomes a registered foreign agent of the Libyan government after receiving a $220,000 “loan” from the Libyans. Two weeks later the president admits having given Billy classified information dealing with Libya.

17 – Zenko Suzuki is new Japanese prime minister.

18 – India launches an artificial test satellite weighing 78lbs from Sriharikota Island, 62 miles from Madras.

1980moscowolympics19 – XXII Olympic games open in Moscow. The games are boycotted by the USA and 64 other nations in protest at the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

21 – Heatwave blankets much of the USA from New York City to the Southwest.

22 – Delta Airlines jet hijacked to Cuba, then proceeds to Puerto Rico.

24 – Peter Sellers dies in London, a fortnight after his latest film Being There is hailed as one of his finest comedy performances.

25 – Violinist Helen Mintiks, a member of the Berlin Symphony, is murdered while leaving New York City’s Metropolitan Opera House.

26 – Deadly fire breaks out in Chicago’s Union Station.

27 – The former Shah of Iran dies in a Cairo military hospital, aged 60.

29 – USS Midway and a Panamanian freighter collide near the Philippines.

30 – Israeli Knesset formally declares all of Jerusalem the nation’s capital.

30 – Vanuatu (New Hebrides) gains independence from Britain and France.


01 – Passenger train derails en route from Dublin to Cork, Ireland. 17 people are killed.

02 – A terrorist bomb blast kills 85 people at Bologna Station, Italy.

04 – Queen Mother is 80 years old.

04 – Hurricane Allen hits Haiti and Puerto Rico.

04 – Senate subcommittee hearings on Billy Carter’s ties with Libya begin.

07 – Hurricane Allen, second strongest hurricane since record-keeping began, heads across Gulf of Mexico for Texas coast.

09 – Hurricane Allen hits Texas coast north of Brownsville, tornados and flooding reported.

10 – Air Florida airliner hijacked to Cuba.

11Carter and Mondale are nominated for re-election by the Democratic National Convention.

11 – Reggie Jackson hits his 400th home run.

12Ted Kennedy withdraws from presidential race.

13 – Air Florida jet hijacked to Cuba by refugees, second hijacking in four days.

14 – National Airlines jet hijacked to Cuba, third such hijacking this week.

14 – Polish workers seize the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk, fighting for the right to have free trade unions and in protest over the dismissal of militant crane driver Anna Walentinowicz.

14Playboy centrefold Dorothy Stratten is murdered by estranged husband Paul Snider, who then kills himself.

16 – Cuban refugees hijack Delta, Eastern and Republic passenger jets.

16 – USAF F-4 plane crashes near Cairo.

17 – Baby Azaria Chamberlain disappears at Ayers Rock in Australia. Parents claim a dingo took their baby.

19 – A Saudi Arabian TriStar aircraft bursts into flames as it crash-lands at Riyadh, with the loss of 301 lives.

19 – Riot breaks out in Amsterdam when police evict urban squatters.

19 – Northern Territory police kill two Dingoes and two wild dogs in their search for a 10-week old baby who disappeared from a campsite near Ayers Rock on Sunday night. Azaria Chamberlain’s parents have little hope of seeing their daughter again, but police continue their search in an attempt to clear up the mystery.

20 – Father of Anne Frank, last surviving member of family, dies in Switzerland.

20 – Italy’s Reinhold Messner makes first solo ascent of Mt. Everest.

21 – Soviet nuclear submarine catches fire near Okinawa, Japan, with the loss of nine lives. It refuses help from a Japanese rescue team.

26 – Actor Macaulay Culkin is born.

27 – General Chun Doo Kwan is named president of South Korea.

27 – Another jet is hijacked to Cuba, the seventh in three weeks.

27 – Unemployment in the UK goes above two million for the first time since 1935.

30 – Gdansk strike leader Lech Walesa signs an agreement with the Polish government allowing the formation of independent trade unions.


05 – The world’s longest road tunnel opens in Switzerland, running over ten miles (16km) under the St Gotthard range.

05 – Australia defeats France and earns right to face USA in America’s Cup yacht race.

06 – Chris Evert Lloyd defeats Hana Mandlikova to win US Tennis Open.

07 – John McEnroe defeats Bjorn Borg to win US Open in five sets.

08 – An Eastern Airlines flight bound for Florida from New York is hijacked to Cuba.

11 – The famous Marlborough diamond is stolen from the Graff jewellery shop in Knightsbridge, London, in a bold £1m robbery by two robbers, armed with a revolver and a hand grenade. The robbers – American mob gangsters Joseph Scalise and Arthur Rachel – are arrested 11 hours later as they step off a British Airways plane in Chicago.

11 – Drug raid in San Francisco involves seizure of Franklin Roosevelt’s yacht Potomac.

12 – Passengers and stewardess of Eastern Airlines flight foil another hijacking attempt.

12 – Following a military coup in Turkey, General Evren takes power.

17 – Delta Airlines jet hijacked to Cuba.

21 – Crash occurs at airbase at Biggin Hill in the UK during air show celebrating the RAF’s role in The Battle of Britain.

22 – Polish workers, who last month won the right to organise free trade unions, launch their central organisation and call it Solidarnosc (“Solidarity”) with Lech Walesa as its leader.

22 – Three weeks of border clashes between Iran and Iraq appear to have finally erupted into an all-out war as Iraqi aircraft attack Iranian military bases.

24 – Iraq invades Iran to gain control of the disputed Shatt-al-Arab waterway which forms Iraq’s only access to the Persian Gulf.

25Led Zeppelin drummer, John Bonham, dies.

25 – USA wins America’s Cup yacht race, defeating Australia.

26 – Neo-Nazi Terrorist bombing at Munich’s Oktoberfest kills 12. 200 others are injured.

26 – First Cuban cosmonaut returns to Earth after visit to Salyut 6 space station.

30 – Martina Hingis, tennis star, is born.


02 – Actor Steve McQueen diagnosed with rare form of lung cancer.

02 – Larry Holmes defeats Muhammad Ali in Las Vegas boxing match. It is the first time Ali has been knocked out in a fight.

03 – An American oil rig explodes in the Persian Gulf, killing 19 people.

05 – Peter Brock becomes the first driver to win the Hardie Ferodo 1000 motor race at Bathurst (Australia) five times. Brock, 36, takes the Holden Dealer Team’s Commodore to victory in six hours, 47 minutes and 52 seconds around the tough and hilly Mount Panorama circuit.

08 – British Leyland introduces its new car, the Austin Mini Metro.

10 – Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher makes a defiant speech to Conservatives at the party conference in Brighton. Responding to recent expectations of an about-turn on counter-inflationary policies, Mrs Thatcher declares  “I have only one thing to say: You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning!” to widespread cheers.

10 – The city of El Asnam in Algeria is devastated by a severe earthquake with the loss of more than 2000 lives.

17 – Queen Elizabeth II becomes the first British monarch to make a state visit to the Vatican. Pope John Paul II welcomes Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh, for what is described as a “warm and relaxed” encounter.

18Malcolm Fraser scrapes in with Liberal victory in Australia.

23 – An explosion at a primary school in Ortuella, Spain, kills 48 children and three adults.

24 – SBS Television starts in Sydney & Melbourne.

26 – The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), which all but faded away during the early 1960s, comes back with renewed vigour with a massively-supported rally in Trafalgar Square, London.

26 – Paul Kantner of Jefferson Starship suffers a stroke during recording sessions for Modern Times. He recovers completely after some time in the hospital.


04 – Governor Ronald Reagan, the Republican candidate, and his Vice-Presidential running mate, George Bush, trounce President Carter and Walter Mondale in the US Presidential election.

07 – Amtrak and Conrail trains collide near Dobbs Ferry station, New York.

07 – Actor Steve McQueen dies of cancer in Mexico at age 50.

10 – Michael Foot is named new head of British Labour Party.

12Voyager I space probe passes within 77,000 miles of Saturn and sends back the first vivid photographs of the planet and its spectacular rings.

15 – Two members of Harlem Globetrotters arrested in Sao Paulo, Brazil on drug charges.

19Yorkshire Ripper claims 13th victim, Jacqueline Hill, in Leeds (England).

19 – “Who shot JR?”. The topic has been discussed by newspapers and even replayed on TV news around the world, such is the addiction to the US TV series Dallas. The suspense is over. The soap opera’s baddie was shot by Kristen.

19 – The Brooke Shields “Nothing comes between me and my Calvins” jeans ad is banned by CBS.

1980mgmgrand20 – In China, the trial begins of the “Gang of Four“.

21 – 84 die in a huge fire at the 26-storey MGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas (pictured at right).

22 – Actress Mae West dies in Los Angeles, aged 87.

23 – Severe earthquake hits southern Italy killing more than 3,000.


01 – Female IRA prisoners in Northern Ireland begin hunger strike.

02 – Police and urban squatters clash in Amsterdam.

04 – Three US nuns and a lay worker found shot dead in El Salvador.

04 – Portugal’s Premier Francisco Sa Carneiro is killed in a light aircraft crash at Lisbon. Six others die also.

04 – Polish airliner hijacked on way to West Berlin.

06 – Boston’s transit system shut down due to lack of funds.

06 – UN workers perish in plane crash in Tanzania.

08John Lennon, who as one of The Beatles helped shape the music and the philosophies of a generation, is shot dead outside the Dakota Building, his home in New York. Lennon, aged 40, had driven back from a recording session and was walking with his wife Yoko Ono into the building when he was approached by Mark David Chapman, aged 25. Chapman, to whom Lennon had given his autograph earlier in the day, shot the musician five times at point-blank range using a .38 revolver purchased at a gun shop in Honolulu.

11 – NATO warns USSR not to intervene in Poland’s affairs.

14 – Elston Howard, American pro baseball catcher, dies.

15 – Dave Winfield becomes the highest-paid player in US baseball history after signing with New York Yankees.

16 – Suez Canal, widened and deepened, is reopened to supertanker traffic.

16 – A sad day for chicken lovers everywhere as Colonel Harland Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, leaves for the great chicken shack in the sky. He was aged 90.

17 – Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher rejects appeal to save 43 IRA members on 52-day-long hunger strike.

17 – Turkish Consul-General shot dead in Sydney, Australia.

18 – Seven IRA members in Belfast’s Maze Prison end hunger strike after one is taken to hospital and given last rites.

23 – Mark David Chapman indicted for 2nd-degree murder in the death of John Lennon.

24 – Dr Christian Barnard leads medical team transplanting heart of white woman into a black man in Cape Town, South Africa.

25 – Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz, head of Nazi Germany’s navy during WWII, dies aged 89.

26 – American figure skater Serena Phillips is born.

27President Carter breaks his collarbone in a skiing accident and is treated at Bethesda Naval Hospital.

28 – President-Elect Ronald Reagan is named Time magazine’s Man of the Year.

29 – Four Soviets are shot for collaborating with Nazis at Dachau concentration camp during World War II.

29 – 80 injured in New York City commuter train accident.

31 – Police General Enrico Calvaligi assassinated in Rome.

31 – A bomb explosion at the Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, kills 15 people.

Also this year . . .

  • XXII Olympic Games in Moscow, USSR.
  • XIII Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, USA.
  • Alan Parker’s movie Fame provides the format which will spawn a soppy TV series and later provide the blueprint for Pop Idol, Fame Academy, The X Factor et al.
  • The first Australian ‘State of Origin’ rugby league series is played.

Quote of the year

“You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning!”
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher