April 1980: R.E.M. plays its first gig in Athens, Ga. Over the next few years, the band lays the groundwork for a post-punk revolution.
March 1980: Seattle rock ’n’ roll band The Heats, formerly the Heaters, releases its first single, “I Don’t Like Your Face.”
December 1980: John Lennon is assassinated outside his residence at Manhattan’s Dakota apartment building by 25-year-old Mark David Chapman.
1980: Alabama releases “My Home’s in Alabama,” kicking off a string of successes by one of country music’s biggest groups.
August 1981: MTV begins broadcasting music videos 24 hours a day, beginning the the Buggles’ novelty song “Video Killed the Radio Star.”
1982: Afrika Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock” and Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message” bring new artistry to hip-hop.
1982: Songwriter and producer Maurice Starr auditions five male singers who later become New Edition. After the group breaks up, former members Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill and Bel Biv DeVoe pioneer “new jack swing,” combining R&B, hip-hop and cool fashion.
July 1982: Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five release “The Message,” expanding the scope of rap music with socially conscious lyrics.
1982: Michael Jackson’s video of “Beat It,” featuring Eddie Van Halen on guitar, opens MTV to black artists.
1982: The compact disc, or CD, is jointly developed by Sony and Phillips of the Netherlands. CDs begin appearing in stores the following year.
1983: With the release of “Kill ’Em All,” speed-metal band Metallica links punk and heavy-metal.
August 1983: The Police play New York’s Shea Stadium, taking “new wave” music to a new level of artistry.
1983: The Everly Brothers reunite for the first time in 10 years on the stage of London’s Royal Albert Hall.
March 1984: “This Is Spinal Tap,” a cinematic spoof of hard rock, makes its debut.
1984: Bellevue hard-rock band Queensryche releases its first full-length album, “The Warning.”
1984: At the 11th annual American Music Awards, Michael Jackson wins seven awards for his blockbuster album, “Thriller,” produced by Quincy Jones.
1984: Seattle heavy-metal band Metal Church, featuring former Lewd guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof, releases its first album on the independet Ground Zero label.
1984: Duran Duran begins its first U.S. tour.
1985: Forty-three major stars, among them Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Billy Joel and Tina Turner, record “We Are the World,” a fund-raising anthem to fight hunger in Africa. The producer is Quincy Jones.
1985: Bruce Springsteen launches his “Born in the USA” tour of North America.
1985: Frank Zappa, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister and John Denver testify at Senate hearings on explicit lyrics in popular music.
1985: Farm Aid, featuring performances by Willie Nelson, John Cougar Mellencamp and Neil Young, raises $10 million of U.S. farmers.
1986: Cleveland, Ohio, is chosen as the home of the future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
1986: Saxophonist and Franklin High grad Kenny G records “Duotones,” a smash album that yields the instrumental hit “Songbird.”
1986: New York rap trio Run-DMC records Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way,” linking rap and heavy-metal and introducing rap to white, suburban audiences.
January 1986: “Deep Six,” a compilation album featuring influential local bands U-Men, Skin Yard, Soundgarden, Malfunkshun, Green River and the Melvins, is released on the C/Z label.
1986: Sub Pop, the indedependent Seattle label that would later launch Nirvana, releases “Sub Pop 100,” a compilation album featuring Sonic Youth, U-Men, Skinny Puppy, Shonen Knife, Steve Fisk and others.
1986: Blues guitarist Robert Cray, a Tacoma native, records “Strong Persuader,” which wins him his first Grammy Award.
1986: Child prodigy and champion fiddler Mark O’Connor, who grew up in Mountlake Terrace, is named top fiddler by the Academy of Country Music in Nashville. O’Connor would win the award many times over.
1987: “License to Ill,” the debut album by white rap trio The Beastie Boys, sells 4 million copies, a commercial breakthrough for rap.
1987: Ireland’s U2 reaches a career high with the release of “The Joshua Tree.”
1987: Fledgling Seattle “indie” label, Sub Pop, releases Soundgarden’s first album, an EP titled “Screaming Life.”
1987: Seattle group The Young Fresh Fellows record “The Men Who Loved Music,” featuring a lusty novelty song, “Amy Grant,” dedicated to the popular Christian songwriter.
1987: Guns N’ Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction” epitomizes late-’80s arena rock.
1988: Seattle rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot records a hip-hop anthem, “Posse on Broadway.” The song is from his NastyMix Records album, “Swass.”
1988: Seattle rock band Mudhoney records “Touch Me I’m Sick,” the quintessential “grunge” song, with influential producer Jack Endino.
1988: New York punk band Sonic Youth releases its last indie album, “Daydream Nation,” before joining David Geffen’s DGC label.
1988: Whitney Houston’s debut album, “Whitney,” sells more than 9 million copies.
April 1988: Nirvana performs its first Seattle gig at the Vogue in Seatle’s Belltown district.