Queen released their live double album Live Killers.
Racey released their debut album, Smash and Grab.
A few years later, Toni Basil would rework their song “Kitty” as “Mickey.”
UK rock band Rainbow released Down to Earth, scoring a hit with their cover of Russ Ballard’s “Since You Been Gone.”
The Ramones released Road to Ruin…
…and made their film debut in Rock ‘n’ Roll High School.
Teaming up with Phil Spector, they began recording End of the Century (released in 1980).
Ramsey Campbell was editing New Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos (1980).
Randy Newman released Born Again.
Randy VanWarmer had the biggest hit of his career, “Just When I Needed You Most.”
Raymond Briggs published Fungus the Bogeyman…
…which quickly inspired Paul McCartney’s “Bogey Music” (on McCartney II, 1980).
Raymond Williams published the novel The Fight for Manod.
Reba McEntire released her second album, Out of a Dream.
(That video, believe it or not, is the earliest Reba McEntire video I could find at YouTube.)
REO Speedwagon released Nine Lives.
Richard Adams was preparing to publish The Girl in a Swing and The Iron Wolf and Other Stories (both 1980).
Richard Lester was directing Superman II.
Rick James released Fire It Up.
A line at the Wikipedia outlines this album’s importance: “This album was certified gold by the RIAA and between 78-82 was a period where Rick James established himself as the historical bridge between P-Funk and Prince.” (Which is actually pretty well said. Prince supported Rick James on the tour for this album.)
Bonus Rick James!
(That’s from his 1978 debut solo album, Come Get It!)
Rick Wakeman released Rhapsodies.
Rickie Lee Jones released her debut album, Rickie Lee Jones, for which he would win the Best New Artist Grammy the following year.
Ridley Scott directed Alien.
Rita Coolidge released Satisfied.
Robert Altman was directing Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall in Popeye.
Roald Dahl was preparing to publish The Twits (1980).
Robert Anton Wilson was preparing to publish the three novels in his Schrodinger’s Cat Trilogy: The Universe Next Door, The Trick Top Hat, and The Homing Pigeons.
Robert Creeley published Was That a Real Poem and Other Essays.
Robert Fripp released Exposure.
Robert John had a hit with “Sad Eyes.”
Robert Ludlum published The Matarese Circle…
…and was preparing to publish The Bourne Identity (1980).
Robert Palmer released Secrets.
Robert Penn Warren won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Now and Then; he also published Brother to Dragons.
Robert Wise directed Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Robin Williams released Reality…What a Concept, for which he would win the 1980 Grammy for Best Comedy Album.
Rod Stewart married his first wife, Alana Hamilton, on 6 April…
…and released his Greatest Hits, Vol. 1. He had also recently released his hit album Blondes Have More Fun…Or Do They?
Roger Zelazny, who had recently completed his first Chronicles of Amber series, published the time-travel novel Roadmarks…
…which features as characters Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal and Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.
Ronald Neame was directing Walter Matthau in Hopscotch.
Rose Royce released Rose Royce IV: Rainbow Connection.
Roxy Music returned from a four-year hiatus to release Manifesto.
Rufus released Numbers and Masterjam; the latter went gold and was credited to “Rufus & Chaka,” due to lead singer Chaka Khan’s newfound success as a solo artist.
Rupert Holmes released Partners in Crime.
Ry Cooder released Bop Till You Drop.
It was, it’s been said, the first major-label album to be digitally recorded.