1980s History

Not only were the 80s the decade of neon and big hair, but the decade was full of many events and firsts.

We’re going back to look at some unforgettable 1980s history.

Politics and Space Exploration

As 1980s history begins, the new decade started with a new president.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected.

He brought us Reganomics, improved the American economy, reduced unemployment and people were proud to have him as a president. First lady Nancy Reagan also used her status to start the ‘Just Say No’ anti-drug program.

Space exploration continued after a five-year break in 1981 with the launch of Columbia and stopped after the Challenger disaster of 1986, then resumed in 1988 with the launch of Discovery.

Voyager space probes saw Saturn in 1981, Uranus in 1986, and Neptune in 1989. We also met Halley’s Comet with probes in 1986.

80s Technology

Walkmans and boomboxes made it possible to bring the tunes with us wherever we went, and we all had one or the other, possibly both.

We were obsessed with all things futuristic, and the 80s did not let us down. Computers started making their way into homes everywhere with the Commodore 64, IBM 5150, and the first MacIntosh.

It was also the golden age of video games, even after a crash in 1983 due to sub-par games and software glitches. Arcades were a favorite hangout and some awesome new games like Pac Man, Galaga, Donkey Kong, and Frogger were introduced.

These arcade games were available for the computer, but were also available for the hot new consoles of the day. Atari, Sega, and Nintendo were the main players and gave us some still-popular characters like Mario, Sonic, and Link.

The 80s also brought us the cell phone. Motorola was the main supplier of these phones with the DynaTac. They were big, heavy, and expensive, but they were the next big thing and everybody wanted one.

80s Sports Olympic History

Every Olympics Games held during the 80s saw boycotts for political reasons and boycotts in retaliation of previous boycotts, but countries that participated made history.

One of the most memorable hockey games in history was during the 1980 Winter Olympics. The young United States team upset the seemingly unbeatable Soviet team, and the game is remembered as the ‘Miracle on Ice.’

During the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, the Jamaican bobsled team shocked the world with their outstanding performance, proving that you don’t need snow and ice to practice.

80s History in Entertainment

Madonna and Michael Jackson were legends in the 80s, but there were plenty of other musicians that got some serious attention. Hair bands were also a big part of the 80s, with Poison, AC/DC, and Guns ‘N Roses being the hottest acts.

Cyndi Lauper, the Go-Go’s, the Bangles, Boy George, A Flock of Seagulls, Prince, The Cure, and Depeche Mode were among the favorites of the decade.

The 80s also saw some great movies that went on to become classics. ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,’ ‘Top Gun,’ ‘E.T.,’ ‘Rain Man,’ and ‘Platoon’ were some big hits. There were also Brat Pack flicks like ‘The Breakfast Club,’ ‘Pretty in Pink,’ ‘Sixteen Candles,’ ‘Valley Girl,’ and ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High.’

Horror movies were increasingly popular, and the 80s brought us both the ‘Friday the 13th’ and ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ franchises. Action movies were everywhere, and ‘Rambo,’ ‘The Terminator,’ and ‘Die Hard’ were the best of the best.

1980s history also includes more fads than you can count, with jelly shoes, leg warmers, parachute pants, and the Rubik’s Cube being among some of the biggest. The 80s were full of new technology, new fads, and new entertainment that have slowly been seeping back into the spotlight.