The Decade of Excess was also the glory days of the Me Generation, helping form what was 80s culture.
Life was quickly changing, and everything was new – a new president, new technology, new music and new fashions, among many other aspects that made the 80s one of the coolest decades of all.
80s Arts and Entertainment
Music was a big part of 80s culture. Pop was huge, there were metal ‘hair bands,’ hip-hop was swiftly gaining popularity, and technology was used in electronic and new wave music.
MTV was the first music station on cable television and its slogan “I want my MTV” was everywhere. The station also introduced us to the concept of VJ’s, or video jockeys.
Break dancing was everywhere in the 80s. It wasn’t unusual to spot some dancers in random places throughout a city – either on the streets or at the mall – with a big boombox and even bigger dance moves.
The 80s brought us some timeless and endearing characters from television and movies, including characters of the animated variety. Without the 80s, we wouldn’t have Marty McFly, Freddy Krueger, Papa Smurf, Jem, or the Ghostbusters.
The Commodore 64, the first Apple Macintosh, and the IBM 5150 found their way into homes everywhere. They were also relatively inexpensive at anywhere from $300 to $1,000.
Motorola gave us one of our first mobile phones, the DynaTac 8000x. We also had big car phones and bag phones that could weigh as much as 25 pounds.
80s Life in General
The 80s started in a recession that lasted until about 1983, when our new president, Ronald Reagan, cut taxes and government spending – as well as the size of the government. We were on our way.
In 1989, after President Reagan pleaded with Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” we watched the powerful – and emotional – reunion of East and West Germany.
There was a focus on business, status, and power. This created a new generation of preppies who were determined to have it all.
Michael Jackson and Madonna were the king and queen of pop throughout the entire decade and had a significant effect on many aspects of the culture of the 80s.
Princess Diana was another prominent figure of the 80s. She was deeply involved in numerous charities, as well as the youth, elderly and homeless.
Some things seem like they were a lot cheaper back then. The average price of a home in 1985, for example, was about $90,000. A new car was about $10,000, while gas was about $1.10 per gallon. Another cheaper item was movie tickets – they were only about $3.00 each.
However, not everything was cheap, and it is all relative when comparing 80s prices with those of today. Back in the 80s, the average minimum wage was only $3.35 and the average household income was around $23,000. A new cell phone would set you back about $4,000, and that doesn’t include minutes.
The Decade of Excess and 80s culture in general was full of optimism for whatever the 90s were bringing. It was a decade of big changes, lots of fun, great movies and music…and of course, big hair.