It had to start somewhere…the early 80s were the beginning of everything high tech, neon, and generally awesome.
From politics to entertainment and everything in between, things were starting to change in the early 80s.
The beginning of the 80s decade started off a little shaky economically due to a lingering recession from the late 70s.
Ronald Reagan was the new president who had new ideas and old problems to solve.
Enter Reaganomics; the economic policy was a plan to reduce government spending and the size of government in general, lower income taxes, and reduce inflation. By 1983, the effect on the economy was positive, encouraging growth and consumer spending, thus creating what is called the decade of excess.
An important first for the country was when Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court.
Space and Technology in the early 80s
Space exploration resumed in 1981 when Columbia was launched. In 1981, Voyager space probes spotted Saturn. In 1983, aboard the Challenger, Sally Ride became the first woman in space.
Technology that, today, seems like it was there all along was in its beginning stages during the early years of the 80s. The home computer started appearing, with the Commodore 64 and the IBM 5150 being the most popular.
The Sony Walkman and the increasingly popular boombox let us literally carry a tune.
Another new development in 1983 was destined to change life forever…the cell phone. They were expensive and heavy, but were definitely the next big thing. Motorola was the company responsible for manufacturing the most popular first cell phone, the DynaTac.
There were also car phones and bag phones that were the newest cutting-edge technology, but compared to today’s phones, these phones were like bricks – hence the brick phone nickname. They had huge battery packs that had to be carried about, but they were still a mobile phone.
In the auto industry, one car in particular was making big waves with its awesome gull wing doors – the DeLorean DMC-12. Though it was only in production for a couple of years, it still remains one of the most iconic cars of the decade.
Entertainment in the early 80s
The biggest question on 80s television was “Who shot J.R.?” as primetime soaps surged in popularity. Dallas, Dynasty and Falcon Crest were the main favorites. A daytime soap, General Hospital, invited the world to watch the marriage of Luke and Laura while millions tuned in, much like the royal wedding of Charles and Diana.
The 80s started with some fantastic albums like The Wall by Pink Floyd, Madonna by Madonna, and Thriller by Michael Jackson. Prince, Madonna, and Michael Jackson were the biggest stars of the 80s music world.
Atari was by far the leading video game console. One of the most popular games, Space Invaders, was enough incentive alone to buy an Atari. This was the era of Pac Man and Frogger, among other great games.
Some of the favorite movies of the early 80s included Flashdance, The Shining, E.T. and Scarface, and with the rising popularity of cable, we now had new channels like CNN and MTV to watch when we weren’t at the movies or the arcade.
The early 80s were just the beginning of what would be called the decade of excess, populated by the me generation. The world was changing quickly, and we could hardly wait to see where it took us.