The People History

1980s Important News and Events, Key Technology Fashion and Popular Culture

The Eighties see the collapse of traditional communism and the ending of the Cold War, Microsoft, IBM, Intel and Apple begin to have an impact on all our lives as small Computers becomes cheaper and more wide spread including home and Business, Famine in Ethiopia causes major music stars to band together to raise money and awareness, and the early beginnings of mobile phones as technology gets cheaper and smaller. .

Jump To 1980's -- Events by Year -- Fashions -- Toys -- Cars -- Popular Culture -- Homes -- Technology -- Cost Of Living -- Sports -- Music

Money and Inflation 1980's

To provide an estimate of inflation we have given a guide to the value of $100 US Dollars for the first year in the decade to the equivalent in today's money

If you have $100 Converted from 1980 to 2005 it would be equivalent to $243.45 today

In 1980 a new house cost $68,714.00 and by 1989 was $120,00.00 Check Examples of Some of the Houses and Prices For Sale In The 80s in Our 80s Homes Section
In 1980 the average income per year was $19,170.00 and by 1989 was $27,210.00
In 1980 a gallon of gas was $1.19 and by 1989 was 97 cents
In 1980 the average cost of new car was $7,210.00 and by 1989 was $15,400.00
A few more prices from the 80's and how much things cost
Camero Coupe $7,571 Pontiac Grand AM $9,965 From Car Prices in the 80's
Nike Air Force Basketball Shoes $54.90 Tailored Style Silk Blouse $15.99 Amiga 500 with Color Monitor $849 From Our 80s Electrical and Electronic Prices in the 80's Hands Free Operating Car Phone History of Mobile Phones $788 Leg O Lamb $2.19 per pound Milk 85 cents 1/2 gallon From Our 80s Price of Food Section
Bunk Beds with Mattress $148 Chrome Sling Chair $76.00 Cheer Laundry Detergent $1.59


Childrens Toys From The 1980's

Kids Toys From the 80s
The popular toys at of the decade also signaled the age of the video game in arcades, Games Machines and PC's the most popular games being Space Invaders and Pac Man plus talking dolls were all the rage and at the end of the decade Featured Below Children's very own Sony Walkmans, Talking Alf, Star War Figures, Pound Puppies, My Little Pony and Mr and Mr's Potato Head From Our
Some Toy Examples From The Eighties


1980's Mens and Womens and Childrens Fashion Clothes

Visit Our Eighties Fashion Section
Below are just a few examples from our Selection Take a little trip back in time to the clothes of your youth and have a smile or feel nostalgic
Some Example Fashions From the 1980's


What Happened in the 1980s

The events listed below we have tried to put a small paragraph on the specific year page providing additional information )


What Happened in 1980 History
  • Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington state.
  • John Lennon is shot and dies.
  • The popular video arcade game "Pac-Man" is released.
  • Ronald Reagan is elected as the President of the United States.
  • The United States boycotts the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.


What Happened in 1981 History
  • Lady Diana Spencer and Charles the Prince of Wales are married.
  • The cable network MTV (Music Television) is launched.
  • The AIDS virus is identified in the United States by scientists.
  • Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian President, is assassinated.
  • Sandra Day O'Connor is nominated as the first female Supreme Court Justice by President Reagan.


What Happened in 1982 History
  • "The Computer" is named Time Magazine's Man of the Year.
  • Disney World opens the EPCOT ( Experimental Community of Tomorrow ) park.
  • The FIFA World Cup is held in Spain and Italy wins the title.
  • Japan begins selling the first CD players.
  • Late Rock n' Roll star Elvis Presley's home "Graceland" is opened to the public as an attraction.


What Happened in 1983 History
  • Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space.
  • Motorola introduces the first mobile phones to the United States in 1983.
  • Microsoft releases "Word" their word processing program.
  • The Swiss company "Swatch" introduces their watches and they become a fashion craze.
  • The I.R.A. bombs the popular London department store Harrods.


What Happened in 1984 History
  • India's Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, is assassinated.
  • Band Aid records "Do They Know It's Christmas?" a charity single to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia.
  • The Soviet Union boycotts the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Summer Games.
  • China and the United Kingdom agree that the U.K. will transfer power over Hong Kong back to China in the future.
  • MTV begins the "Video Music Awards" or VMAs.


What Happened in 1985 History
  • The iconic Route 66 is removed from the highway system in the United States.
  • In what many consider one of the worst marketing moves, Coca-Cola introduced "New Coke" and were forced to return to the old formula only months later due to backlash.
  • The first version of Microsoft Windows is released.
  • Legendary basketball player Michael Jordan is named as the NBA's "Rookie of the Year."
  • The wreck of the Titanic was discovered.

Back In Time Gifts


What Happened in 1986 History
  • The Chernobyl nuclear reactor explodes in the USSR.
  • The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster takes place when the space shuttle disintegrates after being launched, killing all on board.
  • Spain and Portugal are added to the EEC.
  • Mad Cow Disease (BSE - Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) is identified in Britain for the first time.
  • The first triple organ transplant is performed.


What Happened in 1987 History
  • Disposable contact lenses are first sold.
  • "The Simpsons" make their debut on the Tracy Ullman Show.
  • Margaret Thatcher is elected as the British Prime Minister for the third time.
  • The Fox television network begins operations.
  • Construction begins on the Channel Tunnel.


What Happened in 1988 History
  • The Soviet Union withdraws their troops from Afghanistan.
  • George H.W. Bush is elected as the U.S. President after defeating Michael Dukakis.
  • Two years after the Challenger Disaster, NASA's Space Shuttle program resumes.
  • The site of the original Globe Theater is discovered by archaeologists in London.
  • The Iran-Iraq war ends.


What Happened in 1989 History
  • The Berlin Wall is torn down at the end of the Cold War.
  • Pro-Democracy protests take place at Tiananmen Square in China.
  • The Exxon Valdez oil tanker spills 240,000 barrels of oil in the Prince William Sound in Alaska.
  • The Nintendo Game Boy portable video game system is released.
  • NASA launches the Galileo spacecraft.

Other Major Events From The 80's

  • During the 80's we also saw the collapse of the traditional communism and the end of the cold war .The fragmentation of communism included the collapse of the Berlin wall and the breakup up of what was the USSR towards the end of the 80's. and leading to German reunification.
  • The 80's also signaled a period of the rise of conservatism as the in political and cultural life, caused by Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Ronald Reagan in the USA .
  • Argentina invaded and occupied the Falkland islands in 1982 but is subsequently defeated by the United Kingdom.
  • China continued it's growth and liberalization but suffered unrest towards the end of the 80's after student's protested in Tiananmen Square on June 4th 1989 and the authorities used force to quell the protests
  • Famine in Ethiopia was shown to the world on our television screens in 1984 - 1985 and the pain and suffering caused the western world to find new ways to help including the Live Aid concert and many of the most popular stars contributed their time and performed for free in cities throughout the world , This has to be one of the most successful campaigns ever to create awareness and raise much needed funds by those who have the power to draw TV audiences around the globe.
  • Many South American Countries return to democracy after a period of dictatorships
  • The mixing of politics and Sport from Our Sports History in both 1980 and 1984 Olympics Boycotts by the worlds major powers

Sporting Changes In The 80's

Our Detailed Sports History Section
Players go on strike again in 1981 they win but lose fans for the game through their actions for striking and from drugs or alcohol used by the players.
During the eighties new stars emerge Larry Bird, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan drawing fans back to the games .
Association Football (Soccer)
24 teams fight for the World Cup in 1982
Soccer Hooliganism and the Heysel Stadium Disaster give English Football a bad name the Hooliganism continues through to the mid 90's
American Football
Miami Hurricanes win college national championships
California Teams The Raiders and San Francisco 49ers Dominate The NFL
The 80's was the decade of the quarterback and the best of them was Joe Montana
The 1985 Chicago Bears with running back Walter Payton considered by many to be one of the greatest teams of all time.
Ice Hockey
New York Islanders Dominate The First Half Of The Decade
The Great One Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier Help Edmonton Oilers Dominate The Second Half Of The Decade


  • The 80's signaled the start of the computer age, following on from the creation of Microsoft and Apple towards the end of the 70's , the technology and the speed of innovation both in Hardware and Software together with the cheapness provided a speed of growth and take up . The birth of the IBM PC signaled the start of Personal Computers first in the Offices and then into peoples homes becoming an integral part of our lives. following on from Micrsofts MSDOS on PC's to the first versions of Windows a GUI Graphical User Interface
  • As well as the Hardware and Software changes a new technology was evolving starting as Bulletin boards later to become what we now know as the Internet invented by English physicist Tim Berners and the beginnings of the World Wide Web
  • This was also the Decade that the Post-It was introduced which came from a glue invented in 1968 accidentally while trying to discover a stronger glue at 3M by Spencer Silver
  • Another technology that was also just starting was that of cellular mobile phones , in the beginning the phones were big and heavy and hit and miss for signal strength , but as with the Internet would change our lives .
  • After many years of ignoring the impact on our environment ,the world also took more notice of the impact that we were having on our planet and more research was done on the effects on global warming through population growth, land clearing of rain forests for agriculture and logging, increased use of fossil fuels for power generation together with our love affair with the car for transport .

Popular Culture 1980s

  • John Lennon is shot outside his New York apartment
  • MTV (Music Television) is launched
  • Floppy shirts, Backcombed hair, Padded shoulders, big hairdoes and white stilettoes
  • The Simpsons Is First Seen On Tracey Ullman Show April 5th 1987
  • Michael Jackson releases his second adult solo album, Thriller.
Some of the Most Well Known Movie Stars of the Eighties
Clint Eastwood
Burt Reynolds
Harrison Ford
Michael J Fox
Eddie Murphy
Tom Cruise
Dudley Moore
Arnold Schwarzenegger

Popular Musicians

  • Bucks Fizz
  • The Jam
  • Olivia Newton-John
  • Chicago
  • Lionel Richie
  • ABBA
  • Black Sabbath
  • Queen
  • The Police
  • Tina Turner
  • David Bowie
  • Whitney Houston
  • Culture Club
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • U2
More 80's Music

Television During the Decade

The 1980s was an important decade in the television industry. Not only were great strides made in the way of “pushing the envelope” with shows like Married…With Children, but other programs displayed a stark contrast with family-friendly issues and themes. The Cosby Show began in the middle of the decade and it enjoyed several years as the #1 television program because it was a witty and realistic rendering of family life during the era. It also destroyed the stereotype of poor African-American families that shows in the past only helped to reinforce. Heathcliff Huxtable – the father on The Cosby Show – was an obstetrician while his wife – Claire – was a successful lawyer.

TV Shows 1980s

  • Married with Children 1987 - 1997.
  • Baywatch 1989 - 1999.
  • Chips 1977 - 1983.
  • Hill Street Blues 1981 - 1987.
  • Highway to Heaven 1984 - 1989.
  • Knight Rider 1982 - 1986.
  • Dukes Of Hazzard 1979 - 1985.
  • The Benny Hill Show 1969 - 1989.
  • Fame 1982 - 1987.
  • Cagney & Lacey 1982 - 1988.
  • Dallas 1978 - 1991.
  • Matlock 1986 - 1992.
  • MacGyver 1985 - 1992.
  • Little House on the Prairie 1974 - 1983.
  • Doctor Who 1963 - 1989.
  • Columbo 1968 - 2003.
  • The A Team 1983 - 1987.
  • Laverne & Shirley 1976 - 1983.
  • The Cosby Show 1984 - 1992.
  • Happy Days 1974 - 1984.
  • Cheers 1982 - 1993.
  • Taxi 1978 - 1983.
  • Benson 1979 - 1986.
  • Growing Pains 1985 - 1992.
The Eighties also saw the creation of a number of cable networks that viewers still enjoy today. The Weather Channel – based in Atlanta, GA – premiered in 1982 as a cable network that covered the weather 24 hours a day. The Cable News Network, better known as CNN, was also created as television’s first 24-hour news network. It created a trend and today you have the option of several 24-hour cable news networks to choose from. Rupert Murdoch also created the Fox Network in the 1980s as a challenge to the only three major networks at the time – NBC, CBS, and ABC. Even though many people scoffed at the idea of Fox being a major competitor, it has since created several popular and award-winning shows in its more than 20 year existence. Music Television (MTV) was also a major breakthrough network in the decade and today viewers can choose from a large number of music-based television channels.

Other shows that began in the Eighties that are still memorable and popular today include Cheers, The Golden Girls, Miami Vice, and Family Ties. Along with The Simpsons, many of these programs are available as DVD box sets for those who lived through the era and want to experience a feeling of nostalgia by experiencing these shows again.


Eighties Homes

Electrical Home Goods

As technology improved the size gets smaller and smaller and more and more powerfull, The "Portable Camcorder" replaced by today's Mobile Phone, The Timex Sinclair Color Computer replaced a much more powerful Tablet, Stereo Sound Television now exists as a smaller more energy efficient flatscreen TV, and the latest 50 inch Projection Screen TV can now be found as Flat Screen TV up to 100 inches .
From Our Eighties Home Appliances Section
Some Examples Of Home Appliances From The 1980's

Furniture From The 80's

It is interesting looking at the furniture and fixtures you might find in a home from each decade, as we move to more smaller computers why have a Computer Work Station, VHS Tapes No Longer used, Bean Bags not anywhere near as popular as during the Eighties
Home furnishing examples with descriptions and Prices Page

Some Examples of Furniture From The Eighties