The People History

What Happened in 1980 Important News and Events, Key Technology and Popular Culture

What happened in 1980 Major News Stories include John Lennon shot and killed in New York, Post-It Notes go on sale, Liberty City, Miami Rioting, MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas Destroyed with Fire, Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act passed. As the continued miniaturization continues new technology allows for new consumer products that could never have existed to appear including Domestic Camcorders and Fax Machines , One other notable is the release of the Pac-Man arcade game. Politics enters the Olympic games with the boycott by the US of the Moscow Olympics and War breaks out between Iraq and Iran. This was also a bad year for natural disasters including Mount St. Helens eruption on 27th March and a major heat wave in the US. Also the world tunes in to the answer of Who Shot JR? on the popular soap Dallas.

Jump To 1980 Fashion -- World Leaders -- 1980 Calendar -- 1980 Technology -- Cost Of Living -- Popular Culture -- Toys

Cost of Living 1980

How Much things cost in 1980
Yearly Inflation Rate USA13.58%
Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average 963
Interest Rates Year End Federal Reserve 21.50%
Average Cost of new house $68,700
Median Price Of and Existing Home $62,200
Average Income per year $19,500.00
Average Monthly Rent $300.00
Cost of a gallon of Gas $1.19
Average cost new car $7,200.00
Below are some Prices for UK guides in Pounds Sterling
Average House Price 13,650
Gallon of Petrol 0.79
Yearly Inflation Rate UK 18%
Interest Rates Year End Bank of England 14.00%
More Examples
Ground Beef Lb $1.39.00
Pontiac Firebird $5,992.00
Men's Casual Shirt $14.00
Magnavox VHS Recorder $699.00
VHS Home Movie Camera $1,599.00
Tomi Cosmic Combat Electronic Game $28.99
Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head $4.77
LCD Pendant Watch $34.95
Mens 3 Piece Suit $89.95

Syracuse, New York
Ranch Home, 3 bedroom 1 and 1/2 bath 2 car garage , family room $40,500.00


Mount St. Helens erupts

More Information for Mount St. Helens Eruption on May 18th in Washington killing 57..

1. A series of small earthquakes near Mount St. Helens in Washington state begin in March of 1980.
2. Earthquakes throughout the month increased the volcanic activity, and near the end of the month, the volcano had its first eruption in over one hundred years as a series of steam explosions blew a crater into the summit, releasing ash.
3. The volcano remained active through most of April but then ceased activity for a number of days.
4. Volcanic activity began again in May.
5. By the middle of May on May 18th the pressure had built and Mount St. Helens experienced a huge eruption that created avalanches, explosions, large ash clouds, mudslides, and massive damage to the surrounding area.
6. A total of 57 people were killed as a result of the volcanic blast.

Rubik's Cube Debuts

The Rubik’s Cube puzzle toy debuts internationally during January at a toy fair in London. The toy had been created by Erno Rubik in the 1970s and was first patented as the “Magic Cube” in Hungary in 1975. The colorful puzzle was soon picked up by Ideal Toys to develop the toy for a global market. After its introduction in early 1980, the Rubik’s Cube hit toy stores in May of that year. By the following year it was a huge success causing a worldwide craze. Competitions for who could solve the puzzle the fastest emerged and it still remains popular today.

Start of Iran -- Iraq War.

More Information for the Iran-Iraq War.
The Iran-Iraq war begins in September of 1980 after Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein ordered his forces to invade Western Iran. Fighting during the war continued between the two nations until 1988 when they signed a cease-fire. A formal peace agreement to officially end the war was not signed until August of 1990. It was estimated that over one million people, military members and civilians, lost their lives as a result of the conflict

CNN Launches

CNN (Cable News Network) began broadcasting on June 1st. The American-based network was headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia and founded by Ted Turner. It was the first 24-hour news network available to cable subscribers in the United States and Canada and has since become available worldwide. The network originally struggled to find success but by the mid-1980s it had gained more influence and became well known for its live coverage of events as they happened, often being the first to broadcast during big news events.

1960 Back In Time Gifts

The Staggers Act

More Information and Timeline for the Staggers Act
The Staggers Act of 1980 comes into effect in October of 1980. The Act allowed for the deregulation of the United States Rail Industry which had remained largely untouched since the 1887 Interstate Commerce Act that had been created with the purpose of regulating the booming rail industry and the monopolies that had been controlling the rails. The Staggers Act allowed carriers greater freedom in establishing rates as well as increasing the overall flexibility of the industry. The deregulation was thought of as necessary as the automobiles and trucking greatly overshadowed rail in the 20th century.

Post-It Notes

  • 3M begins sales of it's latest product Post-It Notes invented by Arthur Fry and Spencer Silver.
More Information for the creation of Post-It Notes

Post-It notes are officially introduced to U.S. stores during April of 1980. The innovative product featured a square, yellow notepad that had a lightweight and sticky adhesive strip on the back of each note, making it removable. The product was created by the 3M corporation in 1974 by scientists Spencer Silver and Art Fry. Silver had created the adhesive earlier and Fry came up with the idea to use the adhesive on a note. The notes were then market tested in 1978 under the name “Press n’ Peel.” By 1980, interest in the product increased and they were officially added to shelves in stores across the country.


US defeats Soviet Union in ice hockey in what was labeled the "Miracle on Ice"

More Information for the "Miracle on Ice."
The United States Olympic ice hockey team makes history at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics on February 22nd in what was later called the “Miracle on Ice.” The U.S. Team, composed of mostly college-level players, defeated the four-time gold medal winning team from the Soviet Union in one of the greatest upsets in sports history. The game was the semi-final and would determine who would go on to compete for the gold. the Soviet team had not lost a single Olympic hockey game since 1968 and were the heavy favorites, but the Americans amazingly beat them with a score of 4-3 and continued on to the final match, winning again against Finland. This was the second time that the United States had won the gold medal in Olympic hockey. History of Ice Hockey


Former Beatle John Lennon is shot to death

More Information for John Lennon
Popular musician and former Beatles member John Lennon was shot and killed by obsessed fan Mark David Chapman outside of Lennon’s apartment in Manhattan during December of 1980 at the age of 40. Lennon, beloved by many around the world for his talent as an artist and outspoken nature as a public figure, had given an autograph to Chapman earlier in the day and was returning home from a recording studio with his wife Yoko Ono at the time of the attack. In the days following his death hundreds of fans gathered outside of his apartment in mourning.

1980 Mens and Womens Fashion Clothes

Part of our Collection of Clothing From The1980's

Calendar For The Year 1980

1980 Calendar

Part of our Collection of Toys From 1980

Toys From The Year 1980

Weebles House at Pooh Corners, The Woodsey's Log House, Star Wars Figure Set, Phonograph with AM radio, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head


More News and Key Events From 1980

Cencus US Population
  • Latest Cencus reveals US Population is 226,504,825

U.S. Severe Summer Heat Wave
  • Severe Summer Heat Wave in Southern US Causes 1,117 deaths in 20 States

Mini Gold Rush in Australian
  • Mini Gold Rush in Australian outback after gold is discovered.

Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act Passed
  • US Passes "Crude Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act" to tax high profits by oil companies

The Killer Clown
  • The Killer Clown ( John Wayne Gacy Jr ) sentenced to death for the murder of 33 boys and young men.

Israel introduced Shekel
  • Israel Replaces the Pound with a new currency the Shekel

MGM Grand Hotel
  • Fire Destroys the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas

Italy terrorist bombing
  • Right wing terrorists explode a bomb at Bologna railway station, Italy killing over 70

Italy - Earthquake
  • 6.0 earthquake strikes southern Italy causing the death of more than 3,000 people

Rioting Liberty City, Miami
  • Rioting Liberty City, Miami on on May 17th leaves 18 dead

Wisconsin Thunderstorm
  • A severe and destructive thunderstorm strikes four counties in western   Wisconsin  

Hurricane Allen
  • Hurricane Allen hits landfall on Haiti and Jamaica

Alexander Kielland platform
  • Alexander Kielland platform capsized in the North Sea with the loss of 123

Winter Olympic Games
  • The Winter Olympic Games are held in Lake Placid, New York, United States

Rhodesia / Zimbabwe
  • Zimbabwe formerly Rhodesia gains independence
  • Majority black rule in Zimbabwe

Solidarity Trade Union
  • Solidarity Trade Union Formed in Poland and shipyard workers go on strike

Iran US Hostages
  • Failed operation by US to free hostages in Iran

Yassar Arafat
  • Yassar Arafat is elected the President of the Palestinian National Council

Ronald Reagan
  • Ronald Reagan Elected President of the USA

UK Iran Embassy
  • Terrorists seize Iran embassy and hostages in London leading to the British SAS storming embassy and releasing hostages

Japanese Cars
  • Japan becomes the worlds largest auto producing country

US leads boycott of Moscow Olympics
  • US leads boycott of Moscow Olympics in protest at Soviet invasion of Afghanistan

political refugees from Cuba
  • Mariel boat lift mass exodus of political refugees from Cuba to the United States

  • Spain and United Kingdom agree to reopen the border between Gibraltar and Spain, closed since 1969.

Popular Culture 1980

  • Millions of viewers tune into the TV soap opera Dallas to learn who shot lead character J.R. Ewing.
  • John Lennon is shot outside his New York apartment
  • The Rubik's Cube goes on Sale From Ideal Toy Corp ( invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik
  • Check Out Our History of Toys Section

Popular Films

  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Superman II
  • Nine to Five
  • Raging Bull
  • Coal Miner's Daughter

Popular Musicians

  • ABBA
  • AC/DC
  • Adam and the Ants
  • Black Sabbath
  • Blondie with " Call Me "
  • David Bowie
  • The Cars
  • Eric Clapton
  • Alice Cooper
  • Elvis Costello
  • KC and The Sunshine Band
  • Michael Jackson
  • Queen with " Another One Bites the Dust "
  • Pink Floyd
  • Diana Ross " Upside Down "
  • Paul McCartney
  • Olivia Newton-John with " Magic "
  • Electric Light Orchestra
  • David Bowie
  • The Police

Born This Year

Born This Year 1980

Martina Hingis September 30th
Isaac Hanson November 17th
Jessica Simpson July 10th
Macaulay Culkin August 26th


  • First available Domestic Camcorders available in Japan
  • First Available Fax Machines in Japan
  • 30% of US car sales are imports
  • In Mexico first ever natural birth in captivity of a Giant panda
  • Voyager 1 probe sends the first high resolution images of Saturn back to scientists and confirms the existence of Janus, a moon of Saturn.
  • Release of Pac-Man arcade game
  • CNN becomes the first 24hrs News Station
  • Digital Equipment Corporation, Intel and Xerox introduce the DIX standard for Ethernet
  • 3M begins sales of it's latest product Post-It Notes invented by Arthor Fry and Spencer Silver

Major World Political Leaders

Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser Brazil President João Figueiredo Canada Prime Minister Joe Clark till March 3,
Canada Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau from March 3,

China Chairman of the People's Republic of China Post Abolished

France President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing

Germany Chancellor Helmut Schmidt
India Prime Minister Charan Singh To 14 January
India Prime Minister Indira Gandhi From 14 January
Italy Prime Minister Francesco Cossiga Till 18 October
Italy Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani From 18 October

Japan Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira Till 12 June
Japan Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki From 17 July

Mexico President José López Portillo Russia / Soviet Union
Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars Leonid Brezhnev South Africa Prime Minister Pieter Willem Botha United States President Jimmy Carter United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Political Elections 1980

Canadian Federal Election 1980 Pierre Trudeau ( Liberal ) defeats Joe Clark ( Progressive Conservatives )

United States Presidential Election 1980 Ronald Reagan (Republican) Defeats Jimmy Carter (Democratic) and John B. Anderson (no party) and Ed Clark (Libertarian)