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1985 Major News Events in History

  1. Live Aid pop concerts in Philadelphia and London raise over 50 million for famine relief in Ethiopia.
  2. Coca-Cola Company introduces New Coke.
  3. The Eastern half of North America is hit with an exceptionally cold winter, one of the worst in recorded history.
  4. The United Kingdom and Spain agree to reopen the border between Gibraltar and Spain.
  5. The Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior is sunk when French agents plant a bomb on the hull
  6. Route 66 is removed from the United States Highway System.
  7. Nintendo releases the NES in North American markets during October.
  8. The popular film "The Color Purple" premieres.
  9. Michael Jordan is named as the NBA's "Rookie of the Year."
  10. Operation Moses a secret operation by Israel to airlift thousands of Jewish Ethiopian refugees out of Sudan.

More Detailed Information on each Event and those not included can be found below

What Happened in 1985 Major Events, Born This Year, Popular Culture, Prices

What happened in 1985 Major News Stories include Coca-Cola Company introduces New Coke, Heysel Stadium Disaster, Unabomber kills his first victim, CD's Introduced, Wreck of the RMS Titanic Located, Mexico City Earthquake kills 9,000, Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior is sunk by French Agents, As the spread of aids increases Governments round the world start screening Blood donations for AIDS. On the technology front the first .com is registered and the first version of Windows is released Ver 1.0 . Terrorists continue to perform acts of terrorism including the hijack of TWA Flight 847 and the Italian Cruise Liner "Achille Lauro ". Famine in Ethiopia is shown more on TV News in July and Live Aid concerts around the world raise many millions to help the starving in Africa and the pop industry in US joins together to sing "We Are The World".

Cost of Living 1985 - How Much things cost

Yearly Inflation Rate USA 3.55%

Year End Close Dow Jones 1546

Interest Rates Year End Federal Reserve 10.75%

Average Cost of new house $89,330

Median Price Of and Existing Home $75,500

Average Income per year $22,100.00

Average Monthly Rent $375.00

Average Price for new car$9,005.00

gallon of gas $1.09

Movie Ticket $2.75

US Postage Stamp 22 cents

Bacon per pound $1.65

Bean Bag Lounger $39.99

Rainbow Brite Color Kids $9.99 Each

Ground Beef $1.39 per pound

Potatoes $1.00 for 5 pounds

Elyria, Ohio
2 bedroom condo overlooking lake $59,900


A few UK Examples in Pounds Sterling

Average House Price 40,169

Gallon of Petrol 1.88

BOE Interest Rates Year End 11.38%

Yearly Inflation Rate UK 9.50%

World -- Live Aid concerts

Live Aid pop concerts in Philadelphia and London raise over 50 million for famine relief in Ethiopia.

More Information for the Live Aid Concerts

1. The Live Aid Concerts were held during July of 1985.

2. They were a series of rock concerts held to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia around the world.

3. They took place in cities including London, Philadelphia, Sydney and Moscow.

4. The concerts attracted close to 200,000 people and by using satellite link-ups and TV broadcasts around the world, they attracted an estimated one billion viewers in 110 countries who watched the concerts performed live.

5. The concerts were organized by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure and they raised over $125 million in relief money for Africa.

6. Notable acts included B.B. King, Bob Dylan, Cher, David Bowie, Duran Duran, Elton John, Hall & Oates, Lionel Richie, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Queen, Run-DMC, and U2.

New Coke

Coca-Cola Company introduces New Coke.

More Information for New Coke.

In April of 1985, Coca-Cola introduced “New Coke” in what many observers declared to be the worst marketing blunder in history. At the time, Coca-Cola was a 99 year old company looking for a way to update itself and they chose to do so by changing the original formula of their iconic soft drink. They created a sweeter version that had been preferred in taste tests, but fans of the brand protested the decision in an overwhelmingly negative response. Within three months Coca-Cola announced it would return to the old formula and tried to re-brand the drink as Coca-Cola “Classic” and New Coke quickly disappeared.

United States -- Coldest Winter in Eastern U.S.

The Eastern half of North America is hit with an exceptionally cold winter, one of the worst in recorded history.

More Information and Timeline for Eastern U.S. Coldest Winter

The Eastern halves of the United States and Canada face some of the coldest temperatures ever recorded in the 20th century as an arctic air mass moves through the country. According to meteorologists the cold wave occurred as a result of a polar vortex moving further south than what was usually observed and being coupled with a high pressure system. The cold snap lasted from January 20th to the 22nd and resulted in record-breaking cold temperatures as far south as Florida.

Spain -- Gibraltar / Spain Border

The United Kingdom and Spain agree to reopen the border between Gibraltar and Spain.

More Information for Gibraltar and Spain Border

After sixteen years of being closed under the rule of Francisco Franco in 1969, the border between Gibraltar and Spain was officially reopened during February of 1985. The border had been closed by Franco after tensions heightened between Spain and Britain over the status of Gibraltar. Spain had previously eased restrictions in 1982, allowing pedestrians to cross over the border but it was still tightly controlled as only Spanish citizens and residents of Gibraltar were allowed to cross. Opening the gates to all travelers in 1985 was a decision made by Spain to garner support for joining the European Community.

United States -- Calvin and Hobbes comic strip

The popular comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes" debuts in newspapers.

More Information for Calvin and Hobbes.

The popular comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes” makes its debut during November of 1985. Created by Bill Watterson, “Calvin and Hobbes” followed the adventures of a young boy, Calvin, and his stuffed animal tiger, Hobbes, while also exploring social, scientific, and philosophical ideas and issues. The comic was originally shown in 250 newspapers but expanded to over 2,000 newspapers at its most popular point. The strip ended in December of 1995 but is still used in papers throughout the world.

From our 1985 Toys Page

Care Bear Desk From The 1980s Care Bear Desk
Price: $29.99

Versatile activity desk with plastic bucket seat encourages creative play. Look under the flip-top chalkboard and there's a pegboard and magnetic play activity. Includes wipe-off crayons, magnetic alphabet letters, chalk, eraser, mallet, and pegs.

From our 1980s Furniture Page

1985 Bean Bag Lounger

1985 Bean Bag Lounger

Price: $39.99

The bean bag lounger is great for sleeping or just relaxing. Comes in dark brown or autumn spice. Bean bags are double-stitched at stress points and are filled with expanded polystyrene beads.

1980s Ladies Dresses

1985 Lace Blouson Dress

From 1985 Lace Blouson Dress

Price: $60.00

Description : Delectably elegant... the cream of the 20's revisited, in a lavish lace blouson with crochet and ribbon-trimmed overlay collar. Satin birthday-party sash accents the elasticized, dropped torso. Slipover polyester dress has keyhole button back and separate acetate slip.

1980s Home Electrical

1985 Projection Screen TV

1985 Projection Screen TV

Price: $1279.00

This fifty-inch diagonal measure picture is handsomely styled in a cabinet that takes less than nine square feet of floor space. Lens system rejects dust and comb filter delivers a twenty-percent sharper picture than TVs without it. One-button color adjusts picture instantly. Touch remote tunes in up to 105 cable-compatible channels.

More News and Key Events From 1985

New Zealand -- Rainbow Warrior

The Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior is sunk when French agents plant a bomb on the hull killing Photographer Fernando Pereira

More Information and Timeline For Rainbow Warrior Sinking in Auckland, New Zealand

1. French Agents From the French foreign intelligence services arrive in New Zealand

2. French DGSE agent Christine Cabon, posing as environmentalist Frederique Bonlieu, volunteered for the Greenpeace office in Auckland.

3. Cabon gathers intelligence information crucial to the sinking.

4. July 10 DGSE divers beneath the Rainbow Warrior attached two limpet mines and detonated them 10 minutes apart

5. Following the capture and trial French foreign intelligence services (DGSE) agents Captain Dominique Prieur and Commander Alain Mafart – posing as married couple 'Sophie and Alain Turenge' and having Swiss passports pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on November 22, 1985.

The sinking was designed to sink the flagship of the Greenpeace fleet, the Rainbow Warrior in the port of Auckland, New Zealand, to prevent her from interfering in a nuclear test in Moruroa authorized by top French Officicials.

United States -- Route 66

Route 66 is removed from the United States Highway System.

More Information for Route 66

1. Established in 1926, Route 66 was one of the first highways created in the United States Highway System.

2. Immortalized in television, film, song, and literature, the iconic road spanned a total of 2,448 miles in length, running from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California.

3. The road traveled through parts of Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California and was a popular path through the American Southwest during the 1920's until the 1960's.

4. It soon fell into disrepair as it was replaced by the Interstate system.

5. During June of 1985 the historic Route 66 was officially removed from the United States Highway System.

Russia -- Mikhail Gorbachev

Mikhail Gorbachev replaces Konstantin Chernenko as Soviet leader.

More Information for Mikhail Gorbachev

In March of 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the Soviet Union after the death of former leader Konstantin Chernenko. Gorbachev became a transformative figure in the USSR as he ushered in new domestic and foreign policy reforms in an attempt to salvage the crumbling Communist system. One of the important decisions that he made was agreeing to nuclear disarmament deals with the United States, some of the first steps towards ending the Cold War. By the early 1990’s, his reforms had worked too well and the Soviet Union was dissolved. He resigned in 1991 as the transition to democracy began.

United States -- Nintendo

Nintendo releases the NES in North American markets during October.

More Information for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was released in North American markets during October of 1985. The revolutionary home gaming system had been previously released in Japan during 1983. The NES was originally launched with seventeen games including “Duck Hunt” and “Ice Climber.” The system did not initially sell much as the market for video games had dropped, but, with Nintendo’s U.S. release of their breakout game “Super Mario Bros.” later that year, the NES soon caught on in the U.S. and was a popular item distributed throughout stores across the country in 1986.

Japan -- Japanese astronauts

The first group of Japanese astronauts are selected.

More Information for Japan's Astronauts.

The first group of Japanese astronauts are chosen during August of 1985. Mamoru Mohri, Chiaki Mukai, and Takao Doi became Japan’s first astronauts after being carefully selected by the National Space Development Agency (NASDA) of Japan. The two men, Mamoru Mohri and Tako Doi, and one woman, Chiaki Mukai, were chosen as candidates for participation in future NASA space shuttle missions and all three went on to participate in two future missions each. Mamoru Mohri became the first Japanese astronaut in space in 1992 and Takao Doi went on to be the first Japanese astronaut to conduct a space walk, while Chiaki Mukai was the first Japanese woman in space and also became the first Japanese astronaut to conduct two flights.

"The Color Purple" Movie

The popular film "The Color Purple" premieres.

More Information and Timeline for The Color Purple film.

The classic film “The Color Purple" has its premiere on December 16, 1985 in New York City. The film stars Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, Margaret Avery, and several other notable actors. It was based on the novel by the same name by Alice Walker and was directed by legendary film maker Stephen Spielberg. The film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actress but it did not win one category. Despite not winning an Academy Award, “The Color Purple” was the fourth highest-grossing film in 1985.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is named as the NBA's "Rookie of the Year."

More Information for Michael Jordan Rookie of the Year

In May of 1985, legendary basketball player Michael Jordan was given the NBA’s “Rookie of the Year” award during his inaugural season Jordan had been drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1984 and played exceptionally well in his first season, soon becoming one of the fan-favorite players. He helped the Bull get into the playoffs for the first time in a few years and set several team records that season. Jordan would evolve into one of the most well-known, highest paid and accomplished basketball players of all time and is still considered by many to be the best and most competitive player to ever play the sport professionally.

Mexico City earthquake

8.1 Richter scale earthquake strikes Mexico City. More than 9,000 people are killed,

Rioting UK

Rioting breaks out at housing estates in Brixton, London and Liverpool

Terry Anderson

Terry Anderson kidnapped in Beirut, Lebanon

Boris Becker

Boris Becker becomes youngest winner at 17 to win the men's Wimbledon championships


500 Hippy travellers clash with police on June 1st on their way to the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge

Operation Moses

Operation Moses a secret operation by Israel to airlift thousands of Jewish Ethiopian refugees out of Sudan.

President Reagan and Soviet Leader Gorbachev

President Reagan and Soviet Leader Gorbachev meet for the first time in Switzerland

Colombia Eruption

Volcanic Eruption in the town of Armero in Colombia kills 25,000

TWA Flight 847

TWA Flight 847 is hijacked by Hezbollah. on June 14th

EgyptAir Flight 648

EgyptAir Flight 648 is hijacked and ends in the loss of 56 passengers during the commando raid to rescue them

"Achille Lauro "

The Italian Cruise Liner "Achille Lauro " is hijacked by Palestinian Terrorists

Italy Terrorism Attacks

Terrorist gunman shoot passengers at Rome and Vienna airports .

British Coal Miners Strike

The British Coal Miners Strike ends and coal mines continue to be closed

UK first Mobile Phone Call

The first Mobile Phone Call Is Made in the UK by Ernie Wise

RMS Titanic Located

A joint American-French expedition locates the wreck of the RMS Titanic.


President Reagan announces Strategic Defense Weapons ( SDI ) will not impact arms talks


The Unabomber kills his first victim

Hurricane Gloria

New York Stock Exchange Closes For The day For Hurricane Gloria

Philadelphia Police

Philadelphia Police drop a bomb containing C-4 and Tovex from a helicopter onto MOVE's residence on May 13 News Events which causes an uncontrolled fire and as a result, 53 houses destroyed


Insurance companies begin screening for Aids for life insurance causing outcry by civil liberties groups.

Sinclair C5

Clive Sinclair launches the Sinclair C5 electric tricycle with a maximum speed of 15mph on January 10th

Boeing 747 Flight 123

Boeing 747 Flight 123 crashes into Mount Osutaka, Japan

Mafia Boss Paul Castellano

Mafia Boss Paul Castellano is shot on orders of John J. Gotti

Heysel Stadium Disaster

Crowd Violence Erupts during the European Cup Final at Heysel Stadium in Brussels causing a wall to collapse killing 39 football fans.

Following Heysel Stadium Disaster English Soccer Clubs banned From European Competition

massive car bomb in Beirut

A massive car bomb in Beirut, Lebanon leaves 175 injured and 45 people dead


South Africa Invades Angola

Townships In South Africa Rioting

Riots and protests continue in Townships In South Africa against apartheid policies

Popular Culture 1985

Various artists, including Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper, Willie Nelson, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder, record the song "We Are The World" as USA for Africa. to raise money for famine relief

Michael Jackson Buys ATV Music and every Beatles Song for $47 million dollars

Coca-Cola Company introduces New Coke in April ( 6 months later they returned to the original formula )

Popular Films

Back to the Future

  • Rambo: First Blood Part II

  • Rocky IV

  • The Color Purple

  • Out of Africa

  • Cocoon

  • Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment

  • A View to a Kill

  • Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

    Popular Musicians

    Duran Duran

    Simple Minds

    Madonna with " Crazy for You "

    Bruce Springsteen

    Dire Straits with " Money for Nothing "

    The Cure

    David Bowie

    Phil Collins

    " We Are The World "
    By USA For Africa featuring many artists for Aid For Africa

    Simple Minds

    Born This Year in 1985

    Cristiano Ronaldo

    Born: February 5th, Funchal, Portugal

    Lewis Hamilton

    Born: January 7th, Stevenage, United Kingdom

    Bruno Mars

    Born: October 8th, Honolulu, HI

    Anna Kendrick

    Born: August 9, Portland, ME

    Lana Del Rey

    Born: June 21st, New York, NY


    The Food and Drug Administration approves a blood test for AIDS,

    The first .Com domain name,, is registered by the Symbolics corporation. However, .edu domains, for educational institutions, still predominate over the commercial .com ones

    Microsoft Corporation releases the first version of Windows, Windows 1.0.

    Switzerland is the first country to bring into law catalytic converters must be fitted to private cars

    Compact Discs are introduced to American Consumers

    The space shuttle Atlantis is launched

    UK Starts screening Blood donations for AIDS

    British Scientists discover a hole in the earths Ozone Layer

  • Calendar For The Year 1985

    1985 Calendar

    Major World Political Leaders

    Australia Prime Minister Bob Hawke

    Brazil President João Figueiredo Till 15 March

    Brazil President José Sarney From 15 March

    Canada Prime Minister Brian Mulroney

    China Chairman of the People's Republic of China Li Xiannian

    France President François Mitterrand

    Germany Chancellor Helmut Kohl

    India Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi

    Italy Prime Minister Bettino Craxi

    Japan Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone

    Mexico President Miguel de la Madrid

    Russia / Soviet Union

    General Secretary of the CPSU Mikhail Gorbachev

    South Africa State President Pieter Willem Botha

    United States President Ronald Reagan

    United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher