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Subject: Anyone else find the early 80s fascinating?

Written By: 90s Guy on 01/25/16 at 3:20 pm

I find the era of roughly 1981-early 1984 really interesting...It has very few holdovers from the 70s overall, but is also quite unlike the late 80s (I grew up in a Baby Boomer household and so while I grew up in the 90s, my home was very late 80s). I say roughly 1981-early 1984 as 1984 for me represents the turning point, where the 80s really found itself.

It's not as if culture changed over night, but IMO, 1984-1987 is what we think of when we culturally remember the 80s: The Terminator, The Goonies, Ghostbusters, Cyndi Lauper, The Breakfast Club, Twisted Sister, Gremlins, The Karate Kid, Die Hard, Back to the Future, Top Gun, Crocodile Dundee, Aliens, Three Men and a Baby, Lethal Weapon. We Are The World, Take On Me, Live Aid, Madonna, etc....The teased hair, the mullets, the typical 80s cuts, the muscle shirt trends, Nintendo saving and dominating the video game industry - a lot of things we remember about the 80s comes from roughly this time.

Whereas 1987-1989, you have a special period...Guns N' Roses becomes huge, Metallica breaks through in popularity as well, the Sega Genesis is released and offers up the first real competition to Nintendo's dominance; Pop Music shifts to some younger artists such as Paula Abdul, Rap becomes a mainstream genre and New Jack Swing begins to become popular; TV staples of the core 80s such as The A-Team, Magnum P.I., Miami Vice, The Smurfs, Transformers, Thundercats all come to an end between 1987 and 1989. Most of this era, roughly 1987 onward, blurs with the early 1990s until circa 1991 or 1992 culturally, and is remembered as it's own unique era.

But the early 1980s - 1981-1983/1984 - is largely forgotten. The era of New Wave, the last vestiges of the 70s, the 80s finding itself, the New Romantic era, power Pop, Atari 2600 - this era is largely not remembered in comparison to the other two, yet it's fascinating - if you look at movies or TV from this period, you can see traces of both the 70s and the 80s very clearly, a decade struggling to really find itself. It's not a unique era in the way 1987-1992 was, but a period of transition.

Subject: Re: Anyone else find the early 80s fascinating?

Written By: #Infinity on 01/25/16 at 3:47 pm

I agree that the early 80s are a pretty underrated period, especially for music in particular.  Many people point to how poor music sales were at the time, as well as a general lack of direction in the industry, but I think 1982 and 1983 are among the greatest years in music history.  The larger than life arena style of songwriting reached its peak during that period, but there was also a healthy mix of sonic experimentation without going overboard; essentially, music tended to strike the perfect balance between classic and modern.

Early 80s cinema should not be overlooked either.  1982, in particular, was a phenomenal year for Hollywood, especially in the science fiction department in particular, though Gandhi and Tootsie are also classics.  If you type "worst year for movies" in the Google search bar, 1983 is the first non-recent year that it suggests, but I think this notion is misguided.  In addition to Return of the Jedi, 1983 produced Scarface, Risky Business, and Terms of Endearment, just to name a few notable films.  It's certainly a better year for the industry than 1970, which has pretty much no classic films aside maybe from the overly long and overrated Patton.

I think the reason so many people forget about the early 80s is due to the fact that an overwhelming amount of its culture had already attained a fair amount of popularity in the late 70s, even if it didn't peak until the early 80s.  New wave bands like Blondie, Gary Numan, and The Cars were already quite popular by then, as were arena rock groups like Toto and Styx.  A lot of people point to excellent punk albums from this time period, like Damaged and Walk Among Us, but yet again, punk already had its main heyday in the late 70s with the Sex Pistols, Ramones, and The Clash's London Calling.  Video games were picking up popularity in 1979 thanks to the success of Space Invaders, as well as the increasing prevalence of the Atari 2600.  The Star Wars movies were clearly still the most popular movies of the time, but since the first movie already came out in 1977, you can't categorize the original trilogy squarely with the early 80s.  Finally, there aren't really a whole lot of tv shows that define the early 80s exclusively; most of the biggest programs at the time were late 70s debuts like Taxi, Mork & Mindy, and The Dukes of Hazzard.  Even fashion wasn't that distinct from the late 70s, with only marginal changes as the early 80s progressed.

Frankly, it's really tempting to call the period from 1977-1983 a distinct era of its own, just like the Bush '41 era between the 80s and 90s, as well as the Y2K period that bridged the 90s with the 2000s.  It really does have its own culture that cannot be clearly categorized with either the 70s, nor the 80s.  The core of this would roughly span from autumn 1979, around which core 70s trends like disco began to fade, through autumn 1982, after which the 80s had developed enough of their own identity to clearly distinguish themselves from the late 70s.

Subject: Re: Anyone else find the early 80s fascinating?

Written By: 90s Guy on 01/25/16 at 4:18 pm


I agree that the early 80s are a pretty underrated period, especially for music in particular.  Many people point to how poor music sales were at the time, as well as a general lack of direction in the industry, but I think 1982 and 1983 are among the greatest years in music history.  The larger than life arena style of songwriting reached its peak during that period, but there was also a healthy mix of sonic experimentation without going overboard; essentially, music tended to strike the perfect balance between classic and modern.

Early 80s cinema should not be overlooked either.  1982, in particular, was a phenomenal year for Hollywood, especially in the science fiction department in particular, though Gandhi and Tootsie are also classics.  If you type "worst year for movies" in the Google search bar, 1983 is the first non-recent year that it suggests, but I think this notion is misguided.  In addition to Return of the Jedi, 1983 produced Scarface, Risky Business, and Terms of Endearment, just to name a few notable films.  It's certainly a better year for the industry than 1970, which has pretty much no classic films aside maybe from the overly long and overrated Patton.

I think the reason so many people forget about the early 80s is due to the fact that an overwhelming amount of its culture had already attained a fair amount of popularity in the late 70s, even if it didn't peak until the early 80s.  New wave bands like Blondie, Gary Numan, and The Cars were already quite popular by then, as were arena rock groups like Toto and Styx.  A lot of people point to excellent punk albums from this time period, like Damaged and Walk Among Us, but yet again, punk already had its main heyday in the late 70s with the Sex Pistols, Ramones, and The Clash's London Calling.  Video games were picking up popularity in 1979 thanks to the success of Space Invaders, as well as the increasing prevalence of the Atari 2600.  The Star Wars movies were clearly still the most popular movies of the time, but since the first movie already came out in 1977, you can't categorize the original trilogy squarely with the early 80s.  Finally, there aren't really a whole lot of tv shows that define the early 80s exclusively; most of the biggest programs at the time were late 70s debuts like Taxi, Mork & Mindy, and The Dukes of Hazzard.  Even fashion wasn't that distinct from the late 70s, with only marginal changes as the early 80s progressed.

Frankly, it's really tempting to call the period from 1977-1983 a distinct era of its own, just like the Bush '41 era between the 80s and 90s, as well as the Y2K period that bridged the 90s with the 2000s.  It really does have its own culture that cannot be clearly categorized with either the 70s, nor the 80s.  The core of this would roughly span from autumn 1979, around which core 70s trends like disco began to fade, through autumn 1982, after which the 80s had developed enough of their own identity to clearly distinguish themselves from the late 70s.


This is a perfect summation :)

Subject: Re: Anyone else find the early 80s fascinating?

Written By: 80sfan on 01/25/16 at 4:18 pm

In a strange way, yes, I am fascinated with it. To me it was one of the most explosive horror movie eras of all time.

Friday the 13th (1980)
Happy birthday to me (1981)
The Burning (1981)
Prom Night (1980)
The Fog (1980)
Halloween II (1981)
The Shining (1980)
Graduation Day (1981)
Final Exam (1981)
Mother's Day (1980)
The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

Subject: Re: Anyone else find the early 80s fascinating?

Written By: JordanK1982 on 01/25/16 at 4:52 pm

Early 80's Hardcore Punk is one of the best forms of Punk Rock. Like, Group Sex by the Circle Jerks from 1980. It's one of my favorite albums of all time. So fast, loud, raw and aggressive! Skateboarding in the early 80's also got really rad especially with the arrival of the raddest Skate Rock such as JFA and The Faction. The whole 80's from 1980 to 1989 also had some of the greatest movies ever created.

I think the whole 80's was incredible beginning to end. 1980-1983 is too good and a huge improvement to be considered 70's. I've also noticed that fashion got a lot more casual like the 90's around 1980-1981, as well but I'd say the earliest would be 1977/1978.


A lot of people point to excellent punk albums from this time period, like Damaged and Walk Among Us, but yet again, punk already had its main heyday in the late 70s with the Sex Pistols, Ramones, and The Clash's London Calling. 


The only better Punk from the 70's compared to the 80's is The Ramones. They're the kings. All the other Punk from the 80's destroyed the 70's in each and every way. Hardcore is the rawest, truest and purist form of Punk that isn't The Ramones. :P

Though, Black Flag with Keith and Nervous Breakdown was 20X better than Damaged or anything else with Roid-Rage Rollins. ;D

Subject: Re: Anyone else find the early 80s fascinating?

Written By: Baltimoreian on 01/25/16 at 7:08 pm

I find the early-mid 80s to be awesome. Especially when it had so many cool slasher movies, entertainment, TV shows, songs, etc. I also loved of how peaceful it was.

Subject: Re: Anyone else find the early 80s fascinating?

Written By: violet_shy on 01/29/16 at 6:44 pm

The fashion from 1980 to 1982 was great!

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