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Subject: 1989 - A Transitional Year - Your Memories

Written By: 90s Guy on 04/15/17 at 12:51 am

Am curious to hear the thoughts and memories of those who lived through 1989.

I view 1989 as a transitional year. It can be looked at as both the end of the 1980s, literally, and in a sense the beginning of the 1990s. 1989 began with the inauguration of George H.W. Bush and ended with the premiere of The Simpsons. The first Billboard Hot 100 single of the year was "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" by Poison and the last Hot 100 single of the 1980s, Phil Collins' Another Day in Paradise, would remain on the chart until the middle of January 1990. It was preceded by "We Didn't Start the Fire" which summed up the events of the past few days and was truly a Yuppie Anthem. Mili Vanilli was still considered legit. Hair Metal reigned with songs like "When I See You Smile" by Bad English dominating the charts, yet at the same time, Nirvana put out their first album and began to make waves in the college and underground scene. Soundgarden put out their second album this year and began taking on an alternative feel. Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul were helping pave the way for the New Jack Swing sound that would dominate R&B in the early '90s. The Rolling Stones came back to life in 1989, after having become increasingly irrelevant throughout the 1980 with the release of Steel Wheels and the massive record-breaking tour that accompanied it.

Batman would dominate the year and the box office and became a culturally relevant force for the first time since the 1960s, and the success of the Burton film arguably made comic books more mainstream than they had been; this would lay the seeds for a franchise that would span almost until the end of the 1990s. National Lampoon's, a staple in comedy in the 1980s, had their last big hit film in the form of the classic Christmas Vacation; Chevy Chase's last hit was that year's Fletch Lives. Indiana Jones rode off into the sunset (for a long time) and seemed to close the book for good on another beloved 80s series.

John Travolta, who for the entirety of the 80s had drifted into obscurity, rocketed back to fame with Look Who's Talking. This would be the first inklings of his career renaissance that was to follow in the 1990s. Al Pacino, who had also spent most of the '80s in decline, would also find his stardoom reignited with Sea of Love - and his own career renaissance, lasting through the end of the 1990s, would follow.

Disney, themselves having been floundering since the early 1970s, saw the birth of their Renaissance with help from a Mermaid named Ariel in the Fall of 1989. This Renaissance would fully bloom in the mid 1990s, and is etched in the hearts, minds and memories of every kid who grew up in that decade - but it began in 1989.

Don Bluth, whose success had made him a formidable rival to Disney, would find his success begin to wane this year.

Spike Lee would bring racial divisions - which would plague the rest of 1989 and the early 1990s - to the fore in his film Do the Right Thing.

James Camerons' The Abyss introduced the world to the wonders of CGI on a large scale. While earlier films such as Tron had used the technology to slight degrees, The Abyss would be the stepping stone from which CGI began to fully be integrated into film.

I was not even conceived until February of 1990, but my parents met and began dating in November 1989. 1989 was a year of rapid changes for both of my parents. My dad had been dating several women throughout the year, and my mother struggled with an increasingly unruly teenage daughter in the form of my older sister. This year, my sister met, and briefly dated, the man she would end up being with in 2014. The end of 1989 saw the end of my father's mustache, which had defined his appearance throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and saw the first versions of his mullet, which would define his appearance well into the mid 1990s. There are some photos of my father in 1989 with both his mullet and his mustache, which to me are shocking as they're like bridge photos between my father in the 80s, and himself in the 90s.

All across America, Baby Boomers were settling down and having children at long last, creating the second boom of the century, and bringing my generation - The Millenials - into being. Love was in the air, change was just over the horizon, the 1990s were just at the edge of the last sunset of 1989 - we were at the end of one era, and yet not quite at the start of another.

So, your turn to share. I can only provide summaries and second-hand anecdotes.

Subject: Re: 1989 - A Transitional Year - Your Memories

Written By: JordanK1982 on 04/15/17 at 1:08 am

I agree that the year does feature some "previews" of the next decade but overall 1989 still felt very 80's to me. Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince remained the big stars and 80's styled new wave and glam metal were still big chart toppers. You had popular movies like Bill and Ted, Turner and Hooch, Gleaming the Cube, The Last Crusade, Road House, Ghostbusters II, Back to the Future II, etc. A lot of hit songs still felt very, very 80's (like they could of come out in '85 or '86) like She Drives Me Crazy, Like a Prayer, Cherish, I Beg Your Pardon, I'll Be There For You, Get on Your Feet and it goes on. Even fashion, still very 80's with crazy neon patterns and triple swatch watches on the wrist. It definitely still contributes a lot to the spirit of the decade.

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