GrandUnifiedTimeline Laconic Main Quotes UsefulNotes
'Twas a good decade for pop culture.
"Legend has it that man once washed his jeans in pure acid!"
The Excessive Eighties: a time where you
when you want to
kick up your Sunday shoes
walk like an Egyptian
hear doves cry
or feel the
moonwalk the Thriller
All the men were preppies who wore pastel suits with narrow ties, drove sports cars that Lee Iacocca personally stood behind and traded stocks on Wall Street - after all, as
said, nothing says success like excess. (Unless they happened to be teenagers, in which case they were
or studied karate and learnt the meaning of "
Wax On, Wax Off
".) Everyone had
to sink a ship and power suits with shoulderpads
big enough to knock the giant mirrored sunglasses off
anyone who walked within a three foot radius of them. And those without them had flat-tops and wore gym clothes and break-danced on top of cardboard. Millenials (then known as
"Echo Boomers" and later "Generation Y"
) started being born, one day to become,
despite their best efforts
, the young adults of The
Turn of the Millennium
Computing technology first became a true cultural force in this decade, starting a trend that would keep on snowballing to this very day. The Eighties was the decade of cell phones literally sized and shaped like bricks, jokes about being unable to program VCRs, the death of Betamax, and the beginnings of personal computers and gaming consoles beginning to proliferate inside homes, perhaps one of the trends from this decade with the largest of cultural implications. Cable television also took off big time, with
becoming household acronyms.
In the US, it was also the first wave of the
, the inklings of which started in '78 with the dub of
Battle of the Planets
, continuing on with
getting even more hardcore
in '85, and hitting its apex by
cranking the quality Up to Eleven
with the nationwide release of
On the homefront, the 1980s produced a rash of pop-cultural icons that today are looked upon, at worst, with
, and at best, as the national ideal. The conservative political culture of the era meant two rather contradictory things for the production of pop-culture; on the one hand, the surge of private enterprise together with new media technologies allowed corporations such as Hasbro an unprecedented ability to build
around their products, typically with a TV show and accompanying toys, but on the other
complaints would challenge the ethics of making a show that was "essentially one large commercial." The result was the rather spoof-worthy
And Knowing Is Half the Battle
segment common to many mass franchise shows, shoving an
moral into the action. Fortunately, these were conveniently located after the actual plot, so kids could just turn it off at that point and run down to buy the toys. Besides, the segments
make great joke
Politically, the first part of the decade,
tensions continued to escalate such as the US doing things like invading Grenada and proposing ludicrously unfeasible military schemes like the Strategic Defense Initiative. Some accuse this of being an
by the West to render the economically inept Soviet Union infeasible by drawing its resources away from things like infrastructure and feeding its people, which market economies could accomplish easily. While this is, essentially, what ended up happening (though more complicated than that in real life; in Eastern Europe the decade's real deathblow to communism was considered to have been all the new media technology), the fact that the other possible outcome of such a strategy was global thermonuclear annihilation had a profound impact on Western media tropes. Most obviously, dystopian
, particularly set
After the End Twenty Minutes into the Future
, enjoyed a surge. On the other hand,
became a defiantly optimistic mainstream
mainstay with the feature film series and its return to live action TV with
Star Trek: The Next Generation
The second part of the decade, however, couldn't be more different. Gorbachev, spry for a CPSU leader at age 54 (this was the only time in the Cold War that the Soviet leader was substantially younger than the American), shook up the by-then sclerotic Soviet leadership upon taking power in 1985. Gorbachev restructured the economy (
) for "accelerated" development (
), encouraged openness (
), made tentative moves towards democracy (
went Karting with Reagan
. For a hot second in 1988-89, it seemed like the USSR had reached a final
with the West. And then came
The Great Politics Mess-Up
Throughout this era, there came new problems like the spread of AIDS which created a public health panic that dealt first a body blow to the gay community as homophobes treating them as modern lepers (even though that community took the danger seriously far sooner than others). However, the epidemic paradoxically later proved a partial blessing in disguise for gay rights as stricken people like
were shoved out of the closet, forcing the public to realize that LGBTI people were all around them, much like themselves. The Eighties also had the highest murder rate in U.S. history, almost twice what it is today.
Politically speaking, the decade lasted roughly from the inauguration of
on January 20, 1981 to the collapse of the Soviet Union on December 25, 1991, so almost 11 years. (Sometimes
becoming Prime Minister in 1979 is considered the start, especially in the UK.) Culturally, the decade lasted roughly from the death of Disco in 1979 to the release of
a common twenty- or thirty-year lag
, it's still The Eighties in much of Fictionland. Although
are gradually returning.
The Roaring Twenties
The Great Depression
Turn of the Millennium
The New Tens
Popular tropes from this time period include:
The Aggressive Drug Dealer: Crack cocaine and heroin caught on big during this decade, along with their pushers, hence the establishment of this trope as part of the larger "Just Say No" movement.
And Knowing Is Half the Battle: , et. al., in order to counteract accusations of being no more than "30-minute toy commercials".
G.I Joe Animated Adaptation: Of practically everything, including films, TV shows, comic books, video games, action figures, dolls, plush toys, music videos, and real-life celebrities!
Anime, called Japanimation at the time, started becoming somewhat popular in the US in the '80s (although it would take untill the second half of the 90's untill it truly exploded in mainstream popularity).
Canada Does Not Exist: A wave of low-budget cop and action-adventure dramas start being produced in Canada, but primarily for U.S. consumption. This leads to the weird phenomenon of shows which take place in a "nowhereland" that is neither fully the US nor completely Canada.
Cold War and Red Scare: A big feature of this period, particularly in the early 1980s with the European Missiles Crisis, the Nicaraguan civil war and Libya. Especially Libya. The Cold War plots here can be divided squarely between before and after 8 December 1987, the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the U.S. and USSR. It's generally straight Red Scare before that. After, it's Renegade Russian or Make the Bear Angry Again.
Corrupt Corporate Executive: Thanks to the movie , an enduring image of this time. Part of the economic climate of the time were Wall Street Ronald Reagan's reforms and the Black Monday crash of 1987.
Cyberpunk: kicked off by and Blade Runner .
Neuromancer The Dark Age of Comic Books: Began with and Watchmen in 1985.
The Dark Knight Returns Darker and Edgier: Even though this was a fun decade for many people this decade had many negative sides to it:
Crack cocaine was created and many people became destructively addicted to it; to make matters worse, the turf wars between dealers and gangs decimated many black neighborhoods in big cities.
The sexually-transmitted disease AIDS became an epidemic. The first two cases of patients dying from AIDS had taken place in 1959, but there are only a handful of known cases dating to the 1960s and 1970s. At least 121 AIDS-related deaths took place between 1980 and 1981. By the end of the 1980s, the disease had spread worldwide and there were over a million known patients. And in the U.S., the initial stigma of AIDS as a "gay disease" contributed to unfair ostracization of its victims and LGBT people in general.
The beginning of the (currently ongoing) "war on drugs" resulted in skyrocketing incarceration rates, hundreds of thousands of people ending up behind bars for nonviolent offenses.
An enormous crime wave hit America at this time: this is where NYC got its image as a crime-ridden Hellhole of apathy and darkness, and why so many action movies starring Cowboy Cops were popular.
More generally, the 1980s were the time when the American middle class began losing ground in terms of GDP share as more people became part of the upper class.. Socio-economic inequalities more or less kept in check for a half-century started growing again, creating an increasing polarization between economic classes.
Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: A common way of introducing romance subplots in '80s movies.
Dystopia: Dark, crime-ridden Twenty Minutes into the Future or oppressive alternate universes were big in '80s films/TV shows.
'80s Hair: If you were in a (popular) metal band or were a female country singer you wore it one way and only one way, BIG! This was also the decade in which the mullet really went mainstream. (Though the actual name "mullet" was only coined and applied retrospectively in The Nineties).
Football Hooligans: For the UK at least. It became such a problem that Margaret Thatcher put together a cabinet just to tackle them. Measures put in place then led to Hillsborough. These days the problem has been virtually eradicated, although the trope appears quite often in foreign films set in the UK where football is involved, and Hooligans continue to cause problems in places not the UK (mostly South America).
Fur and Loathing: When it started.
I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: Applying to works looking at this decade in hindsight, a survivor of the so-called "decade fashion disaster" might confess to this.
Japan Takes Over the World: A staple of the decade, particularly in Cyberpunk works. Often seems a little silly now.
Merchandise-Driven: Virtually every original cartoon made in the eighties seems to be this way.
Montage Ends The VHS: It's when a commercial VHS tape has trailers, intros or just a compilation montage promoting a line of tapes at the end, after a movie or episode it contains is over.
Narm Charm: Oh yes.
Nostalgia Filter / Two Decades Behind
Pac Man Fever
Pretty in Mink: Works that weren't afraid to show fur tended to show even more than they would in The Seventies.
Rich Bitch: Dynasty, Falcon Crest, et. al.
Shoulders of Doom: The huge shoulder pads, bigger than the ones forty years earlier.
Sweater Girl: With or without shoulder pads. With or without a bra underneath.
Valley Girl: Like, totally!
Vapor Wear: Common in the first part of the decade (before Madonna); off-the-shoulder tops and tops with bare backs were common.
Works that are set/were made in this time period include:
(Note: many were also a part of the Nineties; usually those made in the later part of the decade, and are marked with a '*').
open/close all folders
The Jim Shooter era of Marvel Comics mostly took place in this decade.
Most long runners from previous decades persist here. The Bronze Age of Comic Books ends here.
The Dark Age of Comic Books began in this decade.
Tintin. Series started in 1929.
. Series began in 1938.
Spirou and Fantasio . Series began in 1941, ended this decade, in 1986.
Tom Poes . Series began in 1945.
Suske en Wiske . Series began in 1947.
Nero . Series began in 1947.
Lucky Luke . Series began in 1950.
Piet Pienter en Bert Bibber . Series began in 1955.
Jommeke . Series started in February, 1977.
De Kiekeboes : Started in Judge Dredd 1977, but many of the most significant stories, such as the Apocalypse War and The Judge Child appeared in this time period, as well as iconic antagonists The Dark Judges and P.J. Maybe.
The Dark Phoenix Saga. Storyline started in January, 1980.
Bananaman. First appeared in February, 1980.
Dazzler. First appeared in February, 1980.
She-Hulk. First appeared in February, 1980.
Taskmaster. First appeared in May, 1980.
Mockingbird. The character of Huntress/Barbara 'Bobbi' Morse received its new codename in July, 1980.
. First appeared in July, 1980.
Nemesis the Warlock . Series started in September, 1980.
Dreadstar Vanth Dreadstar was introduced in September, 1980.
His eponymous series in November, 1982.
Teen Titans. Relaunched with new cast members in November, 1980.
Deathstroke. First appeared in December, 1980.
. First written in January 1981
Days of Future Past Elektra. First appeared in January, 1981.
. First appeared in May, 1981.
Ms Tree Vixen. Secondly appeared in July, 1981.
. First appeared in September, 1981.
Rogue Trooper Captain Marvel/Monica Rambeau. First appeared in 1982.
. First appeared in 1982.
Grendel: Devil's Legacy . Series started in March, 1982.
Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! . First appeared in March, 1982.
Cloak & Dagger . Storyline started in March, 1982.
V for Vendetta . Series started in June, 1982.
Contest of Champions . Debuted in June, 1982.
Global Guardians . First appeared in June, 1982.
The Savage Dragon . First appeared in September, 1982
Frank Miller's Wolverine Archie Comics
Cheryl Blossom. First appeared in October, 1982.
. First appeared in November, 1982.
Urbanus Ambush Bug. First appeared in December, 1982.
. First appeared in December, 1982.
Camelot 3000 . First appeared in December, 1982. Received their own series in March, 1983.
New Mutants . First appeared in 1983.
Ed The Happy Clown
Robin Jason Todd. First appeared in March, 1983. Became Robin in December, 1983.
Damian Wayne. First appeared (as an infant) in 1987. He would grow up to become a Robin.
Timothy "Tim" Drake. First appeared in August, 1989. Became Robin in December, 1989.
. First appeared in April-May, 1983.
Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld . First appeared in May, 1983.
DR And Quinch . Series started in Summer, 1983.
Albedo Erma Felna EDF . First appeared in June, 1983.
Jon Sable, Freelance Lobo. First appeared in June, 1983.
. Team debuted in July, 1983.
Batman and the Outsiders . The team received its own series in August, 1983.
Alpha Flight Sláine. Character debuted in August, 1983.
Silver Scarab/Hector Hall. First appeared in September, 1983.
Silver Scarab/hector Hall assumed the Sandman identity in May, 1988.
Sandman/Morpheus/Dream of the Endless. First appeared in January, 1989.
. First appeared in October, 1983.
American Flagg Beta Ray Bill. First appeared in November, 1983.
normalman. First appeared in November, 1983.
Magik. Series started in December 1983.
. First appeared in April, 1984.
Zot!! The series started in May, 1984.
Flaming Carrot . First appeared in May, 1984, starting the trend of crossovers.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Venom
The eponymous symbiote first appeared in May, 1984.
Eddie Brock first appeared in September, 1986.
The combination of the two above first appeared in April-May, 1988.
. First appeared in June, 1984.
Blue Devil . Series started in July, 1984.
The Ballad Of Halo Jones Nightwing, a new persona for Robin/Richard Grayson. First appeared in July, 1984.
. First appeared in August, 1984.
Power Pack . Series started in September, 1984.
The Transformers XIII. Series started in September, 1984.
Steel/Henry "Hank" Heywood III. First appeared in October, 1984.
Spider-Woman/Julia Carpenter. First appeared in October-November, 1984.
. Published in 1985.
For the Man Who Has Everything . First appeared in April, 1985.
Crisis on Infinite Earths . First appeared in June 1985.
Fish Police John Constantine. First appeared in June, 1985.
Silver Sable. First appeared in June, 1985.
Secret Wars II. Storyline started in July, 1985.
Squadron Supreme. Limited series started in September, 1985.
Hourman/Rick Tyler. First appeared in November, 1985.
. First appeared in 1986.
Angel Love . First appeared in 1986.
The Great Powerof Chninkel . First appeared in 1986.
Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters was published in 1986.
Maus I Nathan Summers. First appeared (as a newborn) in January, 1986. He would become better known as Cable.
. First appeared in February, 1986.
Booster Gold . First appeared in February, 1986.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns . First version. Debuted in February, 1986.
X-Factor Kid Flash/Wallace "Wally" West assumed the mantle of The Flash in March, 1986.
: First appeared in September, 1986. Remember that it's an alternate form of the world we know. Fashions, technology, drugs, and politics are different. Except in Watchmen the movie.
. Published in September, 1986.
Whatever Happened to The Man of Tomorrow? . Fist published in October, 1986.
Dylan Dog . Series started in October, 1986.
The Man of Steel . Launched in October, 1986.
The New Universe . First appeared in November, 1986.
DP7 . First published in December, 1986.
Strikeforce: Morituri . First appeared in 1987.
Ninja High School . First appeared in 1987.
Sam & Max: Freelance Police . The modern version of the team debuted in January, 1987.
Suicide Squad . Storyline started in February, 1987.
Batman: Year One Captain Atom/Nathaniel Adam. First appeared in March, 1987.
Death's Head. The "freelance peacekeeping agent" version first appeared in May, 1987.
. First appeared in May, 1987.
Justice League International Ghost. First appeared in June, 1987.
. First appeared in August, 1987.
Zenith . Relaunched with new members in October, 1987.
Doom Patrol Checkmate. First appeared in March, 1988.
. First appeared in March, 1988.
The Killing Joke . First appeared in March, 1988.
The Pitt . First appeared in April, 1988.
Excalibur Supergirl/Matrix. First appeared in April, 1988.
. First appeared in August, 1988.
Batman The Cult Disney Ducks Comic Universe
Duckworth. First adapted to the medium in October, 1988.
Launchpad McQuack. First adapted to the medium in October, 1988.
Mrs. Bentina Beakley. First adapted to the medium in November, 1988.
Webbigail "Webby" Vanderquack. First adapted to the medium in February, 1989.
Doofus Drake. First adapted to the medium in October, 1989.
'' Inferno. Storyline started in October, 1988.
Mickey Mouse Comic Universe
Arizona Goof. First appeared in December, 1988.
Huntress/Helena Bertinelli. First appeared in April, 1989.
Lucifer. First appeared in April, 1989.
Great Lakes Avengers. First appeared in July, 1989.
The Post-Hawkworld version of Hawkman/Katar Hol. First appeared in August, 1989.
The Post-Hawkworld version of Hawkwoman/Shayera Thal. First appeared in August, 1989.
. Published in October, 1989.
Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth Anarky. First appeared in November, 1989.
New Warriors. First appeared in December, 1989. Received their own series in July, 1990.
Rat-Man. First appeared in Spot 2, as a supplement to L'Eternauta #86 of June, 1989.
Eastern European Animation
For films released in this time period, see
Films of the 1980s (made in 2009, set in 1987)
Adventureland (made in 2000, set in sort-of-1989, based on musical information from the protagonist)
American Psycho (made in 2010, set in 1983)
Beyond the Black Rainbow (made in 2001, set in 1988)
Donnie Darko (made in 1996, set in 1987)
Fargo (made in 2010, the protagonists travel back to 1986)
Hot Tub Time Machine (made in 2011, set mainly between '82 and '86)
Killing Bono (made in 1998, set in the early 1980s)
The Last Days Of Disco (made in 2000, follows the protagonists from 1982-2000)
Love and Basketball (made in 1997, set in the early 1980s)
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (made in 2007, set in 1980)
No Country for Old Men (made in 2009, set in 1987)
Precious (made in 2006, set in 1981)
The Pursuit of Happyness (made in 2012, set in 1987)
Rock of Ages
Rock Star (made in 2008, set in 1982)
Son of Rambow Sunny (made in 2011, has several flashbacks set somewhere in the 80s)
(made in 2010, set in 1986)
Submarine Take Me Home Tonight (made in 2011, set in the late 1980s)
(made in 2009, set in an alternate 1985)
Watchmen (made in 1998, set in 1985)
The Wedding Singer (made in 2001, set in 1981)
Wet Hot American Summer (made in 1999, with lots of flashbacks to 1986-89)
Han-guk Manhwa Aenimeisyeon
Live Action TV
21 Jump Street
Alien Nation *
Amazing Stories (started in 1979, ran until 1983)
Archie Bunker's Place (started in 1972, ran until 1985)
Are You Being Served? (Made in 2008, set in 1981 to 1983)
Ashes to Ashes
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet
Bassie & Adriaan (aired on NBC in 1989-90, then in syndication 1991-2001)
Beauty and the Beast *
Blackadder (Technically ran from 1978-1982, but had plenty of tropes landing here, including Blake's 7 Deconstruction...and most of Servalan's costuming)
Bring 'Em Back Alive
Cagney & Lacey
Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future *
Charles In Charge *
The Cosby Show
Cosmos: A Personal Voyage *
Crazy Like a Fox
DC Follies *
Degrassi Junior High
Dempsey and Makepeace
Designing Women *
A Different World (started in 1978, ran until 1986)
Doctor Doctor (started in 1979, ran until 1985)
The Dukes of Hazzard
Earth Star Voyager *
Eastenders (The Encyclopedia Brown HBO series started in 1989)
Ever Decreasing Circles (made in 2005, set in 1982 to 1987)
Everybody Hates Chris
Faerie Tale Theatre
The Fall Guy
The Flipside Of Dominick Hide *
Family Ties The Muppets
(made in 1999, set in 1980)
Freaks and Geeks
Full House (made in 2013, set in some unspecified point in the 80s)
The Goldbergs *
The Golden Girls
The Great Space Coaster
The Greatest American Hero *
Hardcastle and McCormick
Hard Time On Planet Earth (started in 1979, ran until 1984)
Hart to Hart (started in 1968, ran until 1980)
Hill Street Blues
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Its Garry Shandlings Show
Kamen Rider *
Kids Incorporated *
The Kids in the Hall
Knight Rider *
L.A. Law (made in 1968-70, set in 1983)
Land of the Giants *
Life Goes On
Los 80 (started in 1977, ran until 1986)
The Love Boat *
Maid Marian and Her Merry Men
Married... with Children (started in 1972, ran until 1983)
The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour
Max Headroom *
Misfits of Science
The Morton Downey Jr Show
My Secret Identity *
Mystery Science Theater 3000
My Two Dads
The New Monkees
Night Court *
North and South (Trilogy)
Not Necessarily The News *
Only Fools And Horses *
The Oprah Winfrey Show
Out of This World *
Pink Lady And Jeff *
Police Squad! (began in 1977, ran till 1983)
Punky Brewster . Debuted in 1973, very successful during the 1980s.
Quantum Leap *
Remote Control *
Round the Twist
Sapphire And Steel *
Saved by the Bell
Simon And Simon
Small Wonder *
Street Hawk *
Super Sentai (started in 1989, ran until 1995)
Surgical Spirit *
Tales from the Crypt
Tales from the Darkside
Tales of the Gold Monkey (debuted in 1978, ran until 1983)
Toei Fushigi Comedy Series Robot 8-chan (1981 - 1982)
Batten Robomaru (1982 - 1983)
Pettonton (1983 - 1984)
Dokincho! Nemurin (1984 - 1985)
Katteni! Kamitaman (1985 - 1986)
Morimori Bokkun (1986)
Omoikkiri Tanteidan Hadogumi (1987)
Jaman Tanteidan Maringumi (1988 - 1989)
Chukana Paipai (1989)
Chukana Ipanema (1989)
Too Close for Comfort . Released in 1970-1971, set in 1980.
V (1986 - 1988)
A Very Peculiar Practice
War of the Worlds *
Whiz Kids *
Whos The Boss * - The radio show and the British version started in the late Eighties.
Whose Line Is It Anyway? Wipeout1988
The Young Ones
Alternative Rock: Otherwise known as college or modern rock back in the early days, alternative in this era was more a conglomeration of disparate left field styles (i. e. jangle pop, synthpop, post-punk, noise rock, hardcore, early alternative metal, etc.), all of which nonetheless served as an alternative to the homogeny of mainstream rock and top 40 radio. Steadily became more popular as more bands scored major airplay and started joining major labels as the decade came to a close, helping set the stage for the genre's mainstream success the following decade..
MTV debuted and had a huge influence on the popularity of acts during this decade.
The rise of New Wave Music and its offshoot sub-genres like New Romanticism.
Hip Hop's golden age starts late in this decade (circa 88).
There was a huge wave of synth heavy R&B acts during the early to mid 80's. Usually called Synth Funk, Post-Disco, Electro Funk (or Boogie), or "New Wave R&B". Most of the time R&B would overlap with those aforementioned genres. Especially artists from The Seventies who were trying to stay relevant in the early 80's like The Whispers, and Cameo who all started out as either Funk, or Soul.
Two Live Crew
Ten Thousand Maniacs
Aerosmith: Had a resurge in popularity after Run-DMC's "Walk This Way" cover became a hit.
A Flock Of Seagulls: Best known for their late 1982 hit "I Ran."
a-ha: This Norwegian pop group had a number one hit in 1985 with "Take On Me" thanks to its partially-animated music video becoming an MTV hit. They remained popular everywhere but the US.
Maria Conchita Alonso: (Her first record came out in 1979, but she had many successful Spanish-language records in the 1980s.)
Alphaville: A group best remembered in the U.S. for their two minor hits "Big in Japan" and "Forever Young."
Al B. Sure!: One of the most popular singers of the new jack swing movement. He scored only one pop hit, 1988's "Nite and Day"
Art Of Noise: Collaborated with Tom Jones and advertising mascot Max Headroom for two top 40 hits.
The Associates: Popular Post Punk/New Wave band in the UK.
The B-52s: Although they formed in 1976 and released their first album in 1979, the Eighties were their most successful decade by far. In the late 1980s, their music finally crossed over to mainstream radio.
Anita Baker: A female R&B singer whose ballads became quite popular.
Bananarama: A British girl group who had a series of hits in the mid-80's including "Cruel Summer" and a cover of the 1970 hit "Venus."
The Bangles: One of the first all-female rock bands to have major commercial success, having many top 10 hits throughout the latter half of the decade.
Barenaked Ladies: Released their first indie tapes in 1988-1989.
Bauhaus: An influential late 1970s band, continued releasing new material until their 1983 breakup. They considered founders of Goth Rock.
Beastie Boys: Widely considered to be pioneers of the rap-rock movement, they were solely responsible for breaking the color barrier of rap.
Beat Happening: Influential in the indie pop sub-genre of Alternative Rock.
Pat Benatar: A famous female rock musician of the decade.
Big Daddy Kane: Although he never scored a hit until 1991, his work in the 1980s is still just as important.
Björk: Rose to fame as the lead singer of a band, "The Sugarcubes".
Blondie: Female-fronted rock band who first gained traction in 1979 but continued their momentum through the early '80s.
Bon Jovi: The band that launched the pop-metal movement in the '80s.
David Bowie: Vital to The Seventies but in this decade had the biggest-selling album of his career with Let's Dance.
Boy Meets Girl: Band who scored one big late 1988 hit with "Waiting For A Star To Fall"
The Buggles: Best known for "Video Killed the Radio Star," the song that introduced the world to MTV in 1981.
Kate Bush (in the US, at least)
Cameo: Debuted in 1974, had their most famous hit "Word Up!" in 1986.
Camper Van Beethoven
Captain Beefheart: Released one album in 1982 and quit the music business for good that same year.
Cheap Trick: Although more known for their late '70s power-pop work, their commercial peak was actually in 1988.
Cher: Released some of her greatest hits between 1987 and 1989.
Chicago - Former jazz-rock band who continued their shift into an Adult Contemporary act in the '80s.
The Church: Popular Australian rock band who had a surprise American hit with 1988's "Under the Milky Way."
The Clash: 1970s band, continued enjoying success to 1982.
Phil Collins: Arguably the biggest white male pop star of the 1980s.
Cook Da' Books
Alice Cooper: Released several new hits from 1986 to 1989.
Corey Hart: Canadian singer best remembered for his 1984 hit "Sunglasses at Night," and less so for his 1985 song "Never Surrender."
Crowded House: Their first two albums. The band's two big American hits came in 1987.
Culture Club: Pop-rock band led by the flamboyant Boy George.
The Cure: New-wave/goth band who had some college rock radio hits before hitting it big with "Love Song" in 1989.
Cyndi Lauper: Pre-Madonna pop star who was also a vital figure in the professional wrestling industry.
DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince: Will Smith's rap group before he became known as an actor.
The Dead Milkmen
Debarge: Family group who had a string of pop and R&B hits in the mid-80s.
Def Leppard: One of few British groups in the hair-metal movement, and by far the most successful.
Depeche Mode: Synth-pop pioneers who had a few crossover hits in the late 80s and early 90s.
Devo: Pioneering college-rock band who scored one top 20 hit with 1980's "Whip It."
Dire Straits: Despite a massive hit in 1979, they largely fell off the radar until 1985 brought them a #1 hit and further success.
Dirty Rotten Imbeciles
Doug E Fresh
Duran Duran: The most popular British group of the 1980s.
Einstürzende Neubauten: Formed in 1980.
Electric Light Orchestra: Released their last hit albums in 1980 and 1981.
Elio e le Storie Tese: Italy's answer to Frank Zappa.
note Erasure: Synth-pop band who had a pair of big hits in 1987.
Eric B. & Rakim
Gloria Estefan: Latin-pop singer who had success in the English world throughout most of the late 1980s.
Europe: Swedish metal band who performed the rock anthem "The Final Countdown" and the less-remembered ballad "Carrie."
Eurythmics: Synth pop duo fronted by female vocalist Annie Lennox.
Exposé, and other Freestyle artists.
Faith No More: An influential Alternative Metal band.
Falco: Popular singer in Austria who scored a worldwide hit in 1986 with "Rock Me Amadeus."
The Fall: 1970s band, continued enjoying success throughout the decade.
The Fat Boys: Novelty rap group who scored a few Top 40 hits in the late '80s.
Foreigner: Top arena-rock band of the late '70s who took a softer approach in the next decade.
Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Pop band who had a huge debut album and worldwide hit with "Relax" but quickly fell off the map afterwards.
Funk Four + 1
Peter Gabriel: Former Genesis singer who has had lesser compared to Phil Collins but still good success on his own.
Galaxie 500: An influential Dream Pop band.
Leif Garrett: (Although he reached his peak in the late Seventies, he released two albums in 1980 and 1981, and was still touring and acting at this time)
The J. Geils Band: Rock band who's biggest hit, "Centerfold" came out in 1982.
Genesis: Completed their transition from a moderately successful progressive rock band led by Peter Gabriel to a massively successful pop group led by Phil Collins (both men also become stars in their own right during this period, Collins much more than Gabriel).
The Go-Go's: The first all-female rock group to have major American success.
The Goo Goo Dolls
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5
Guided By Voices
Guns N' Roses: One of the most popular rock bands of all time and massively successful in the late 1980s.
GWAR: Formed in 1984, first album released in 1988.
Herbie Hancock became popular around this time.
Jeff Healey: Blind blues-rock singer whose 1989 ballad "Angel Eyes" was a top 5 hit.
Whitney Houston: The biggest African-American female vocalist of the decade.
Human League: One of the first synth-rock acts to have American success.
Billy Idol: Punk-rock singer who found his way into the pop world.
INXS: First album released in 1980. American success started in 1986.
Janet Jackson: The only Jackson to escape Michael's shadow.
Michael Jackson: "The King of Pop" and the most successful musician of the decade.
The Jesus and Mary Chain: An influential Noise Pop band.
The Jesus Lizard: Formed and released their first album in this decade.
Billy Joel: Started in The Sixties, became a successful solo artist in The Seventies, and enjoyed sustained popularity in this decade.
Elton John: Though he started in The Seventies, he had a Career Resurrection in this decade, becoming a big MTV star from 1983 on.
KRS-One: The first Boogie Down productions album came out in 1987.
Killing Joke. Formed in 1978, debut album in 1980.
The Kinks: A British Invasion band from The Sixties that was still going strong.
LL Cool J
John Lennon: Released his last major hit in late 1980.
Huey Lewis and the News
Live: Formed under the name "Public Affection" and released their debut album in this decade.
Living Colour: Debuted in 1988.
Lucifer Luscious Violenoue
Mary Jane Girls
Men At Work
Men Without Hats
Minor Threat: Formed in 1980.
Mission Of Burma: Formed in 1979, but released all of their original material between 1980 and 1982.
Mudhoney: An influential Grunge band.
My Bloody Valentine: Popularized the Shoegazing subgenre.
New Kids on the Block
Nine Inch Nails
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
Ozzy Osbourne: His solo career took off in 1980, with a hit album.
Pet Shop Boys
Pink Floyd: Was fairly successful in various lineups featuring Roger Waters from 1980-83, but had a Career Resurrection in 1987 when David Gilmour took control of the group.
The Police: Even though they formed in 1977.
Pop Will Eat Itself
Primal Scream: Band formed in 1982, debut album in 1987.
Primus: Band formed in this decade.
Prince and all his associates.
Public Image Ltd.: A 1970s band, continued enjoying success throughout this decade.
Queen: Although they FIRST became prominent in the mid-Seventies.
Queen Latifah: Debuted in 1989.
Queensrÿche: Debuted in 1983.
Quiet Riot: Formed in 1975, had their biggest success in the early 1980s.
REM: Formed and achieved cult hit status in this decade.
Ready For The World
Red Hot Chili Peppers
David Lee Roth
Rush: Recording career started in the 1960s, but they reached the peak of their popularity early in this decade.
Salt N Pepa
Scritti Politti: Formed in 1977, but they became more famous and popular in this decade.
Simple Minds: Formed in 1977, had their Glory Days in this decade. Still active now though nearly forgotten.
Siouxsie and the Banshees: A 1970s band continuing to enjoy commercial success through this decade.
Sir Mix-a-Lot: Debuted in 1988.
The Sisters Of Mercy
Slint: Formed in 1986, rose to fame in 1991.
Soul II Soul
Billy Squier: Started in the late 1960s, released his solo debut The Tale of the Tape in 1980.
Rod Stewart: Continued enjoying commercial success throughout the decade.
Stock Aitken Waterman
The Stone Roses
Donna Summer: Continued releasing a number of hit songs throughout the decade.
Talking Heads: Another band from The Seventies that made its commercial breakthrough in this decade.
Tears For Fears
They Might Be Giants
Tommy Tutone ( 867-5309)
Tom Tom Club
The Tragically Hip
Wall of Voodoo
Was (Not Was): Formed in 1979, first album in 1981.
" We Are The World"
Wire: A 1970s band, released new material from mid of the decade onward. Including a number of hits.
X Japan: Truly hit their stride in The Nineties, disbanded Turn of the Millennium, made comeback in The Noughties.
XTC: A 1970s band with a declining fanbase. Managed to restore themselves to prominence with a highly successful album.
"Weird Al" Yankovic
Yellow Magic Orchestra: Started in 1978, but had influenced synthpop in the decade.
Yes: Gained mainstream success with the poppy 90125, source of their only #1 hit "Owner of a Lonely Heart".
Frank Zappa: While his career started in the 1960s, several of his greatest hits were released in this decade.
2 Cold Scorpio: Debuted in the mid-1980s.
Abdullah the Butcher
Brian Adams/Crush: Debuted in 1986.
Chris Adams: Debuted in England in 1978, debuted in the U.S. in Los Angeles in 1981.
General Skandor Akbar
Captain Lou Albano
Arn Anderson: Debuted in 1982.
André the Giant: Became one of the, well, biggest icons in wrestling in the 1980s.
Lioness Asuka: Debuted in 1980.
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin: Debuted in 1989.
The Barbarian: Debuted in 1980.
Paul Bearer: Was a very successful manager in Texas and Florida as Percival Pringle III
Chris Benoit: Debuted in 1986.
Big Bossman: Debuted in 1985.
Bam Bam Bigelow: Debuted in 1985.
Eric Bischoff: Debuted as an announcer in the AWA in 1987.
Steve Blackman: Debuted in 1986.
Booker T: Debuted in 1989.
King Kong Bundy: Debuted in 1981.
Don "The Jackyl"/"Cyrus" Callis: Debuted in 1989 as Don Casablancas.
Allen Coage/Bad News Allen/Bad News Brown
Jim Cornette. Debuted in 1982.
Ted DiBiase: Debuted in the 70s, made his career with the "Million-Dollar Man" gimmick.
Dick The Bruiser
Shane Douglas: Debuted in 1982.
"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan: Debuted in 1977, competed in various territories before arriving in WWE in 1987.
Sid Eudy/Sid Vicious/Sycho Sid: Debuted in 1987.
Jackie Fargo: Retired in 1984.
Ed "The Sheik" Farhat: Continued competing into this decade.
Pampero Firpo: Retired in 1986.
Ric Flair: Debuted in the 70s, but really made his legacy in the 1980s.
Mick Foley: Debuted as Cactus Jack in 1986.
Giant Haystacks/Loch Ness
Eddie Gilbert: Debuted in 1979, became a big name in Memphis and other territories in the 1980s.
Goldust: Debuted in 1988 as Dustin Rhodes.
"Superstar" Billy Graham
Eddie Guerrero. Debuted in 1987.
Scott Hall: Debuted in 1984.
Bret Hart: Debuted in 1978, found his first major success in the 1980s.
Owen Hart: Debuted in 1986.
Shinya Hashimoto: Debuted in 1984.
David "Vampire Warrior"/"Gangrel" Heath. Debuted in 1988.
Curt Hennig: Debuted in 1980.
Paul Heyman: Debuted in the 1980s as a manager.
Hillbilly Jim: Earliest confirmed matches in Memphis in 1983.
Hulk Hogan: Though he debuted in the 70's, he became the face of wrestling in the 80's.
Bob Holly: Debuted in 1987.
Honky Tonk Man
Barry Horowitz: Debuted in 1979, competed in many different territories before establishing himself in WWE in 1987.
Sir Oliver Humperdink
King Curtis Iaukea: His most prominent work was as the Chairman of the Board of Kevin Sullivan's Army of Darkness in Florida, and briefly as the Wizard in WWE in 1986-1987.
The Iron Sheik: Debuted in the 70s, became THE Foreign Wrestling Heel in the 1980s.
Ivory: Debuted in 1986.
Jacqueline: Debuted in 1988.
Jeff Jarrett: Debuted in 1986.
Kamala: Made his name in Memphis and Dallas in the 1980s.
Kenta Kobashi: Debuted in 1988.
Nikita Koloff: Debuted in 1984.
Aja Kong: Debuted in 1986.
Konnan: Debuted in 1988.
Kurrgan: Debuted in 1989.
La Parka: Debuted in the 1980s.
John Laurinaitis: Debuted in 1986.
Jushin Thunder Liger: Debuted in 1984.
Steve Lombardi: Debuted in 1983.
Lex Luger: Debuted in 1985.
Jerry Lynn: Debuted in 1988.
Madusa: Debuted in 1988.
Dean Malenko: Debuted in 1979, competed throughout Florida and Japan during the 1980s.
Chief Wahoo McDaniel
Vince McMahon: Started in the 1970s, took WWE national and worldwide in the 1980s.
Meng: Started in 1978, competed around the world before arriving in WWE in 1986.
Shawn Michaels: Debuted in 1985.
Mitsuharu Misawa: Debuted in 1981.
Miss Elizabeth: Debuted in WWE in 1985.
The Missing Link: Debuted in the 1960s, started the gimmick in 1983.
Gorilla Monsoon: Became the Voice of the then-WWF during this decade.
John Nord: Debuted in 1984.
The One Man Gang
Diamond Dallas Page: Debuted as a manager in 1987.
Maxx Payne: Debuted in 1987.
Brian Pillman: Debuted in 1986.
Roddy Piper: Very remembered and loved for his work in WWE in the 1980s.
Raven: Debuted in 1988 as Scotty the Body.
William Regal: Debuted in 1983.
Dusty Rhodes: Debuted in the 70s, became a major star in the 1980s.
Rikishi: Debuted in Montreal in 1985 as Alofa the Polynesian Prince.
"Playboy" Buddy Rose
Mike Rotunda/Irwin R. Schyster: Debuted in 1981.
Rick Rude: Debuted in 1982.
Sabu: Debuted in the mid-1980s.
Tito Santana: Debuted in 1977, best remembered as a top babyface of the 1980s.
Randy Savage: Debuted in 1973, best known for his work in WWE in the 1980s.
Buzz Sawyer: Debuted in 1978, competed in several territories throughout the 1980s.
Satoru Sayama: Started in the 1980s as Tiger Mask.
Ken Shamrock: Debuted in 1989.
Iron Mike Sharpe: Debuted in 1977, arrived in WWE in 1983.
Ron Simmons: Debuted in 1986.
Sgt Slaughter: Debuted in the 70s, the image really took off in the 1980s.
G.I. Joe Norman Smiley: Debuted in 1986.
Davey Boy Smith: Debuted in 1978, made his name in the 1980s.
Al Snow: Debuted in 1982.
Jimmy Snuka: The decade where he really made his name.
Dan Spivey: Debuted in 1984.
Ricky Steamboat: Debuted in the 70s, but best remembered as a top babyface of the 1980s.
Scott Steiner: Debuted in 1986, VERY different from what he is today.
Sting: Debuted in 1985.
"Exotic" Adrian Street
Big John Studd
Kevin Sullivan: The decade where he really made his name.
Tazz: Debuted in 1987.
Genichiro Tenryu: Debuted in 1976, became a major figure in Japan during the 1980s.
John Tenta: Best known as Earthquake, made his pro debut for All Japan Pro Wrestling on May 1, 1987.
Manami Toyota: Debuted in 1987.
Ultimate Warrior: Debuted in 1985.
Ultimo Dragon: Debuted in 1987.
The Undertaker: Started in Dallas and Memphis in 1988.
Luna Vachon: Debuted in 1985.
Vader: Debuted in 1985.
Jesse Ventura: Retired from competition due to health issues and became a top heel commentator for WWE.
Virgil: Debuted in 1985.
Koko B Ware
Del "The Trooper"/"The Patriot" Wilkes: Debuted in 1988.
Dr. Death Steve Williams: Debuted in 1982.
Barry Windham: Debuted in 1979.
Harvey Wippleman: Debuted in the 1980s as Downtown Bruno.
Yokozuna: Started in the 1980s as Kokina.
Demolition: Team debuted in 1987.
The Fabulous Kangaroos
The Fabulous Ones: Team debuted in 1982.
The Midnight Express: Team formed in 1980.
The Moondogs: Debuted in 1981.
The Nasty Boys: Debuted in 1986.
The Road Warriors: Debuted in 1983.
The Rock N Roll Express: Debuted in 1983.
Von Erich Family: Mike debuted in 1983, and, for a short time, they experienced their greatest success.
FMW: Atsushi Onita's pioneering hardcore promotion debuted in 1989.
GLOW: Debuted in 1986.
WCW: The name debuted in 1989.
: The first one was on March 31, 1985.
WrestleMania : The first was on Thanksgiving Night, 1987.
Survivor Series : The first was on January 24, 1988.
Royal Rumble : The first was on August 29, 1988.
The Golden Age of Video Games
The 8-bit Era of Console Video Games
Nineteen Forty Two
The Adventures of Bayou Billy
The Ancient Art Of War
The Bard's Tale Trilogy series
Battle City Tank Battalion (1980)
Battle City (1985)
Beyond The Titanic
Boulder Dash series
Cabal (released in 2012, flashbacks are set in 1986-1989)
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Crush, Crumble, and Chomp! (1986) and Dark Castle Beyond Dark Castle (1987)
David's Midnight Magic
Dizzy Dizzy – The Ultimate Cartoon Adventure (June, 1987)
Treasure Island Dizzy (August, 1987)
Fantasy World Dizzy (1989)
Donkey Kong (and its spiritual predecessor Double Dragon Renegade)
Duck Hunt (1988)
Dynamite Dux (series started in 2001 but all the games take place in the '80s)
Fatal Frame (in Japan at least; western players had to wait until Final Fantasy The Nineties to get the first installment)
Fire Pro Wrestling Fire Pro Wrestling Combination Tag (1989)
The Fool's Errand
Game & Watch
Ghosts N Goblins (Release in 1989 although its storyline takes place in the very far off future)
Gradius (Released in 2002, the game is set in 1986 and full of references and parodies of 1980s culture.)
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (Set in February 1988)
Graviteam Tactics: Operation Hooper Gyromite (Debuted along with ROB)
Kingdom Of Kroz
King's Quest Knightmare (released in 1986, a shoot 'em up game for the MSX)
(released in 2010, but set in 1980)
The Legend of Zelda series
Leisure Suit Larry (1985) and Macadam Bumper Pinball Wizard (1987)
. The series started in 1988.
The Magic Candle
The Magic of Scheherazade
Maniac Mansion (1983)
Mega Man 1 (the original game for the MSX2 and NES)
Metal Gear (Set in 1984)
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Meteors (The very first Metroid game was released on the NES in 1986)
Milons Secret Castle
A Mind Forever Voyaging
MOTHER (It was originally released in 1989, but is set a year earlier in '88.)
Night Bomber . Painfully so... But not surprising, since the footage was shot during that time.
Night Trap (Released in 2001 but set in 1985)
Pinball Construction Set
Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom
Raster Blaster made in 2009 but takes place throughout the 1980s
Retro Game Challenge
Revenge Of The Gator
Rogue (created in 1981 at the University of Illinois, first published by Activision in 1986)
Shanghai '' Shenmue: Set during the early 80's (although you would notice immediately) released 1999.
Shinobi Shinobi (1987)
Shadow Dancer (1989)
The Revenge of Shinobi (1989)
Space Ace (1988)
Star Trek The Next Generation Trivia
Street Fighter . Series started in 1984.
Super Chinese (and its arcade predecessor, Super Mario Bros. )
Mario Bros. (and Super Mario Bros. 2 )
Doki Doki Panic (in Japan in 1988, anyway)
Super Mario Bros. 3 Taipan
Asteka II Templo Del Sol
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game
Terra Cresta (the Tetris Elektronika-60 original, as well as a variety of classic iterations)
The Thing 1988
The Thor Trilogy
Thunder Force Thunder Force (1983)
Thunder Force II (1988)
Wargame: European Escalation
Weird Dreams Wolfenstein
Word Whiz (1982) and all other things Zork