1980 - Your complete When It Was Cool Guide to the year 1980 in pop-culture, music, and more.

By: Karl Stern

I turned nine years old in 1980.  These extensive "Year in Review" articles are meant to be guides to the greatest years of When It Was Cool retro pop-culture.  But please remember, we need your help to keep our website going so consider helping us out on Patreon.

Major Events that Happened in 1980:

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January 20, 1980: The Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Los Angeles Rams 31-19 to win the NFL Super Bowl XIV (14). Chuck Noll is the coach and the MVP of the game was Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Terry Bradshaw.

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January 29, 1980: The Rubik’s Cube is introduced at the British Toy and Hobby Fair. The Rubik’s Cube puzzle came becomes an international sensation and a pop culture fad of the early 1980s but still endures as a popular toy until this very day.

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February 13, 1980: The Winter Olympics begin, taking place in Lake Placid, NY. The United States men’s hockey team won the gold medal in 1980 despite not being expected to advance very far. The winning game became known in pop culture as “The Miracle on Ice”.

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February 19, 1980: AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott dies at the age of 33 after a night of heavy drinking in London.

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March 21, 1980: The United States announces it is boycotting the 1980 Summer Olympics in protest of the U.S.S.R. invading Afghanistan. Numerous other countries follow and boycott as well.

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March 22, 1980: The mysterious Georgia Guidestones are erected near Elberton, Georgia. Check out our podcast DragonKing Dark - Oddities of Georgia for more on our trip to visit the Georgia Guidestones.

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April 14, 1980: Iron Maiden release their self titled debut album. Iron Maiden become one of the most influential and popular groups in hard rock.

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May 18, 1980: Mt. Saint Helens volcano in Washington State erupts killing 57 people and causing billions of dollars in damage.

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May 21, 1980: Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back, the second movie in the Star Wars franchise, is released.

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May 22, 1980: Pac Man, one of the most popular arcade video games of all time, is released, originally in Japan, but soon in the United States where Pac Man becomes a pop culture sensation.

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June 1, 1980: CNN, the first major 24 hour cable news network debuts.

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October 21, 1980: The Philadelphia Phillies win the Major League Baseball World Series defeating the Kansas City Royals four games to one.

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November 4, 1980: Ronald Reagan wins the general election for President of the United States of America by defeating incumbent Jimmy Carter.

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November 21, 1980: Television ratings are smashed when viewers tune into the popular prime time drama Dallas to find out the answer to the question that pop culture fans have asked all summer long - Who shot J.R.?

The Billboard Top 100 Songs of 1980

1) "Call Me" - Blondie

2) "Another Brick in the Wall, Part II" - Pink Floyd

3) "Magic" - Olivia Newton-John

4) "Rock with You" - Michael Jackson

5) "Do That to Me One More Time" - Captain & Tennille

6) "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" - Queen

7) "Coming Up" - Paul McCartney

8) "Funkytown" - Lipps Inc

9) "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" - Billy Joel

10) "The Rose" - Bette Midler

11) "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" - Rupert Holmes

12) "Cars" - Gary Numan

13) "Cruisin" - Smokey Robinson

14) "Working My Way Back to You/Forgive Me, Girl" - The Spinners

15) "Lost in Love" - Air Supply

16) "Little Jeannie" - Elton John

17) "Ride Like the Wind" - Christopher Cross

18) "Upside Down" - Diana Ross

19) "Please Don't Go" - KC and the Sunshine Band

20) "Babe" - Styx

21) "With You I'm Born Again" - Billy Preston and Syreeta

22) "Shining Star" - The Manhattans

23) "Still" - Commodores

24) "Yes, I'm Ready" - Teri DeSario & KC

25) "Sexy Eyes" - Dr. Hook

26) "Steal Away" - Robbie Dupree

27) "Biggest Part of Me" - Ambrosia

28) "This Is It" - Kenny Loggins

29) "Cupid/I've Loved You for a Long Time" - The Spinners

30) "Let's Get Serious" - Jermaine Jackson

31) "Don't Fall in Love with a Dreamer" - Kenny Rogers & Kim Carnes

32) "Sailing" - Christopher Cross

33) "Longer" - Dan Fogelberg

34) "Coward of the County" - Kenny Rogers

35) "Ladies' Night" - Kool & the Gang

36) "Too Hot" - Kool & the Gang

37) "Take Your Time (Do It Right)" - The SOS Band

38) "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" - Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer

39) "More Love" - Kim Carnes

40) "Pop Muzik" - M

41) "Brass in Pocket" - The Pretenders

42) "Special Lady" - Ray, Goodman & Brown

43) "Send One Your Love" - Stevie Wonder

44) "The Second Time Around" - Shalamar

45) "We Don't Talk Anymore" - Cliff Richard

46) "Stomp!" - The Brothers Johnson

47) "Heartache Tonight" - Eagles

48) "Tired of Toein' the Line" - Rocky Burnette

49) "Better Love Next Time" - Dr. Hook

50) "Him" - Rupert Holmes

51) "Against the Wind" - Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band

52) "On the Radio" - Donna Summer

53) "Emotional Rescue" - The Rolling Stones

54) "Rise" - Herb Alpert

55) "All Out of Love" - Air Supply

56) "Cool Change" - Little River Band

57) "You're Only Lonely" - J.D. Souther

58) "Desire" - Andy Gibb

59) "Let My Love Open the Door" - Pete Townshend

60) "Romeo's Tune" - Steve Forbert

61) "Daydream Believer" - Anne Murray

62) "I Can't Tell You Why" - Eagles

63) "Don't Let Go" - Isaac Hayes

64) "Don't Do Me Like That" - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

65) "She's Out of My Life" - Michael Jackson

66) "Fame" - Irene Cara

67) "Fire Lake" - Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band

68) "How Do I Make You" - Linda Ronstadt

69) "Into the Night" - Benny Mardones

70) "Let Me Love You Tonight" - Pure Prairie League

71) "Misunderstanding" - Genesis

72) "An American Dream" - The Dirt Band

73) "One Fine Day" - Carole King

74) "Dim All the Lights" - Donna Summer

75) "You May Be Right" - Billy Joel

76) "Should've Never Let You Go" - Neil & Dara Sedaka

77) "Pilot of the Airwaves" - Charlie Dore

78) "Hurt So Bad" - Linda Ronstadt

79) "Off the Wall" - Michael Jackson

80) "I Pledge My Love" - Peaches & Herb

81) "The Long Run" - Eagles

82) "Stand by Me" - Mickey Gilley

83) "Heartbreaker" - Pat Benatar

84) "Déjà Vu" - Dionne Warwick

85) "Drivin' My Life Away" - Eddie Rabbitt

86) "Take the Long Way Home" - Supertramp

87) "Sara" - Fleetwood Mac

88) "Wait for Me" - Hall & Oates

89) "Jojo" - Boz Scaggs

90) "September Morn" - Neil Diamond

91) "Give Me the Night" - George Benson

92) "Broken Hearted Me" - Anne Murray

93) "You Decorated My Life" - Kenny Rogers

94) "Tusk" - Fleetwood Mac

95) "I Wanna Be Your Lover" - Prince

96) "In America" - Charlie Daniels Band

97) "Breakdown Dead Ahead" - Boz Scaggs

98) "Ships" - Barry Manilow

99) "All Night Long" - Joe Walsh

100) "Refugee" - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Top Movies of 1980:

These are the top 10 movies of 1980 as ranked by IMDB.com. This is their rankings not ours.

1) The Shining (1980)

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers

2) Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Director: Irvin Kershner | Stars: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams

3) Raging Bull (1980)

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent

4) Airplane! (1980)

Directors: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker | Stars: Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Leslie Nielsen, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

5) The Elephant Man (1980)

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud

6) Gates of Heaven (1978)

Director: Errol Morris | Stars: Lucille Billingsley, Zella Graham, Cal Harberts, Dan Harberts

7) The Blues Brothers (1980)

Director: John Landis | Stars: John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Cab Calloway, John Candy

8) Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)

Director: Michael Apted | Stars: Sissy Spacek, Tommy Lee Jones, Levon Helm, Phyllis Boyens-Liptak

9) The Fog (1980)

Director: John Carpenter | Stars: Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, John Houseman

10) Caddyshack (1980)

Director: Harold Ramis | Stars: Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray, Ted Knight


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