1984 - The Fifth Year of the Crazy Eighties - Significance
1984 was a year of significance for many reasons. It was the title of a book written in 1949, which had film adaptations in 1956 and 1984 (not a coincidence, I’m sure). It was also the title of many songs and music albums, including my favorite from Van Halen.
It was the year I petitioned my fiancée (my first, only, and current wife) to enter the United States. We married in January 1985, more than 34 years ago.
Happenings in 1984
- Margaret Heckler of the U.S. Public Health Service announced the identity of HTLV-III as the virus that caused AIDS.
- In San Ysidro, California, James Oliver Huberty sprayed a McDonald’s restaurant with gunfire, killing 21 people before being shot and killed.
- Vanessa L. Williams became the first Miss America to resign when she surrendered her crown, after nude photos of her appeared in Penthouse magazine.
- Ronald Reagan was reelected as President of the United States.
Other things happened, obviously, but nothing I care to mention (that I’m not mentioning below).
Movies Released in 1984
- Against All Odds
- Beverly Hills Cop
- Body Double
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
- The Karate Kid
- The Killing Fields
- The Last Starfighter
- The Neverending Story
- Night of the Comet
- A Nightmare on Elm Street
- Police Academy
- Red Dawn
- Revenge of the Nerds
- Romancing the Stone
- Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
- Streets of Fire
- The Terminator
I watched none of these movies at the theater and certainly not in 1984. Nevertheless, I’ve seen each one of them at least twice (some many more than others).
Out of all the shows that aired in 1984, these are the only ones I remember watching in 1984 (and probably only once or twice due to my work schedule):
- The A-Team
- Magnum, P.I.
- Miami Vice
Music Released in 1984
I didn’t start collecting music until the following year. Although I heard most of these songs on the radio, it was usually while I was driving from one place to another.
- Bananarama - Cruel Summer
- Billy Idol - Eyes Without a Face
- Billy Joel - An Innocent Man, The Longest Time & Uptown Girl
- Billy Ocean - Caribbean Queen (No More Love On the Run)
- Bruce Springsteen - Dancing In the Dark
- Corey Hart - Sunglasses at Night
- Culture Club - Karma Chameleon & Miss Me Blind
- Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Want to Have Fun, She Bop & Time After Time
- Dan Hartman - I Can Dream About You
- Daryl Hall and John Oates - Say It Isn’t So
- Elton John - I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues, Sad Songs (Say So Much)
- The Cars - Drive, Magic & You Might Think
- The Eurythmics - Here Comes the Rain Again
- The Go-Go’s - Head over Heels
- John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band - On the Dark Side
- John Cougar Mellencamp - Pink Houses
- John Lennon - Nobody Told Me
- John Waite - Missing You
- Kenny Loggins - Footloose
- Laura Brannigan - Self Control
- Lionel Richie - All Night Long (All Night), Hello, Running With the Night & Stuck On You
- Madonna - Borderline, Holiday & Lucky Star
- Matthew Wilder - Break My Stride
- Michael Jackson - Thriller
- Nena - 99 Luftballons
- Night Ranger - Sister Christian & When You Close Your Eyes
- Pat Benatar - Love is a Battlefield
- Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson - Say Say Say
- Phil Collins - Against All Odds (Take a Look At Me Now)
- The Pointer Sisters - Automatic, I’m So Excited & Jump (For My Love)
- The Police - Wrapped Around Your Finger
- Quiet Riot - Cum On Feel the Noize
- Ratt - Round and Round
- Ray Parker Jr. - Ghostbusters
- Rockwell - Somebody’s Watching Me
- Steve Perry - Oh Sherrie
- Stevie Wonder - I Just Called to Say I Love You
- Thompson Twins - Hold Me Now
- Tina Turner - What’s Love Got to Do With It
- Van Halen - Jump
- Wang Chung - Dance Hall Days
- Yes - Owner of a Lonely Heart
There were many more. Remembering just this many exhausts me.
- Marvin Gaye was shot to death by his father, a day before his 45th birthday.
- Michael Jackson’s hair caught on fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial. He later wore wigs and had a black tattoo from ear to ear at the front of his scalp (found during his autopsy in 2009).
My Second Favorite Year of the Eighties
Depending on whom you ask, the eighties either started in 1980 or 1981 and ended in either 1989 or 1990. I prefer to think of it as 1980-1989. 1984 was my second favorite year of the eighties because it was my last year being single (at the age of 24). My favorite year came later but I won’t mention it now.
I spent most of the year stationed in Hawaii before being transferred to Yuma, Arizona for a second tour. I worked with great people in Hawaii, in an aircraft squadron, and that probably made all the difference in the world.
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By RT Cunningham
August 21, 2019