1987 - The Eighth Year of the Crazy Eighties - My First Favorite Year
1987 is my first favorite year of the decade. I was transferred from Yuma, Arizona to Okinawa, Japan sometime in the middle of the year. That by itself made it a better year than most.
I was on an unaccompanied tour (meaning I couldn’t bring my wife and children), but the government paid to move my family to the Philippines. While they were there, I was allowed to bring Josie (my wife) to Okinawa at my own expense. She spend six months with me there.
Happenings in 1987
I wasn’t aware of a lot that happened in the United States in the latter half of 1987. The only English-language channel on TV was AFRTS (or AFN), ran by the United States Department of Defense. I didn’t bother with it since most of the US-based TV shows were more than a year old.
- The Simpsons cartoon first appeared as a series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show. New episodes are still airing today, in its 31st season.
- President Reagan challenged Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall during a visit to Berlin, West Germany (which is now part of the unified Germany).
- Starbucks Coffee expanded to locations outside of Seattle, Washington. Now you can find them everywhere, even in many foreign countries.
- The Perl programming language was invented by Larry Wall. It’s still being used today in many UNIX-like operating systems.
- Rick Astley released a hit single, “Never Gonna Give You Up”. The song was used for rickrolling in 2007, and I was a victim of it, along with countless other people who were searching for something else on YouTube (or some other video service).
- The United States was involved in the Iran-Iraq war and a lot of terrible things happened that I don’t want to list individually. We’re still dealing with those two countries today.
Movies Released in 1987
I’m not ashamed to admit that Josie and I watched a lot of these as pirated movies. They weren’t available otherwise. Some we borrowed and some we bought at $10 a pop. VHS copies of movies available for rent in the United States could be found on almost any street corner near Kadena Air Base. They stopped doing that shortly before I was transferred away in 1988.
- Beverly Hills Cop II
- Dirty Dancing
- Evil Dead 2
- Fatal Attraction
- Full Metal Jacket
- La Bamba
- Lethal Weapon
- The Lost Boys
- A Nightmare on Elm Street
- The Running Man
- Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
I didn’t watch much television in 1987 or 1988. I was on Okinawa a year in the middle of that period. Because I was a huge Star Trek Fan back then (not so much today), I bought the pilot episodes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” on a pirated videotape. These are the series I remember watching, but I don’t remember where or when (except for the one I mentioned).
- The A-Team
- The Cosby Show
- A Different World
- The Facts of Life
- Family Ties
- Full House
- Growing Pains
- Hill Street Blues
- Miami Vice
- Night Court
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Tour of Duty
- Who’s the Boss?
Music Released in 1987
There was a lot more music released than I heard in 1987. I attribute most of it to being outside the United States.
- Always - Atlantic Starr
- Bangles - Walk Like an Egyptian
- Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes - (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life
- Billy Idol - Mony Mony
- Bon Jovi - Livin’ On a Prayer & Wanted Dead or Alive
- Bruce Hornsby and the Range - Mandolin Rain & The Way It Is
- Chris De Burgh - The Lady In Red
- Crowded House - Don’t Dream It’s Over
- Cutting Crew - (I Just) Died in Your Arms & I’ve Been in Love Before
- Debbie Gibson - Only In My Dreams
- Europe - Carrie
- Fleetwood Mac - Little Lies
- Genesis - Land of Confusion
- Glenn Medeiros - Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You
- Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine - Rhythm Is Gonna Get You
- Heart - Alone
- Huey Lewis and the News - Doing It All for My Baby & Hip to Be Square
- Jets - You Got It All
- Kenny Loggins - Meet Me Half Way
- Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam - Head to Toe & Lost In Emotion
- Los Lobos - La Bamba
- Madonna - La Isla Bonita, Open Your Heart & Who’s That Girl
- Peter Cetera and Amy Grant - The Next Time I Fall
- Starship - Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now
- U2 - I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For & With or Without You
- Wang Chung - Everybody Have Fun Tonight
- Whitney Houston - Didn’t We Almost Have It All & I Wanna Dance With Somebody
This is going to be redundant, but I’m still playing catch-up. I listen to Spotify regularly and focus on music released in the eighties. I visit many of the streaming video services regularly, just looking for the movies and TV series I missed back then.
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By RT Cunningham
October 6, 2019