Home » 80s Capsule 1985 – What Happened In 1985?

80s Capsule 1985 – What Happened In 1985?

by Mackenzie

In 1985 the world was a very different place with many significant changes having taken place in the previous decade or so.

Social Politics

The Soviet Union begins to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan after almost three decades of fighting against the Mujahideen. The Soviet Union pulled out their forces by December 13th, 1985. Mikhail Gorbachev becomes General Secretary and chairman of the Communist Party; he takes over for Konstantin Chernenko on March 11th, 1985.

The US Navy is testing a new defensive technology that it believes will make ships invisible to enemy radar. A fleet of Navy ships, including two aircraft carriers and two cruisers, are stationed in San Diego Bay as part of the experiment. Unfortunately, while they are successfully rendered invisible to all radar in Southern California, they have become visible on a military radar station at Point Magu 10 miles away. The incident has become known as “the Philadelphia experiment”.

The World Health Organization gets a permanent seat on the U.N Security Council – After many years of campaigning by anti-nuclear campaigners, the WHO is finally granted a permanent seat on the UN Security Council in January 1986.

In 1985, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) began a new strategy by which to end British rule in Northern Ireland.  This new strategy was named “Operationeagle”. With this new strategy, the IRA began targeting Police stations and British military installations and facilities. The IRA also took an active role in the politics of Northern Ireland by supporting Sinn Fein (the political party that supported a united Ireland) at every opportunity.


In 1985, the musical landscape was completely different from what it is today. Rock and roll had been replaced by dance and rap music, but that didn’t stop people from still going to concerts. The year also saw the rise of “weird” or alternative rock bands like My Bloody Valentine, Nirvana, Jesus Lizard, Soundgarden and  Slayer. Electronic music was introduced by Kraftwerk with their album Computer World in 1981 (even though it wasn’t released until March of ’85), and a new genre known as synthpop was introduced by Depeche Mode (the album Violator).

Top Selling Songs of 1985 include “Can’t Slow Down” by Lionel Richie, “Bad” by Michael Jackson, “Rockin’ With the Best” by Reba, “You Light Up My Life” by Debbie Gibson, “Break My Stride” by Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, “Love Will Save The Day” by Whitney Houston & Bobby Brown, “I’ll Be There” by Janet Jackson, “Don’t Wanna Hear It” by En Vogue, “Shake Your Love” by O’Jays, and “Just a Little Talk With Myself” by Black Box.


In 1985, there were many famous athletes playing at the highest level of their profession, including: Terry Bradshaw, Jim Morrisette, Tom Glavine & John Smoltz (all Atlanta Braves), Mark Spitz (swimming), Mike Smithson and Brian Bosworth (football) and Marty Cordova, Mark Davis and Larry Lucchino (baseball). In 1985, the New York Giants won their fifth World Series championship. The Los Angeles Lakers also reached their 11th NBA title.

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